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Monday, November 29, 2021

Tories select councillor to contest by-election in Conservative stronghold

A councillor will contest the Old Bexley and Sidcup by-election for the Conservatives as the party looks to hold on to the seat following the death of James Brokenshire.

A by-election will be contested on a yet-to-be-announced date after the former Cabinet minister died of lung cancer earlier this month.

After Labour and the Reform Party declared their candidates, the Tories confirmed local members had on Saturday selected Louie French, a councillor of eight years who previously served as deputy leader of Bexley council from 2018-2021, to contest the seat.

With the constituency held by the Conservatives since its inception in 1983, Mr French will be seen as the favourite to become the constituency’s next MP.

Mr French said: “James Brokenshire was a friend and mentor to me and it’s an honour to have been selected as the Conservative candidate for Old Bexley and Sidcup, where I hope to carry on his excellent work.

“I will campaign to ensure that outer London areas like Old Bexley and Sidcup are not forgotten or left behind by the mayor of London and City Hall.

“And I will work to improve access to GPs and healthcare services, building directly on James’ work with Queen Mary’s Hospital, so residents can get a face-to-face GP appointment at a time that suits them.”

Party chairman Oliver Dowden offered his congratulations, saying: “Louie will build on James’ exceptional record as a strong voice tirelessly standing up for the people of Bexley.”

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