Voters in Greenwich & Woolwich will get four chances in the next week to quiz the candidates to be their next MP as yet another general election approaches.
Seven candidates are vying for success on Thursday 12 December, although it would take a political earthquake to dislodge Matt Pennycook, first elected as the area’s MP in 2015, from the role. A former Greenwich councillor who was first elected in 2015, he had a stonking majority of 20,714 in 2017, scooping 64.4% of the vote.
The Conservatives came second in 2017, maintaining their share of the vote at roughly a quarter; Thomas Turrell, a long-time campaigner for the party in SE London, will be hoping to beat or improve on that 25.4% share. The omens are not good for him: the Tories’ last election victory in Greenwich was in 1935; it is nearly a century since their last Woolwich win, in 1921.
The only way seems to be up for the Liberal Democrats, staring up from a 7.4% vote share in 2017; Rhian O’Connor will be hoping to beat that with an explicitly anti-Brexit message. In the European elections, internal figures suggest that the Liberal Democrats came top in Greenwich & Woolwich as angry pro-EU voters lashed out against the two big parties – but first-past-the-post Westminster elections are a very different thing, despite what the bar charts in the Lib Dems’ election material might suggest. Pennycook has already committed to supporting a new referendum on EU membership, and campaigning to stay in.
The Greens were badly squeezed in 2017, losing their deposit. This time around they will be standing Victoria Rance, the co-ordinator of the Stop the Silvertown Tunnel Coalition, which has gained a high profile since being formed in May.
The Brexit Party will be represented by Kailash Trivedi – a late replacement for its previously-announced candidate, Matthew Wadhams. There is also a pro-Brexit independent, Sushil Gaikwad. There is also a Christian People’s Alliance candidate, Eunice Odesamni.
You can quiz some or all of them at the following hustings:
- Wednesday 4 December, 7.30pm for 8pm – Christ Church East Greenwich, Trafalgar Road SE10 9EQ (Hosted by Church of England deanery of Charlton in association with Greenwich borough deans)
- Thursday 5 December, noon – Forum at Greenwich, Trafalgar Road SE10 9EQ (Equalities hustings hosted by Metro Gad. In 2015, this hustings was open to all candidates standing in the three Greenwich constituencies, the same will apply this time)
- Thursday 5 December, 7pm – St George’s, Kirkside Road SE3 7SD (Hosted by the United Nations Association)
- Saturday 7 December, 11am – Charlton Assembly Rooms, The Village SE7 8UD (Hosted by the Charlton Society in partnership with the Charlton Central Residents Association, Charlton Parkside Community Hub, and Valley Hill Community Hub)
As for neighbouring Eltham, Keep Our NHS Public held a hustings last week (they were kind enough to let 853 know, but unfortunately we didn’t finish the story in time – apologies), which you can read about over at the London Masala and Chips blog.
The list above has come from a scan through social media – if you know of any others, drop us a line and it’ll get included.
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