South London keeps red flag flying high… Labour retains it grip in Lambeth

BY TOBY PORTER
toby@slpmedia.co.uk

South London has two more black women MPs as Labour retained its grip here as its northern power bases slipped away.

Florence Eshalomi was elected MP for Vauxhall, replacing the retiring Kate Hoey, with a 19,612 majority, slightly down on the previous majority by Ms Hoey of 20,250.

The former sports minister, 73, had stood down amid angry internal party opposition to her support for Brexit.

Ms Eshalomi, a mum-of-two who was born and raised in the constituency, said: “I feel humbled to be the MP for somewhere I have called home all my life. It is great that a girl like me can represent this area.

“I want to thank my opponents for putting themselves forward – in the current climate it is difficult, especially as a woman – there is a lot of anger and hate out there.

We have to remember one of us was killed doing our job. So I salute anyone putting themselves forward for public office.

“Kate served this constituency for 30 years – I was eight when she was elected, living on an estate. She was a diligent MP who stood up for residents.

“I will be a voice for people so they can get housing, for those using food banks, for children in schools and for the people I met at St Thomas’ Hospital when my two children were born. And for young people who use community centres that have been closed.

“I am saddened to have seen so many good Labour colleagues lose their seats after they stood up for their constituents.

“I will be a tireless campaigner for you, whether you live in Brixton, Kennington, Vauxhall, Stockwell or Clapham – for struggling small firms and Europeans who could not vote.”

Bell Ribeiro-Addy became the new member for Streatham, with a 17,690 majority over the Conservatives.

She replaced Chuka Umunna, who had turned his back on the party to join the Lib Dems, but failed to take the Cities of London and Westminster.

Ms Ribeiro-Addy said: “I would like to thank Diane Abbott – I could not have had a better mentor. I could easily have been put off politics by the daily abuse she gets going to work – I have never heard the N-word so much, seen swastikas and cards with monkeys on. It is enough to make you wonder why you would do it. But if you do not stand up to be counted, the bigots win.

“We have a Prime Minster who thinks it is acceptable to compare Muslim women to letterboxes and make derogatory remarks about LBGT people.

“I am proud of this diverse and rich community.

“My concern now is the people of Streatham, who rely on the NHS and those who will not have the right to remain. We will need a leadership that fights for what is right.

“I will never quit on my constituents. We still need a society that works for the many, not the few.”

Dulwich & West Norwood MP Helen Hayes comfortably retained her seat for Labour.

Ms Hayes’ share of the vote fell by 4.2 per cent, while Green Party leader Jonathan Bartley increased their portion of the ballot by 14 per cent, hurdling the Tories, who were second in 2017.

Helen Hayes polled 36,521 votes, 846 fewer than in 2017 – but still posted a 27,361 majority.

The mother-of-two said after her victory was announced: “Party members have campaigned here and in other marginal constituencies and could not have done any more.

“It was a devastating night for communities living with the housing crisis and schools with cut budgets, cuts in social care and the hostile environment – and for the remain community, who wanted to vote again.

“I will stay true to our values of inclusivity and internationalism and will stand up for our communities in the face of the horrors which Boris Johnson will deliver, and I will keep working for a future Labour Government.”

Turnout was just under 70 per cent.

The Brexit Party’s Julia Stephenson gained 571 votes, Anthony Hodgson of the Christian Pepple’s Alliance 242, and UKIP’s John Plume 73.

Labour’s Harriet Harman cruised to an easy win in Camberwell & Peckham constitiency with a massive 33,780 majority.

The former deputy party leader bagged 40, 258 votes, with second-placed Peter Quentin, for the Conservatives, polling 6,478.

Julia Ogiehor, of the Liberal Democrats, came third with 5,087 votes and fourth was the Green Party’s Claire Sheppard with 3, 501 votes.

Neil Coyle increased his majority in the Bermondsey & Old Southwark constituency, bagging 31,723 votes, with the Lib Dems Humaira Ali taking 15,597. The margin this time was 16,126, compared to 12,972 two years ago.

Conservative Andrew Baker got 9,678 and the Brexit Party’s Alex Matthews 1,617.

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