Former Bexley councillor Abena Oppong-Asare will be Labour’s candidate for Erith and Thamesmead in next month’s general election after topping the vote at a party meeting in Erith last night.
Oppong-Asare, who represented Erith ward for four years until 2018, is now in prime position to replace Teresa Pearce as the area’s local MP. Pearce – also a former Bexley councillor – is stepping down after nine years in the role.
Greenwich Council’s cabinet member for transport, Denise Scott-McDonald, was unsuccessful in her attempt to be selected for the seat, which takes in part of Plumstead, Abbey Wood, Thamesmead, Belvedere and Erith, straddling the borough boundary. She was rejected by party members in the Cities of London and Westminster when she stood for selection there in 2017.
The third candidate, GMB union organiser Nadine Houghton, was the favoured choice of the party’s national leadership, with local members being urged by shadow chancellor John McDonnell and Laura Pidcock, the shadow employment secretary, to back her. 853 understands that it was a close vote between Oppong-Asare and Houghton.
Greenwich Council leader Danny Thorpe called Oppong-Asare’s win “fantastic news”, while the Canterbury MP Rosie Duffield said her selection was “brilliant … we can’t wait for you to join us in parliament”. Birmingham Yardley MP Jess Phillips said she was “thrilled”.
Kevin Bonavia, a Lewisham Council cabinet member, said Oppong-Asare was “full of talent yet so down to earth too. She’ll make a fab MP!” Meanwhile, Greenwich councillor Ann-Marie Cousins raised a glass on social media to celebrate.
The full list of candidates for Erith & Thamesmead is not expected to be confirmed until 14 or 15 November. The Conservatives have not yet chosen a candidate, the Lib Dems have picked Sam Webber, the Greens have chosen Claudine Letsae, while Thomas Bright will stand for the Brexit Party.
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