Nineteen candidates have been confirmed for four Greenwich Council by-elections, which will be held on the same day as the London mayoral poll, on 6 May.
Residents in four parts of Greenwich borough will be able to pass their verdict on how the council is doing – although national and London-wide issues will also be a factor in the polls.
One by-election, in Glyndon ward, has been delayed by more than a year because of the pandemic. It had been scheduled for 9 April 2020 following the conviction of Labour councillor Tonia Ashikodi, who was found guilty of fraud for owning three houses while living in a council home.
The polls are also likely to be the last held under the council’s old structure of 17 wards with three councillors each – a new pattern of wards and councillors will be imposed for next year’s elections across the borough, which means some winners may be looking for new seats as soon as they are elected.
Labour will be overwhelming favourites to retain all four seats, to return to having 42 seats on the council, against nine Conservatives.
Kidbrooke with Hornfair
Arguably the greatest chance of an upset will come in Kidbrooke with Hornfair ward, where residents of the Brook Estate were angry about how the council handled plans for new council homes on green space off Rochester Way.
Conservatives have also been campaigning on plans for an effective low-traffic neighbourhood just outside the ward, which would block through traffic in back roads to enable a cycle route to be built on Eltham Green Road.
The previous councillor, Christine Grice, died last April after contracting an aggressive form of stomach cancer. Odette McGahey will be hoping to succeed her for Labour, while the Conservatives are standing communications consultant Andrea Borbely, who will hope to emulate the Tories’ success in taking seats here in 2006. Pierce Chalmers is standing for the Liberal Democrat and retired biologist and immunologist Carol O’Toole is the Green candidate. There is also an independent candidate, local resident Sharon Kent.
Greenwich West ward has seen controversy over a low-traffic neighbourhood around Royal Hill, but no dedicated campaigner has stepped forward to contest the by-election on a specific anti-low traffic neighbourhood ticket. Pat Slattery, a well-known Labour activist, will hope to succeed Mehboob Khan, who left the town hall to take up a non-political job at Redbridge Council. The ward is one where the Liberal Democrats traditionally poll well, and economist Rhian O’Connor will be the party’s candidate there.
Matt Browne, a former parliamentary candidate, will run for the Greens, while solicitor Ben Crompton will be the Conservative candidate. Trevor Allman, who was a Labour councillor in the 1980s and later a Green stalwart before falling out with the party in 2015, runs as an Official Monster Raving Loony candidate.
Labour will be hoping the scandal over Ashikodi – who was close to the council leadership – will have been forgotten in Glyndon ward, which covers much of Plumstead and part of west Thamesmead. Former Bexley councillor Sandra Bauer will be looking to retain the seat for the party.
Stewart Christie, who helped found the now-deregistered Plumstead Party which came second here in 2018, returns under Liberal Democrat colours. Leonie Barron also returns for the Green Party, while accountant Naveed Mughal is the Tories’ hopeful. Lizzy Hedderly runs for the left-wing Trade Union and Socialist Alliance.
The fourth by-election is in Shooters Hill, once a Tory target but a safe Labour seat in recent years. Hoping to join council leader Danny Thorpe in representing the ward is Clare Burke-McDonald, a regular in the public gallery at council meetings and now angling to join her Labour colleagues on the benches below.
Daniel McGinley stands for the Conservatives while student Ulysse Abbate is the Liberal Democrat candidate. Tamasin Rhymes stands for the Greens, a few months after the local party apologised to a local church for wrongly claiming it was selling land for redevelopment. The by-election was called after sitting councillor Chris Kirby, a former cabinet member, moved out of London with his family.
More on the candidates
Biographies of their parties’ candidates in all four wards are available on the local Conservative, Green and Liberal Democrat websites, but not the Labour website.
City Hall election
Residents across the borough will also be able to choose from 20 candidates for London mayor – including Labour incumbent Sadiq Khan, Conservative Shaun Bailey, Green candidate Sian Berry and Liberal Democrat Luisa Porritt. Potted manifestos are on the London Elects website. There are also elections for the 25-member London Assembly, where 14 candidate represent “super constituencies” each combining two or more boroughs, and 11 come from party lists and are tasked with representing the whole capital. There are 18 different groups on the party list for this election.
Len Duvall, Greenwich Council leader in the 1990s, will be expecting to elected for the sixth time as assembly member for Greenwich and Lewisham, making him the longest-serving representative at City Hall. His challengers are Greenwich councillor Charlie Davis for the Conservatives, Chris Annous for the Liberal Democrats, air quality campaigner Rosamund Kissi-Debrah for the Greens, Edward Apostolides for the hard-right Reform UK party and independent Tan Bui, a New Cross resident who polled 130 votes in Lewisham Deptford in the 2019 general election.
To register to vote, visit www.gov.uk/register-to-vote by 19 April. To apply for a postal vote, visit the Greenwich Council website.
There are also by-elections in four Lewisham Council wards – Bellingham, Catford South, New Cross and Sydenham – and one in the Longlands ward in Bexley borough.
Help 853 continue reporting on public interest issues in Greenwich and southeast London – we are the only outlet regularly producing original journalism in the borough, and we can only do it with your funding.
Please join over 100 donors who use Steady, PressPatron or Patreon to give a little towards our costs every month. The money pays the bills, a wage for the editor and pays others to write for the site.
You can also buy the editor a coffee at ko-fi.com. Thank you.