London: Gay council boss elected as Labour MP for Croydon North

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Steve Reed, the leader of south London’s Lambeth Borough Council, has been elected as the new Labour MP for Croydon North and in the process has retained the seat for the party.

The By-election was triggered by the death of Labour MP Malcolm Wicks in September.

Mr Reed secured 15,898 votes – 64.7% of those cast – with Andy Stranack of the Conservative Party in second place on 4,137 votes.

Winston McKenzie of the UK Independence Party was third with 1,400 votes and Lib Dem Marisha Ray came fourth with 860.

In his victory speech on Friday morning Mr Reed said: “Tonight the people of Croydon North sent a clear message to David Cameron.

“He cannot be the one-nation prime minister Britain needs if he stands by doing nothing while Croydon faces one of the highest levels of youth unemployment in London.

“He cannot be the one-nation prime minister Britain needs if he is giving tax cuts to millionaires while pensioners here in Croydon are left to pay more.”

The By-election had been mired in controversy after Winston McKenzie, the UK Independence Party’s candidate, told a local newspaper that gay people should not be allowed to adopt children.

Just hours later on Monday, Mr McKenzie gave an interview to the Metro newspaper where he stated that same-sex adoption amounted to child abuse.

Mr McKenzie said: “It is a violation of a child’s human rights because that child has no opportunity to grow up under normal circumstances.”

In March 2008, Steve Reed narrowly lost out to shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna for selection as Labour’s 2010 election candidate for the Streatham constituency.

The 49-year-old was named one of the three most influential council leaders in the country by the Local Government Chronicle in 2011.

He was also the highest-ranked Labour politician in the Independent on Sunday’s 2010 Pink List.