Labour MP triggers by-election by quitting to become deputy mayor

Heidi Alexander with London Mayor Sadiq Khan and outgoing deputy mayor for transport Val Shawcross

Heidi Alexander with London Mayor Sadiq Khan and outgoing deputy mayor for transport Val Shawcross

Heidi Alexander is standing down as a Lewisham MP in order to replace Val Shawcross as Mayor Khan's Deputy Mayor, responsible for transport across the capital.

The move, revealed by the Guardian last month, was confirmed by City Hall on Tuesday.

Heidi Alexander is a capable politician who cares about our borough.

Labour MP triggers by-election by quitting to become deputy mayor

Anyone in City Hall with an affinity for South East London's challenges and potential is good news. "I know Sadiq wants its transport system to be the envy of the world and I am looking forward to playing my part in making that happen".

Last week, Dan Jarvis was elected the first mayor of the Sheffield City Region but will remain as Barnsley Central MP after overturning an initial decision by Labour's ruling body that he could not hold both jobs. This will prompt a summer byelection in her Lewisham East seat, which has a 21,000 majority.

The former shadow health secretary has butted heads with Corbyn in the past, resigning from the shadow cabinet in 2016 and pushing for the party to adopt a more anti-Brexit stance.

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Locally, Alexander has come under pressure from the pro-Corbyn campaign group Momentum, including from some local activists who are also members of the far-left Alliance for Workers' Liberty, though the group is stronger in the neighbouring constituency of Lewisham Deptford. In the aftermath she accused him of running a dysfunctional team and said she had "hated being part of something so inept, so unprofessional, so shoddy".

He added: "Londoners can be confident she will ensure we deliver our ambitious plans to transform London's transport network over the coming years".

He paid tribute to Shawcross's "deep expertise on transport in London [which] has made life better for millions of Londoners" citing the Crossrail project and improvements to Transport for London.

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"I wish Heidi well in her new role as deputy mayor for London in Sadiq Khan's team, where I know she will put her talents and knowledge to great use for the people of London".

In a statement, she said: 'I hope I've played my part ensuring our city has a high-quality, affordable and accessible transport network that serves the needs of every Londoner, whatever their background.

She will take over from Val Shawcross, who is retiring after 18 years at the GLA.

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