Old Bexley and Sidcup by-election: Who are the candidates to replace James Brokenshire and when is poll?

Former Conservative MP James Brokenshire died of lung cancer in October, aged just 53.

Voters in the Old Bexley and Sidcup constituency will head to the polls this week in a by-election following the death of Conservative MP James Brokenshire.

When is the by-election?

Voters will be able to cast their ballots by post or from 7am on Thursday December 2 until 10pm at one of 46 polling stations in the area.

You have to already be registered to vote - the deadline to register was November 16

Why do by-elections occur?

By-elections occur in the UK when there is a vacancy in the House of Commons outside of a normal election cycle.

This can happen when an MP resigns or dies, is declared bankrupt, is unable to carry out their duties due to mental illness or is convicted of a serious criminal offence.

In this case, James Brokenshire tragically died of lung cancer in October.

Conservative candidate Louie French says despite the surname, he is “full English”. Credit: Louie French/Twitter

What happened in the previous election?

James Brokenshire won the 2019 general election with 29,786 votes, which was 64.5% of the total vote.

He increased his vote share on the 2017 election by 3.1%.

Labour’s Dave Tingle was handed 10,834 votes, which equates to 23.5% of the total vote - with the vote dropping by 5.8% on 2017.

Lib Dem Simone Reynolds finished third with 8.3% of the vote.

The seat has gone Tory at every election since it was created in 1983.

Who are the candidates?

Louie French is the Conservative candidate, and promises to improve healthcare for elderly residents, improve special educational needs and disabilities and increase policing in the area.

Old Bexley and Sidcup has been a Conservative constituency ever since it was created in 1983, and the 33-year-old investment portfolio manager and Tory councillor is hoping to extend the party’s hold on the seat.

Daniel Francis, a Bexley councillor and former leader of Bexley’s Labour group, is the Labour candidate.

Mr Francis hopes to reduce speeding on main roads, tackle anti-social behaviour and put more police on the streets.

Labour’s Old Bexley and Sidcup candidate Daniel Francis, left, with Redbridge Council leader Jas Athwal, right. Credit: Jas Athwal

Simone Reynolds is the Liberal Democrats representative and is campaigning for better local services from the council and for the government to invest in children’s futures with catch-up support for lost learning.

The mother-of-two has worked in the mental health and social care field for more than 20 years, and currently works as part of a complex care team for a local authority in south-east London.

Jonathan Rooks is representing the Green Party and promises to enact the party’s climate and ecological emergency bill if elected.

Mr Rooks is currently the chairperson of Greener Bexley and is a senior lecturer in accounting at London South Bank University.

There are 11 candidates in total and they are listed alphabetically below:

  • Elaine Frances Cheeseman, The English Democrats
  • Daniel Francis, Labour Party
  • Louie Thomas French, Conservative Party
  • Richard Hewison, Rejoin EU
  • David Michael Kurten, Heritage Party
  • John Edmund Poynton, UK Independence Party (UKIP)
  • Simone Reynolds, Liberal Democrats
  • Jonathan Scot Rooks, Green Party
  • Richard James Sunley Tice, Reform UK
  • Carol Margaret Valinejad, Christian Peoples Alliance
  • Mad Mike Young, Official Monster Raving Loony Party