Greenwich councillor Chris Lloyd picked as election candidate in Swindon

Chris Lloyd with Labour members in Swindon
Lloyd won over party members in North Swindon this morning

Greenwich councillor Chris Lloyd has been selected as Labour’s general election candidate for North Swindon, four months after an unsuccessful attempt to be picked for a neighbouring seat.

Lloyd, who represents West Thamesmead, won in a vote of local members this morning and will take on the sitting Conservative MP Justin Tomlinson when the next election comes.

The former Lewisham East MP Heidi Alexander, who is originally from the town, was picked for the marginal seat of South Swindon in July, topping a shortlist that included Lloyd.

Alexander was formerly Sadiq Khan’s deputy mayor for transport, where she came out in support of the Silvertown Tunnel. Lloyd, an opponent of Khan’s scheme, helped overturn Greenwich’s backing of the tunnel earlier this year.

Heidi Alexander and Chris Lloyd outside a pub
Heidi Alexander, the former Lewisham East MP, is standing n South Swindon

“This means the world to me! I won’t let you down,” Lloyd said on social media after the result.

Lloyd, who has family connections with Swindon, was first elected to Greenwich Council in 2014, when he represented Peninsula ward, and switched to West Thamesmead in May after boundary changes. Before becoming a councillor he stood for Labour in Brecon & Radnor in the 2010 general election, coming third. He stood in the same area a year later in the Welsh elections.

He faces a big task in North Swindon. Tomlinson – who once placed a £50 bet on becoming prime minister by 2038 – has a majority of over 16,000, although the seat was a Labour one while Tony Blair was prime minister.

Alexander, a former Lewisham councillor, will challenge Sir Robert Buckland, who has a majority of 6,625. It was also a Labour seat until 2010.

Lloyd is the second SE London councillor this month to be picked as a general election hopeful for Labour. Last week Kevin Bonavia, who represented Lewisham Council’s Blackheath ward for Labour for eight years until May, was named as the candidate for Stevenage, which has a Tory majority of 8,000 but also regularly returned a Labour MP during the Blair years.

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