Labour hits campaign trail as Croydon North by-election pencilled in for November 29
THE Croydon North by-election will be held on November 29, the Advertiser understands.
It had been thought the by-election, which follows the death of Malcolm Wicks MP last month, would be held on November 15.
This would have coincided with voters going to the polls in the Corby by-election and to elect new police and crime commissioners.
While a number of parties have chosen their candidates for Croydon North, Labour only began the process this week out of respect for Mr Wicks.
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Their nominations had to be in by 12 noon today (Monday) after which the party's national executive committee (NEC) will draw up a long list of candidates.
They will then be interviewed before a shortlist is presented to Croydon North Labour Party members on Thursday evening, before a selection on November 3. The election will be called a week later.
Under Parliamentary conventions the party that last held the seat sets the date for the by-election, which is usually held three weeks after it has been called.
Meanwhile Tooting MP and NEC member Sadiq Khan has said that Labour has no preference as to whether its candidate is from Croydon or not.
Former Croydon Council leader Val Shawcross, Lambeth Council leader Steve Reed, Thornton Heath councillor Louisa Woodley and Selhurst councillor Gerry Ryan have all applied.
The NEC was thought to favour a local candidate but the Shadow Justice Secretary told the Advertiser its hopeful could come from further afield.
Speaking after he visited businesses along London Road he said: "I've asked them that (whether they wanted a local candidate) and they didn't express an opinion.
"All they want is a champion for the area; someone who understands their background and who gets the needs and aspirations of the area.
"If they get that I don't think it will matter to people where the candidate comes from, even if they aren't from Croydon."
Thanks to Mr Wicks' hard work, Labour enjoys a 16,428 majority in Croydon North. As such they are strong favourites to retain the seat.
Despite this, Mr Khan insists they are not taking the by-election for granted.
"In the past we might have rushed the selection process, held the by-election and won the seat. We're doing this differently," he said.
"It's very important we listen to residents and businesses about the issues they are concerned about and ask them what sort of candidate they would like to see.
"We want to select a candidate who reflects what the people of Croydon are saying. What has surprised me is how angry the business community is.
"They feel neglected by the council, the Mayor and the Government. When the riots happened television and national radio rushed to their streets with politicians in tow. A year on, nothing has happened.
"These are the people who keep Croydon ticking but they haven't seen any of the money.
"What residents and shopkeepers want is an advocate, a champion for them, someone who will support and reflect their needs.
"There is a sense that they have lost a great champion in Malcolm wicks and they want someone who understands their communities like he did."
Mr Khan, who said the party was looking for someone who had "other life skills and experience", expects dozens of applications.
He said: "I am confident there will be a lot of nominations. It's a great job, it's in London and the quality of the people who put their names forward will be a tribute to Croydon.
"I think people will be impressed because anyone who makes that shortlist will do a great job."
Last Wednesday Marisha Ray, a former councillor in Islington, was selected to be the Liberal Democrat candidate.
The Conservatives have chosen charity-worker Andy Stranack, with UKIP selecting Winston McKenzie. Campaigner Shasha Khan is likely to represent the Green Party.
For in-depth coverage of build-up to the Croydon North by-election see this week's Croydon Advertiser, out on Friday (October 27).