Lambeth’s council leader is pleased to have made the shortlist of five Labour candidates hoping to stand for the Croydon North by-election.

The shortlist was announced yesterday following the death of MP Malcolm Wicks, 65, who had served the constituency, a safe Labour seat, since 1997.

Lambeth and Southwark’s Assembly Member has also been shortlisted alongside a Croydon councillor, former Downing Street aide and National Policy Forum member.

Council Leader Councillor Steve Reed, from Streatham, said he lived close to Croydon and knew the area really well.

Coun Reed said: "There is a lot of work to be done there.

"People in Croydon need someone who has got a national reputation who can stand up for them and stick up for them against the Tories in power.

"I would love to do that."

Coun Reed said he could draw on his experience in protecting people from the worst excesses of Government and cuts.

He said: "I have learnt an awful lot as council leader about how you protect communities."

The outcome of the votes could affect his role in Lambeth as he does not believe it is right for people to do two jobs.

He said: "If I was elected I couldn’t continue as council leader."

Earlier this week Lambeth and Southwark Assembly Member Val Shawcross, from Upper Norwood, said she was deeply connected with the community.

Ms Shawcross said: "I really feel that Croydon North is in need of some very strong advocacy."

Croydon Councillor Louisa Woodley, who represents Thornton Heath, and Croydon born member of the National Policy Forum Simon Burgess and Former Downing Street aide Faz Hakim have also been shortlisted.

On his website Mr Burgess said he has long admired MP Wicks and played a small part in helping him get elected as MP for Croydon North West in 1992 while living in Upper Norwood.

After boundary changes the seat was renamed Croydon North in 1997.

Mr Burgess, who now lives in Sussex, said: "Croydon North is of course a very diverse constituency and to be able to represent that would be a great privilege."

On November 3 Labour party members in Croydon North will vote to make the selection.