Lewisham Conservatives have called for Mayor of Lewisham, Damien Egan, to quit after he was selected as the Labour Party Candidate for the constituency of Bristol North East, some 120 miles away.
The Mayor of Lewisham is intended to be a full-time role and receives a salary of nearly £80,000 a year based on 2020-21 figures. This is more than double the median average salary in the area of £32,579 according to the most recent Office of National Statistics figures.
Many Lewisham residents will now be concerned that Mayor Egan will not be able to properly represent the area from over 120 miles away in Bristol. During his campaign to seek selection as the Labour Candidate for the parliamentary seat of Bristol North East, Damien Egan said he had temporarily moved to the area.
Kieran Terry, the Conservative GLA Candidate for Greenwich and Lewisham, has written to Damien Egan demanding answers to the following questions:
Do you intend to stay on as Mayor of Lewisham, if so, for how long?
Will you be moving to Bristol and continuing to represent Lewisham from 120 miles away? Where will your primary residence be – in Lewisham, Bristol or somewhere else?
How do you intend to represent Lewisham while your focus and attention is in Bristol?
How much of your time will you dedicate to Lewisham residents given this is your primary job?
While you’re the candidate for Bristol North East who will be taking on the additional workload you are no longer able to undertake?
Will you promise to not cost the Lewisham taxpayer anymore due to your Bristol endeavours by?
1. Handing back your salary to Lewisham residents, including going back to when you stepped down to part time duties to focus on securing the Bristol North East Labour candidacy?
2. Committing to freeze Cabinet Member salaries and not increasing them as a result of Cabinet members taking on more responsibilities in your absence?
3. Not increasing Mayoral Staff or Town Hall staff to take on your responsibilities and workload while you are busy being a candidate in Bristol North East? We already note that when you were first elected in 2018 a year later your Mayoral Office costs Lewisham residents £70,000 more than your predecessor.
Kieran Terry says:
‘Lewisham deserves better. Being Mayor of Lewisham is a full time role and Damien cannot represent Lewisham properly from 120 miles away. He needs to make a decision whether his future is in Bristol or Lewisham. If he chooses Bristol he must resign so Lewisham residents get a Mayor who is dedicated and focused entirely on them and not on being an MP for a completely different part of the country.’
A concerned local resident, Siama Qadar, says:
‘How can our Mayor represent us from over 120 miles away? How is it right our taxes go to a Mayor who is no longer concerned with our area? What happens if there is an emergency in our borough and our Mayor is too busy over four hours away? We deserve a Mayor who is focused on our borough and not somewhere else. I hope Damien Egan does the decent thing and resign immediately.’
During his first year as Mayor, Damien Egan increased his direct Mayoral staff with a cost to local taxpayers of over £70,000. In their letter to Mayor Egan Lewisham Conservatives ask questions to ensure that Damien’s Bristol endeavors do not cost Lewisham taxpayers more money.