CONTENDERS: Lee Japser and Marisha Ray
THE VICTOR will emerge tomorrow (November 29) in the hotly contested by-election for the Croydon-North constituency in which race equality campaigner and Respect party candidate Lee Jasper, along with UKIP candidate Winston McKenzie, take on three other contenders.
Jasper and McKenzie did battle with Labour’s candidate Steve Reed, Liberal Democrat Marisha Ray and Andy Stranack from the Conservative party.
The parliamentary by-election for the Croydon-North constituency in Surrey was called after incumbent Labour MP Malcolm Wicks died in September. He was 65.
Reed is the bookies’ hot favourite to win the seat with Jasper, former race advisor to ousted Mayor Ken Livingstone, considered by the bookies as the second favourite.
Jasper told The Voice: “I will be a minority of those articulating that there is another way. I will be arguing against the austerity programme and for investment in public services and jobs. I am looking forward to taking these arguments to the voters of Croydon North.”
FACING VOTERS: Andy Stranack and Steve Reed
Reed promised that he would prevent the closure of South Norwood police station if elected. The 48-year-old vying to replace Wicks told The Voice: “It is unacceptable that Croydon-North has a higher proportion of unemployment. I will campaign to get a Labour majority on Croydon Council so they can reverse these unfair Tory cuts. I will work to prevent the closure of south Norwood police station. I will expose the Tories’ failure to invest properly.”
However Croydon resident, Stranack, has shed new light on the closure of the station. He said the police station “has not been functional for about a year because the police resources have been operating from other base around the borough.”
The 42-year-old, who now runs the charity, Ment4 which helps young people excluded from schools, decided to get involved in politics having heard that a mentee had died from a stab wound.
If he is elected, Stranack wants to improve the relationship between young people and the police by “organizing a series of community event where the police can engage with the young people.” He also wants to create a safe Croydon-North.
Lib Dem Ray, also 42, claims to know the area well having visited friends as a child. She says her “aim is to represent local people, on local issues and local solutions.”
PASSIONATE: Winston Mckenzie
McKenzie, a former boxer who has contested several other elections, also wants positive change for Croydon but the UK Independence Party candidate angered some members of the public recently when he claimed the shortage of school places was down to immigration.
McKenzie said: “You know what this is about? Our borders. Where do all these people come from? Let's look at the real facts. Everyone is frightened to talk about the real issues, I will talk about them.”