Congratulations to Steve Reed, who has been selected as Labour's candidate for the Croydon North by-election.
And my condolences to Valerie Shawcross, the former Leader of Croydon Council, who I had expected to win the selection. The Labour Party's decision not to allow her to stand down as a London Assembly member straight away if she was elected as an MP was both harsh on her - I understand the vote was very close so it almost certainly cost her the selection; and contrary to Labour's best interests - Val would have made a formidable candidate: a former Leader of the Council with London-wide experience who lives in the constituency.
Now that Labour have opted for Steve, the choice facing Croydon North voters is pretty clear.
This by-election isn’t going to change the Government. It is about chosing a new MP for Croydon North, someone like Malcolm Wicks who will be a good, local MP.
Unlike Labour’s candidate - who is a Brixton councillor - Andy Stranack lives in Croydon and works in the constituency. He is the only one of the main party candidates who is local.
Unlike Labour’s candidate, Andy isn’t a professional politician. He’s a community activist who has set up a number of projects including a debt advice service, a lunch club for the retired, several youth clubs and a job club. He now works for Ment4, a Croydon charity that helps young people aged between 14 and 19 who are involved in crime to turn their lives around.
Unlike Labour - who oppose a cap on the amount of benefits any out-of-work family can receive - Andy believes people who do the right thing and work hard should always be better off.
Andy was born with cerebral palsy. When he was 30, he gave up a well-paid job and moved onto an estate to work for next to nothing. He knows what it is like to experience discrimination and poverty. I believe he is best placed to be the MP Croydon North needs and deserves.
Read more about Andy by visiting his website.