Mayor of Lewisham faces calls to resign after becoming MP candidate 120 miles away

By Robert Firth, Local Democracy Reporter

Mayor of Lewisham Damien Egan has faced calls to resign immediately after he won his bid to become Labour’s candidate for Parliament 120 miles away in Bristol.

Kieran Terry, Conservative London Assembly candidate for Lewisham and Greenwich, claimed Mr Egan’s victory meant he was no longer committed to serving the borough’s residents.

Mr Egan beat Bristol’s current mayor, Marvin Rees, 51, to be selected as Labour’s candidate for the new parliamentary seat of Bristol North East yesterday.

The 40-year-old, who has been mayor of Lewisham since 2018, has been working reduced hours since mid-June when he announced his bid to become an MP in the west country city.

Mr Terry said: “Mr Egan’s dual roles and his physical move to Bristol have raised serious concerns about his capacity to continue in his mayoral role in Lewisham.

“His selection for a parliamentary seat in Bristol and relocation demonstrate that he is no longer fully committed to serving the residents of Lewisham.”

Sam Thurngood, Conservative parliamentary candidate for Lewisham East, said: “Mr Egan must do the right thing for both Lewisham and Bristol – focus on one community or the other.

“He must now make up his mind.”

Mr Egan was elected for a second term as mayor of Lewisham in 2022 with 58 per cent of the vote.

Green candidate Nick Humberstone came second with 16 per cent, while the Conservative candidate Caroline Louise Attfield finished third, picking up 12 per cent of votes.

Mr Egan said he would stand down before the next general election, which must take place within 17 months. In the meantime, he said he would continue in his role as mayor.

He said: “It’s a huge honour to have been chosen to be Labour’s parliamentary candidate for my home town of Bristol.

“This doesn’t take away from my dedication or affection for the people of Lewisham, where I served as a councillor for eight years, before being the directly-elected mayor for the last five years. This is a truly special place for me and always will be.”

Mr Egan was first elected as a councillor in Lewisham in 2010, and in 2014 was appointed cabinet member for housing, before being elected mayor for the first time in 2018.

His campaign in Bristol highlighted his record on housing, schools and the environment while leading Lewisham, which he described as “one of London’s most complex boroughs”.

Announcing his victory on Twitter yesterday, Mr Egan thanked Labour members for voting for him. He Tweeted: “To represent Labour in the area I’m from, know and love is the greatest honour and I’m looking forward to getting on the doorstep to campaign across our new constituency.”

Marvin Rees said he was looking forward to campaigning alongside Mr Egan over the coming months ahead of the next general election, which will take place in 18 months’ time.

Pictured top: Damien Egan (Picture: Lewisham council)

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