Leyton Leytonstone News

Leyton and Wanstead candidate pitches

The candidates make their pitch for your vote

Six of the eight candidates sent us a pitch. Read them below.

The departing incumbent John Cryer, who announced he would be standing down shortly after the election was called, has held the seat since 2010. Former RAF commander Calvin Bailey has since been announced as Labour’s candidate.

Regarded as a safe Labour seat, Cryer won 64.7% of the vote in the 2019 election, with the second-placed candidate (a Conservative) gaining just 18%.

In 2010 and 2005, the Liberal Democrats came second, each time winning over 25% of the local vote. Their vote share collapsed in 2015, and is yet to properly recover; in 2019 they received 10.5% of the vote, coming third.

There are a total of eight candidates standing in Leyton and Wanstead; they include a Reform UK, Rejoin EU, Green Party and Workers Party candidate. Redbridge councillor Shanell Johnson is standing as an independent.

The boundary changes introduced for this election have seen the constituency expand to include the whole of Wanstead Park and South Woodford.

Here seven of the eight candidates for Leyton and Wanstead make a pitch for your vote. They are presented alphabetically. The Reform Party candidate David Kenton Sandground did not respond to a request for a pitch.

Mahtab Anwar Aziz, Workers Party

Mahtab Anwar Aziz

I moved to Leytonstone from Kashmir with my parents when I was five years old in 1969. I attended school in Waltham Forest, and it’s where I still live now.

I have a deep passion for seeing justice and fairness in society. In my 30 years as a practising lawyer, I have given extensive pro bono legal advice to the local community, addressing poverty, crime, housing, and employment at my office on Leyton High Road.

I advocate for a safer community through a tougher stance on crime. By establishing youth clubs and creating job opportunities, we can deter youth from crime and support their reintegration into society.

I am a kickboxing coach and have been instrumental in getting youths off the streets and improving their health, discipline, and their reintegration into society.

I am in favour of raising the tax threshold to £21,200 in order to alleviate financial burdens on hardworking individuals and families.

I will engage deeply with the community through regular forums and interactive discussions to amplify every voice, backed by a decade of volunteer work addressing local issues like crime and job opportunities.

If elected, I will advocate for peace and substantial humanitarian aid to Gaza, focusing on rebuilding infrastructure and supporting local communities, inspired by a commitment to human rights and poverty alleviation.

The Labour Party has a track record of political failure with broken promises! Real change will only come when Labour is voted out.

Calvin Bailey, Labour Party

Calvin Bailey

I’m standing as the Labour candidate for Leyton and Wanstead because I believe in community, opportunity, and dedicated service. My journey into politics is not traditional. I have served for 24 years in the Royal Air Force and noted for my leadership of aid missions in Afghanistan, Haiti, and the Philippines.

Born in Zambia and raised in London, I benefited from the last Labour government’s commitment to young people. This support was crucial to my success, and I want similar opportunities for the next generation. I am proud of my service and will use this experience to represent our diverse community.

If elected, I promise to be an engaged and present MP, working for all residents in Leyton, Leytonstone, and Wanstead. My priorities will include standing up for Whipps Cross Hospital by supporting Keir Starmer’s commitment to rebuild Whipps Cross and collaborating with other local Labour MP’s to make this happen.

I will work towards strengthening our communities by supporting local initiatives and working with the police and councils to tackle anti-social behaviour, and fostering a strong sense of community.

I will also fight for opportunities for our youth by championing the development of youth hubs that support the arts, sports, and volunteering programmes, empowering our young people and nurturing their talents.

After 14 years of Conservative rule, we deserve better. We deserve change.

Simon Mark Bezer, Rejoin EU Party

I am standing in the General Election for this constituency to demonstrate my and my party’s rejection of Brexit. The last eight years have been a time of chaos and division in this country, and no single factor in this chaos has been more important than Brexit.

Brexit is the single biggest problem undermining our society. It’s the engine behind the cost of living crisis; it’s reducing our ability to live, work and holiday abroad and it takes away from the next generation the educational opportunities we could all enjoy
through the Erasmus scheme.

Brexit has undermined British prestige and credibility in the world. Governmental rhetoric about the UK’s “world-beating” international position is a hollow sham.

By the big parties not mentioning Brexit, we have one of the most dishonest elections we’ve ever seen. My claim to be the next MP for this constituency rests on my willingness to point out this dishonesty and raise my political voice against it.

That’s why I’m putting myself forward in this election: if elected I will ensure parliament has at least one voice calling out Brexit for what it is – a con! I hope and believe that as time goes by there will be more MPs, from a range of parties, who agree with me.

Leyton and Wanstead has the opportunity to take the lead by sending a rejoiner to Parliament in 2024. They can be sure that my voice will always be speaking up against Brexit and for the rejoin cause.

Simon did not send a photo because of “personal safety reasons”

Gloria Croxall, Conservative Party

Gloria Croxall

As your candidate I aspire to create visible positive change, especially in the less well-off parts of Leyton and Wanstead that have been neglected.

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I would use my business experience to grow the business networks and bring new investment to create jobs and apprenticeships for young people.

Small business and entrepreneurs are at the heart of our local economy and are responsible for nearly half the job creation in the UK.

I will start business breakfasts which will be attended by a government minister and ensure that small and medium size businesses can have all their concerns heard and obtain the support they need.

I have a big heart for young people, and I would focus on their needs as they are tomorrow’s leaders. I will also focus on rebuilding the Whipps Cross Hospital as well as creating visible policing to deal with anti-social behaviour and crime to ensure residents can feel safe.

I will fight to keep our green belt, as it has been our party policy for many decades. Young people need access to green spaces and I will ensure that we create a future where they can thrive in the local environment.

Whilst I recognise the need to build affordable houses, I totally agree with our party and my colleagues that this should not come at the expense of our green spaces.

I will work with the housing minister and local authorities to ensure that urban sprawl that is detrimental to precious spaces is prevented.

Tara Copeland, Liberal Democrats

Tara Copeland

I’m originally from Vancouver, Canada and I moved to the UK in 2012 for university. In 2017 I moved from Scotland to London, and I just absolutely love it here.

I used to play for and be captain of the Leyton Orient women’s team, and through the club we did a lot of community work, like visits to local schools where we got kids involved in sport.

A key issue that is important to me and close to my heart is trying to make mental health care better and supporting carers, because I have been in caring positions as a young person.

The closest police station for Leyton and Wanstead is in Chingford. I think it’s really important that we have a local police station in the area again.

I am passionate about protecting the local environment and I am against extended hours for London City Airport and stand against the expansion of the Edmonton Incinerator.

We need more affordable housing, but that also means putting more funding into bringing back high streets, making sure that there’s enough GPs in the area, and making sure there’s enough schools in the area.

People in Leyton and Wanstead don’t feel listened to; they feel a bit forgotten. I’m fresh. I’m new. I’m willing to listen. I’m here to advocate for people and I want to make the community better and stronger. I think it’s a great place to live in – it’s absolutely stunning.

Shanell Johnson, Leyton and Wanstead

Shanell Johnson

I’m Cllr Shanell Johnson, your local Independent candidate for Leyton and Wanstead. I’ve lived here for over 30 years, and I cherish our community deeply.

I left the Labour Party due to its disappointing stance on Gaza, and its neglect of local concerns like overdevelopment and not adopting a needs-based budget.

We need a real change and I will implement regular community assemblies, where your voice is heard and we address the needs of the community. I am committed to being available and truly serving our community, because I live here.

Join me in reviving local grassroots politics. I am committed to justice and peace for every life. The main parties failed to call for an immediate ceasefire in Israel and Gaza to protect innocent lives.

Overdevelopment is rampant, but these new flats are unaffordable for many. I will fight for Section 106 funds from developers to go towards supporting local community groups which reduce isolation and create communal spaces.

The Margaret Centre at Whipps Cross Hospital is essential and must be included in the redevelopment of the hospital. Our youth need better facilities. We must save and expand youth centres, which create places young people can feel like they belong.

Vote for me, Shanell Johnson, on 4th July for real change and hope.

Charlotte Lafferty, Green Party

Charlotte Lafferty

I’m a long-time resident of Leyton, I first moved here in 2010 and returned in 2018, where I’ve been ever since. I’m a working-class woman from a working-class background and growing up, my family relied on hand-me-downs to get by. If we were growing up now, we would be relying on food banks even though my parents worked. And for my whole adult life, I’ve been a renter living paycheque to paycheque.

I’m acutely aware of how damaging the old parties’ policies are to us and how precarious our current economic situation is. That’s why I will support policies like rent controls, publicly funded services, scrapping the two-child benefit limit and a wealth tax.

I will push for every single home in Leyton and Wanstead to be retrofitted and insulated so that energy bills won’t be going through the roof while also doing less harm to our environment.

I know my neighbours are worried about drug use on their door steps and the crime related to this, so I would look at implementing a holistic approach to drug policy with a focus on harm reduction. This means looking at putting Leyton forward as a place to trial drug consumption rooms.

I also know that communities here in Leyton and Wanstead are affected by the situation in Gaza. I will continue to call for a ceasefire, an end to arms sales and the release of all hostages.

We need real hope and real change in Leyton and Wanstead. That’s exactly what I and the Green Party plan to bring if elected on 4th July.

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