Two mayors want to be your next MP

TWO elected mayors have made rival bids to be Labour’s Parliamentary candidate in the new seat covering Fishponds.

Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees first indicated last year that he might stand for the new Bristol North East constituency being created under boundary changes due to be made law this month.

He confirmed in June that he had applied to be Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for the seat, which will include the Eastville, Frome Vale, Hillfields and Lockleaze city council wards.

A second elected mayor, Damien Egan, has also announced he wants to be Labour’s pick.

Mr Egan, 40, is currently the Mayor of Lewisham in London, where he was elected in 2018 after eight years as a councillor and re-elected with an increased majority last year.

However his roots are in the new constituency, having grown up in Kingswood and lived in Fishponds as a teenager when he, his mum and sister were registered as homeless and “bounced” around temporary accommodation before settling in a council flat at Berkeley House, Staple Hill.

Mr Egan’s first job was at Downend’s Somerfield supermarket, now the Co-op, and he was a Downend and Bromley Heath parish councillor before moving to London.

He said: “I’m from Bristol North East, my family are here, this is where I went to school.

“There won’t be another candidate who knows the streets and different communities of our part of Bristol as well as I do.”

The new constituency includes the Staple Hill & Mangotsfield, New Cheltenham, Kingswood and Woodstock wards in South Gloucestershire.

Both Mr Egan and Mr Rees have set up campaign websites as they vie for the votes of Labour Party members ahead of a selection meeting at the end of July.

Announcing his candidacy, Mr Rees said: “I was born in Bristol. It’s where I’ve stayed and made a home with my family.

“I would be honoured to serve as your MP, delivering for my constituents and ensuring a Labour government at the next election.”

His website includes sections on his background, record as mayor and testimonials from other Labour politicians.

Mr Rees, 51, has been Bristol Mayor since 2016, having been re-elected in 2021.

He had already announced his intention to stand down at the end of his term in 2024 before the post was abolished in a referendum last year.

The two mayors have been joined on the shortlist for the selection by South Gloucestershire councillor Leigh Ingham, who was elected to the Kingswood ward in May’s local elections and is a member of the coalition cabinet.

Cllr Ingham (pictured above) has also set up a website, where she said: “I want to stand as your MP as I believe that living in the constituency leaves me best placed to understand the issues that we face here.

“Having just removed the South Gloucestershire Council from Tory control, I know what it takes to win an election and also the decisions we have to make to sort out the mess left behind for us.”

Whoever wins Labour’s nomination will be seen as the frontrunner for the new seat: its eight South Gloucestershire Council seats are all help by Labour, along with four of the eight seats in the constituency’s Bristol City Council wards.