Lewisham Mayor Damien Egan believes that his borough can “fly” over the next four years after a record Mayoral win for Labour.
Egan was re-elected for a second-term with a 58.05% share of the votes, a 4% increase on his number in 2018.
His closest challenger was Green Party candidate, Nick Humberstone, who gained just 15.96% of the vote and finished nearly 30,000 votes short of Egan.
Egan is firm in his belief that more work will be done to help Lewisham residents out of poverty, one of a number of promises across a wide-ranging manifesto.
Egan said: “I’m absolutely delighted and very grateful that Lewisham residents have been so generous and put their trust in me to serve another four years.
“I think it’s a testament to the progress Labour is making, especially in London, but also most definitely to the work of the council in the last few years.
“We’re in a position where Lewisham can fly over the next four years.
“We’ve had to do quite a bit of restructuring to make sure we have the team in place who can deliver on an ambitious manifesto and that’s a team that is delivering so I think over the next 4 years we’ll be seeing a lot more.
“Speaking to people on the doorsteps, there was a very clear theme around the cost of living crisis.
“In my acceptance speech I was saying how it’s genuine, people are really struggling, working, but pay isn’t keeping up with bills and housing costs are rocketing, so we have more families and food banks than we’ve ever had before in Lewisham.”
Egan clocked off at 3am on Friday morning, after a busy day campaigning and visiting doorsteps across the area, encouraging people to vote Labour and send a message to Boris Johnson.
But the 37-year-old emphasised that he felt a wealth of positivity for his party, not merely disapproval of the Conservatives from those Lewisham residents he spoke to.
He said: “The second part of the story is positive feedback, about the positive direction of the council in the last four years.
“I can’t claim at all sole responsibility as it’s a massive team effort, the work we’ve been doing on new council homes, a lot of work around our parks which are now the best in London and flagship refugee settlement programme, seem to be things that residents really resonate with and care about as well.”
Lewisham’s Labour manifesto encompassed seven key areas, from cleaner and greener spaces to quality housing.
Egan, who has been a Labour councillor since 2010, outlined some of the next steps for those pledges.
“We’ll be doing more around climate action,” he explained.
“Cleaning up the borough, we’ve got the best parks that’s fantastic. But how do we make sure we’ve got the best town centres, that will be next, protecting our local business, so that we don’t get loads of chains coming in and we keep those independent traders.
“And a big commitment around jobs and skills as we’re finding too many young people are leaving school and they don’t have the qualifications they need to get good jobs in London.
“We’re seeing progress in our secondary schools but working with Headteachers to continue that.
Where we’ve come in as the council is setting up Saturday schools after school clubs and proper jobs and skills training.”