Thursday, 27 Jan 2022

Old Bexley and Sidcup: Conservatives retain southeast London seat in by-election prompted by death of MP James Brokenshire

The Conservatives have held on to the southeast London seat of Old Bexley and Sidcup after a by-election prompted by the death of MP James Brokenshire in October.

Mr Brokenshire, who represented the area since 2010 until his death from lung cancer, had held the seat with a majority of almost 19,000.

Thursday’s by-election, however, was tighter, with local Tory councillor Louie French gaining 11,189 votes, over Labour councillor Daniel Francis, who secured 6,711 votes.

Mr French was deputy leader of Bexley Council from 2018 to 2021, and Mr Francis is a former leader of the council’s Labour group.

After his win was announced, Mr French praised his predecessor Mr Brokenshire, saying he had “made an enormous impact on everyone who lives here” and promising to “work tirelessly to build on everything he achieved”.

He said: “This has been a tough contest, which has been fought with dignity and respect.”

Ellie Reeves, Labour MP for Lewisham West and Penge, said the party was pleased with its performance at the ballot box.

She said: “We’ve been knocking on doors for weeks here and finding many, many Conservative voters that have said actually I’m not going to vote for them this time, I’m going to vote for Labour.

“I think it’s clear that we’re winning back the trust of people and it’s a remarkable result for us in a Tory stronghold.”

The by-election turnout was significantly lower than the previous snap general election two years ago, with just 34% – 21,788 people – casting a vote.

It was down from almost 70% at the previous election which saw 46,145 votes cast.

Standing for the Liberal Democrats was Simone Reynolds, while Jonathan Rooks was representing the Greens and Richard Tice was standing for the Reform Party.

Other candidates included Elaine Cheeseman (English Democrats), Richard Hewison (Rejoin EU), David Kurten (Heritage Party), John Poynton (UKIP), Carol Valinejad (Christian Peoples Alliance), and Mad Mike Young (Official Monster Raving Loony Party).

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