A former Greenwich councillor has been picked as the Conservative candidate in Eltham at the next general election.
Charlie Davis, who represented Eltham North until last May, will stand against Clive Efford in the seat the Labour MP has held since 1997.
The Tories have traditionally had high hopes of taking Eltham, which historically has swung between the two parties in general elections. But the Conservatives were nearly wiped out at last year’s council elections, hanging onto just three councillors by extremely slim margins.
The picture changes for the next general election, though, as Efford and Davis will now contest a new seat – Eltham & Chislehurst, running deep into the borough of Bromley.
While the arithmetic is still thought to favour Labour, leafy Chislehurst has traditionally been a rock-solid Tory area – although it is now represented by an independent group on Bromley Council after residents voted in protest at perceived neglect of the area.
The winner of the poll will find themselves representing a seat stretching from the edge of Charlton Park out to the countryside at Petts Wood.
Davis paid tribute to Sir Bob Neill, the MP who currently represents the Chislehurst part of the constituency. He said: “It is a privilege to be selected as the Conservative candidate for Eltham and Chislehurst. This constituency is where I grew up and have lived most of my life. I’m focused on campaigning on the issues that matter to our communities, tackling crime and anti-social behaviour, improving our public transport infrastructure and powering economic growth to help ease cost of living pressures for residents.
“Eltham deserves the kind of champion in parliament that Chislehurst has enjoyed for almost two decades in the form of Sir Bob and I know I can be that champion.”
Neill called Davis an “excellent choice” while the leader of Greenwich’s Conservatives, Matt Hartley, said he was a “tireless campaigner”.
As a councillor, Davis got up the nose of the Labour town hall by continually raising the closure of Eltham police station, pressure which resulted in a “beat stop” programme being introduced where officers can work from local cafes, libraries and leisure centres.
Conservative Home described Davis’s selection as a “coronation”. He was up against Gavin Haram, a former Treasury adviser and asset manager who stood in Lewisham Deptford in 2019, and Samia Hersi, a policy advisor who once worked for Gillian Keegan, the education secretary.
Davis also has one other sharp point of difference with Efford – he describes himself as a “long-suffering” West Ham United fan, while the Labour MP, who turned 65 this week, is a lifelong Millwall supporter.
Updated at 3.25pm to include new quotes.