UKIP and Liberal Democrats announce candidates for Croydon North by-election
6:10pm Thursday 18th October 2012 in News
The UK Independence Party and the Liberal Democrats have announced their candidates for the Croydon North by-election.
Winston McKenzie will stand for UKIP, while the Liberal Democrats have selected Marisha Ray as their parliamentary candidate.
The by-election follows the death of Labour's Malcolm Wicks last month, a date has yet to been confirmed for the by-election.
Speaking exclusively to the Croydon Guardian, UKIP's Mr McKenzie said: "It will be very difficult to fill the gaping hole that Malcolm Wicks has left.
"But I am ready, willing and able to serve the constituents of Croydon North, having lived in the borough for some 50 years."
The former boxer said he was the right man to tackle crime and homelessness and praised the work ethic of small businesses and the close knit community.
He added: "We must praise the constituents of Croydon North for their ambition and will to continue, even as many small businesses continue to struggle.
"My communication skills are a vital element to understanding and expressing the needs and wants of the constituents. I am not here for photo shoots, I am here to serve the constituents of Croydon North."
Lib Deb candidate Marisha Ray is no stranger to Croydon, having spent much of her childhood with close family friends in the borough.
The mother-of-one served as a councillor in Islington between 2002 and 2010, and was an executive member for tackling crime between 2006 and 2008.
She said: "I would like to pay tribute to Malcolm Wicks who was a tireless advocate for people in Croydon North.
"His sad death offers the voters in North Croydon the opportunity to choose a champion who will continue Malcolm's great work of putting Croydon residents first.
"I’m really looking forward to meeting more people in Croydon North over the coming weeks. I want to talk to them about the real issues that matter, like cutting crime, fairer taxes and creating jobs."
Mrs Ray said her team had "already hit the ground running," and have been talking to constituents about what they want to fight for.
But the former IT professional raised concerns about proposed changes to health care services in South London, which could see more pressure put on staff at Croydon University Hospital.
She added: "My record as a Councillor of tackling crime and campaigning for NHS services means I have the experience to stand up for local people on the issues that matter."
The Labour party have yet to announce their candidate, but it is understood former Croydon Council leader Val Shawcross will put her name forward.
Croydon Conservatives are expected to reveal their parliamentary candidate tomorrow, following Mr Wick's memorial service.