Croydon North MP to focus on jobs, crime and neglect
RESPECT raised the stakes and UKIP raised the hackles with their candidate's views on gay adoption but, for all the controversy during the campaign, the election for the next Croydon North MP produced a predictable outcome - a victory for Labour.
Gareth Davies and Ian Austen look back at election night and ask Steve Reed, the area's new MP, what's in his in-tray.
NEW Croydon North MP Steve Reed has told the Advertiser how he'll be prioritising three key areas troubling his constituents – jobs, crime and neglect of the area.
The former Lambeth Council leader, elected with a 11,761 majority in last week's election, told the Advertiser that he was already arranging a jobs summit for early in the new year, inviting employers, businesses, the council, Jobcentre Plus representatives, schools, colleges and faith groups to get together and come up with answers to unemployment problems in the north of the borough.
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Mr Reed said: "Unemployment is on the rise in the north and youth unemployment is rising faster than in neighbouring areas.
"We need to decide how to get people back to work, and demand action from City Hall and the Government to help do that."
On crime, Mr Reed said people in his constituency believe crimes like robbery and muggings are on the increase, despite claims that overall crime figures were down.
He said: "They are worried about plans to close South Norwood Police Station and remove 100 officers from the streets.
"We need to tell City Hall and the Government that this is the wrong thing to do, at times like this when we have things like a spate of muggings at the Brit School happening.
"We have to demand that the police are reinstated."
Mr Reed went on to blame the neglect of parts of the constituency on Croydon Council, for failing to keep streets clean, and on the Mayor of London's office, for not coming up with investment to deal with problems left after last year's riots quickly enough.
He said: "One very clear sign of the neglect problem is the state of the streets in the area; they are litter-strewn and filthy. People are really upset by this and feel let down.
"We need to put pressure on the council to start investing a fair share of resources in the north, and not just focus on the south."
He said he was being told that potential investors were being put off coming to Croydon because of this neglect.
Mr Reed, who was sworn in as an MP on Monday, replaces Malcolm Wicks, the Labour MP who gave 20 years of service to Croydon before his death from cancer in September.
The new MP said he was hoping to make his maiden speech in the House of Commons next week, when he would be focusing on how people in the constituency felt let down by the authorities.
He added: "Malcolm Wicks will be a very hard act to follow, but I have been elected with a pretty strong mandate and I am going to give the job my undivided attention.
"People want somebody who will be a strong voice for the community and that is what I intend to be."
When the results were announced in the early hours of Friday at Archbishop Lanfranc School, it soon became clear that nine of the 12 candidates had lost their deposits.
Candidates must poll at least 5 per cent of the vote – otherwise they lose the £500 required to stand for election.
Those losing their deposit included Respect’s Lee Jasper, Green Party candidate Shahsa Khan, and Lib Dem Marisha Ray.
Just five votes separated the Lib Dems and Greens, for whom Shasha Khan polled 3.46 per cent of the votes – up from 2 per cent at the 2010 general election.
The Lib Dems’ share of the vote, 3.48 per cent, was a huge drop from its 14 per cent in 2010.
A perennial election candidate, The Monster Raving Loony Party’s John Cartwright (also known as John Loony) polled 110 votes.
Turnout was just 26.53 per cent - compared to 60 per cent at the last election.
Votes polled for candidates in the Croydon North by-election (alphabetical order)
CARTWRIGHT, John Sydney, Official Monster Raving Loony Party 110
EDMONDS, Richard Charles, National Front 161
HAMMOND, Stephen Charles, Christian Peoples Alliance 192
JASPER, Lee Andrew, Respect (George Galloway) 707
KHAN, Shasha Islam, Green Party 855
LANE, Simon Robert, Nine Eleven Was An Inside Job 66
McKENZIE, Winston Truman, UK Independence Party (UKIP) 1,400
RAY, Marisha Priyanka (known as Marisha), Liberal Democrats 860
REED, Steve, Labour Party 15,898 elected
SMITH, Robin Young People’s Party YPP 63
STEVENSON, Ben, The Communist Party Candidate 119
STRANACK, Andrew Jeremy, The Conservative Party Candidate 4,137
Ballot papers counted: 24,680
Turnout: 26.53 per cent (2010 general election: 60.6 per cent)
Winner’s majority: 11,761 (2010 general election: 16,481)