Neil Coyle celebrating victory

Labour wins in Bermondsey and Old Southwark despite controversial candidate

The Labour stronghold remained in Bermondsey and Old Southwark, with controversial candidate Neil Coyle winning almost 45% of the vote.

Coyle, who had a total of 16,857 votes, previously made racist comments towards a journalist and was accused of bullying Labour parliamentary staff, leading to his suspension from February 2022 to May 2023.

This controversy meant that a close contest with Liberal Democrat candidate Rachel Bentley was predicted, but she came second with 9,070 votes, making up just 24.1% of the votes.

“I’ve turned my life around and I’m proud of that,” said Coyle.

“I’m proud of the team that supported me through that, and I’m proud of the community that recognised that.”

Coyle was optimistic about the result before it was announced, and said he felt “very positive” following his campaign.

“I’m feeling relieved and very pleased,” Coyle said after the results were announced.

He said: “I know that the community is positive and we ran a really positive campaign. I was optimistic, I wouldn’t have been campaigning if I felt I wasn’t going to be successful.”

Coyle apologised for ‘publicly stumbling’, attributing it to his struggles with alcoholism, and promised to remain sober.

“I want to thank the local community and also those people who have continued to put their trust in me, and to know that it was a blip and not a permanent issue,” he said.

“First priority now is opening up the office to continue the hard work that goes on here. Some constituents said ‘if you’re going to be in government you won’t be here’ and that is not true.

“My commitment is to this community, I’ll be here week in week out, this is my home. The first thing for me is to continue my support and hard work locally.”

Coyle has been an MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark since 2015 and aims to continue tackling the constituency’s lack of affordable and safe housing.

His constituency, home to The Shard and Borough Market, is also home to 27.6% of children under 16 who are living in poverty.

Nationally, Coyle is excited by the prospect of a new Labour government that can fix the NHS and work to tackle anti-social behaviour.

Piers Corbyn, Jeremy Corbyn’s brother, stood as an independent candidate and was vocal in his support for Palestine.

Piers also expressed views that climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic were hoaxes.

Although he only got 403 votes, he beat the other independent candidate, Barry Colin Duckett, who only attained 247 votes.

Piers said: “I was very pleased with the energy and the numbers of people that supported me.”

He speculated that the low turnout rate of 54.38% reflected the demoralised attitude people had towards contemporary politics.

Piers also extended a good word for his brother, Jeremy Corbyn, for winning as an independent candidate in his Islington North constituency.

Piers said: “Voters should support him unconditionally because he works so hard in the constituency.”

In Peckham, Miatta Fahnbulleh will take over the seat previously held by Harriet Harman, who she credits for paving the way for female politicians.

Miatta Fahnbulleh elected by the new parliamentary candidate for Peckham and other candidates
The announcement of Miatta Fahnbulleh as Peckham’s new MP. Credit Freddie Clemo

She won 22,813 votes, making up 58.8% of the total votes.

“It is a fantastic result, proper support in Peckham means the world,” Fahnbulleh said.

“And obviously the results that have played out across the country are phenomenal – It feels like it’s a good night for us.

“The work begins now. The first issue that is up front and centre is housing. Too many people are living in homes that are not up to standard.

“Second is the economy, the cost of living, and trying to get wages up. I want to create actual opportunities for people in Peckham.

“Third is getting the streets safe, which is a message I’ve heard loud and clear particularly from young people.”

Feature image of Neil Coyle after victory. Credit Freddie Clemo

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