Beckton by-election 'to fall on same day' as General Election as former deputy mayor stands for West Ham

James Asser was a Newham councillor for six years
-Credit: (Image: London Labour Press Office)

A former Newham councillor has been revealed as Labour's candidate for the West Ham and Beckton constituency at the general election. James Asser has stood down from his roles as a Beckton councillor, statutory deputy mayor and cabinet member for environmental and sustainable transport at Newham Council as he sets his sights on becoming an East London MP.

His departure has triggered a by-election as his former councillor seat is now up for grabs. Though the council is yet to reveal a date for the by-election, it is likely to fall on Thursday, July 4, which is the same day as the general election. The mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz has appointed Cllr Sarah Ruiz as the new deputy mayor of Newham, and will also take over as an "executive member" and oversee Mr Asser's former environment and sustainable transport portfolio.

Mr Asser was elected as a Newham councillor in 2018, and had been a cabinet member for five years and served as the deputy mayor for the last two years. The West Ham seat has been held by Lyn Brown from the Labour Party since 2005, but is set to become West Ham and Beckton due to a shake-up in constituency boundaries.

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Earlier this week Ms Brown announced "with the heaviest of hearts" that she would not be standing at the general election. In a statement posted on X on Tuesday (May 28), Ms Brown said: "Standing down will be such a huge wrench. But given the challenges we have in Newham and the health challenges I've faced this year, I think we need new Labour MPs to take us forward with a Labour Government."

Following Labour's announcement, Mr Asser wrote on X yesterday evening (May 30): "An honour to be selected to stand for Labour in West Ham & Beckton. The place I’ve made my home, including the area I represented as a councillor for 6 years I’m looking forward to continue working with & serving the local community in one of the most vibrant borough’s in London."

Ms Fiaz paid tribute to Mr Asser, and said: "I will miss him dearly, but I know he will continue to play a huge part in Newham's future." Also standing as a parliamentary candidate for the West Ham and Beckton seat is Sophia Naqvi, who currently serves as an independent councillor for Plaistow North ward in Newham.

Meanwhile Rob Callendar is the Green Party's candidate for the same seat. Peter Monks from Reform UK and Hassan Morsy from the Workers Party of Britain are understood to also be contesting for the West Ham and Beckton seat.

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