Damien James Egan (born 1982 or 1983)[1] is a British politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Kingswood in South Gloucestershire since 15 February 2024, having won the 2024 Kingswood by-election. A member of the Labour Party, he previously was Mayor of Lewisham in Greater London from 7 May 2018 to 9 January 2024.[3]

Damien Egan
Member of Parliament
for Kingswood
Assumed office
15 February 2024
Preceded byChris Skidmore
Majority2,501 (10.0%)
Mayor of Lewisham
In office
7 May 2018 – 9 January 2024
Preceded bySteve Bullock
Succeeded byTBD
Member of Lewisham Council
for Lewisham Central
In office
6 May 2010 – 3 May 2018
Personal details
Damien James Egan

1982 or 1983[1]
Cork, Ireland
Political partyLabour
SpouseYossi Felberbaum[2]
Alma materSt Mary's University College, Twickenham

Early life edit

Egan was born in 1982 or 1983[1] in Cork, Ireland and grew up in northeast Bristol, England.[4] During his childhood, his family became homeless and lived in temporary accommodation.[5]

Egan attended Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School and Hanham High School. He studied at St Mary's University College, Twickenham,[5] before moving to Lewisham after graduating.[4]

Political career edit

Egan was a parish councillor in Downend and Staple Hill, both suburbs of Bristol, when he was 21, before he moved to London.[1]

At the 2005 general election Egan stood as the Labour candidate for Weston-super-Mare, finishing third with 18.7% of the vote behind the Conservative John Penrose and the Liberal Democrat Brian Cotter.[6]

Egan served as a Councillor on Downend and Bromley Heath Parish Council, representing the area that is now Staple Hill Ward.

At the 2010 general election Egan stood as the Labour candidate for Beckenham, where he finished third with 14.5% of the vote behind the Conservative Bob Stewart and the Liberal Democrats.[7]

Elected as a Councillor for Lewisham Central in 2010, Egan was appointed the Council's cabinet member for housing in 2014.[8]

In 2017, Egan was selected as the Labour Party's candidate for the directly-elected Lewisham mayoral elections in May 2018.[9] In 2018 he was elected Mayor of Lewisham with 54% of the vote. In the 2022 mayoral elections, Egan was re-elected with an increased majority and 58% of the vote.[10]

Mayor of Lewisham edit

Egan was Mayor of Lewisham from 7 May 2018 to 9 January 2024. His priorities included schools, council homes, parks, climate action and making Lewisham the first Borough of Sanctuary.

Education edit

Working with local schools through the Lewisham Learning Partnership, Lewisham secondary schools have seen improving GCSE results, with achievement for Lewisham’s children from disadvantaged backgrounds in the top quarter in the country,[11] a positive Progress 8 score of +0.08 in 2022, indicating that pupils in Lewisham made more progress, on average, than pupils with similar levels of attainment in Key Stage 2. However, Lewisham comes 24th out of 32 London boroughs for disadvantaged pupil's Progress 8 scores. Lewisham also ranks 30th out of 32 London boroughs for its overall Attainment 8 GCSE level scores and 30th out of London boroughs for the percentage of pupils gaining three A*-A grades or better at A-level.[12] The council has said that more parents are choosing to send their children to Lewisham schools with the 2022 intake of 11-12 year olds the largest for more than 20 years.[11]

All Lewisham schools have signed a pledge to tackle race inequalities in education and the Council has also supported the establishment of the Lewisham Young Leaders Academy, an innovative Saturday school aimed at young people from Black Caribbean backgrounds.[13] Inequalities remain. At KS2, for the proportion of white pupils who achieve the expected or higher standards of reading, writing and maths, Lewisham comes 16th out of the 32 London boroughs. For Black pupils, Lewisham comes 28th.[14]

Borough of Sanctuary edit

Lewisham Council was declared the UK's first Council of Sanctuary by the charity City of Sanctuary in May 2021.[15] Under the Borough of Sanctuary programme, Lewisham Council will have re-settled 100 refugee families from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan by June 2023, signed Safe Passage UK's pledge to resettle an additional 100 unaccompanied child refugees over the 10 years, removed the Home Office's embedded officer in the council's No Recourse to Public Funds service, campaigned for the Government to restart the refugee resettlement scheme during the pandemic and ensured all Lewisham GP practices sign up to the Doctors of the World Safe Surgeries scheme.[16]

Climate change edit

Lewisham Council was one of the first local authorities in the country to declare a climate emergency, pledging to do 'everything within their power' to be carbon neutral by 2030.[17] Lewisham Council's Climate Emergency Action Plan was released in March 2020 and the plan was rated as one of the best in the country by Climate Emergency UK.

In 2021, Lewisham's parks were rated as the best in London by Good Parks for London.[18] Lewisham Council planted 24,000 trees between 2018 and 2022, including 700 street trees.[19]

Lewisham Council has also switched its electricity supply to 100% renewable energy,[20] launched a Climate Emergency Investment for residents[21] and introduced 46 School Streets to encourage active travel.[22] The Healthy Streets Scorecard has Lewisham bottom of inner London boroughs for sustainable transport.[23]

Lewisham has made improvements to its recycling rates in recent years after a decision under the previous mayor, Sir Steve Bullock, to move to fortnightly waste collection and weekly food waste collection. In 2016/17 (before the switch), recycling rates in Lewisham were 17.7%. In 2018/19 (after the change and in Mayor Egan's first year), recycling rates increased to 28%, giving Lewisham the 24th highest recycling rate out of 32 London boroughs.[24] In 2021-22 the rate was 27.2%.[25] Lewisham has plans to increase its recycling rates further. In 2021/22, Lewisham had the 27th highest recycling rate out of the 32 London boroughs.[26]

Housing edit

In March 2022, shortly before the borough elections, Lewisham Council announced they had "delivered" 1,200 new social homes between 2018 and 2022 Lewisham Council.[27] Of these, 240 were completed homes built by the council through their Building for Lewisham progamme while 540 of the 1,200 had not yet been built. Of the rest, these were in private developments and Lewisham Council professed not to hold information about whether these were yet completed.[28] In 2022, 12 social homes were completed by the council.[29]

Labour’s 2018 manifesto also committed to a "target to achieve 50% genuinely affordable homes in developer-led projects". As of March 2022, four developments had met this "target".[30]

Egan worked with the London Community Land Trust[31] and Citizens UK to develop a community land trust providing affordable homes for Lewisham residents.[32] Egan has also supported other community land trust projects across Lewisham including London’s largest, affordable, self-build housing project.[33]

Governance edit

Mayor Egan faced accusations of forcing out Lewisham Council CEO Ian Thomas CBE (then the only black chief executive of a local council) in November 2018, who had only been in post for seven months.[34] Protests about his departure led to police being called to a council meeting.[35] Ian Thomas now serves as Town Clerk & Chief Executive of the City of London Corporation since February 2023.[36] Kim Wright was appointed as chief executive in October 2019 but left in January 2023.[37] As of February 2024 Jennifer Daothong serves as acting CEO.[38]

Parliamentary career edit

In July 2023, Egan was selected as Labour's prospective parliamentary candidate for Bristol North East.[39] He defeated Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees to win the candidacy for the new seat, established due to boundary changes at the next general election.

On 15 February 2024, he became MP for Kingswood in South Gloucestershire at the Kingswood by-election.[40] The constituency is due to be abolished at the next general election, but contains a substantial proportion of the future Bristol North East constituency. Egan was elected with 44.9% of the vote and a majority of 2,501.[41][42]

Personal life edit

Egan is married to Israeli-born Yossi Felberbaum.[2][43] Though raised a Catholic, Egan converted to Judaism, following his husband's faith.[44]

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d Cork, Tristan (16 June 2023). "Elected mayor coming home with hopes of being Bristol's next MP". Bristol Live. Retrieved 15 January 2024.
  2. ^ a b Neame, Katie; Belger, Tom (16 February 2024). "Kingswood by-election results: Meet new Labour MP Damien Egan". LabourList. Retrieved 16 February 2024.
  3. ^ "London Mayoral Elections 2018 - Labour holds firm". East London Lines. 5 May 2018. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Mayor's biography". Lewisham Council. Archived from the original on 20 June 2023. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  5. ^ a b Jess McCabe (26 September 2018). "Experiences of homelessness: an interview with Lewisham Mayor Damien Egan". Inside Housing. Ocean Media Group. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  6. ^ "2005 General Election - Weston-super-Mare". Parliament.uk. Retrieved 11 January 2024.
  7. ^ "2010 General Election - Beckenham". Parliament.uk. Retrieved 11 January 2024.
  8. ^ "Mayor's biography". Lewisham Council. Retrieved 13 July 2022.
  9. ^ "Labour selects its candidate for Lewisham mayoral election". News Shopper. 21 September 2017. Retrieved 1 June 2023.
  10. ^ "Mayor of Lewisham announces new Cabinet team following elections". News Shopper. Retrieved 13 July 2022.
  11. ^ a b "News from our schools March 2023". Lewisham Council. Retrieved 15 June 2023.
  12. ^ Learning, Lewisham (March 2023). "Report on 2022 pupil achievement in Lewisham".
  13. ^ "Pledge to tackle race inequalities in education". Lewisham Council. Retrieved 15 June 2023.
  14. ^ Learning, Lewisham (March 2023). "Report on 2022 pupil achievement in Lewisham".
  15. ^ "Lewisham first council in UK to be recognised as 'sanctuary' for refugees". News Shopper. 2 June 2021. Retrieved 15 June 2023.
  16. ^ "Borough of Sanctuary". Lewisham Council. Retrieved 15 June 2023.
  17. ^ Council, Lewisham (27 February 2023). "Motion to declare a Climate Emergency" (PDF). Lewisham Council.
  18. ^ Jenkinson, Orlando (20 November 2021). "Parks in Lewisham dubbed best in London". The News Shopper. Retrieved 15 June 2023.
  19. ^ Council, Lewisham (24 November 2022). "Lewisham's second Tiny Forest of 600 new trees planted in Ladywell Fields". Lewisham Council.
  20. ^ Council, Lewisham. "Tackling the Climate Emergency". Lewisham Council.
  21. ^ "New bond scheme will give Lewisham residents chance to invest in council's climate projects – Eastlondonlines". www.eastlondonlines.co.uk. Retrieved 15 June 2023.
  22. ^ "Our School Streets programme". Lewisham Council. Retrieved 15 June 2023.
  23. ^ "2022 Scorecard results overview". Healthy Streets Scorecard. Retrieved 18 June 2023.
  24. ^ "Household Waste Recycling Rates, Borough". London Data Store. Mayor of London. Retrieved 20 June 2023.
  25. ^ "ENV18 – Local authority collected waste: annual results tables 2021/22". GOV.UK. Retrieved 20 June 2023.
  26. ^ "Action needed on London's embarrassing recycling record". CPRE London. Retrieved 19 June 2023.
  27. ^ "1,200 social homes delivered in Lewisham since 2018". Lewisham Council. Retrieved 15 June 2023.
  28. ^ "FoI Reference No: 14273488". What Do They Know. Lewisham Council.
  29. ^ "Lewisham Homes Performance Report, March 2022" (PDF). Lewisham Council. Retrieved 19 June 2023.
  30. ^ "Public Questions to Full Council" (PDF). Lewisham Council. Retrieved 19 June 2023.
  31. ^ www.londonclt.org
  32. ^ Lee, Claudia (29 March 2023). "'The power of communities': Affordable homes designed by residents open in Lewisham". South London News. Retrieved 15 June 2023.
  33. ^ "Mayor Damien Egan signs lease on site for Londons largest, self-build, affordable housing project". Lewisham Council. Retrieved 15 June 2023.
  34. ^ "Ian Thomas- Only Black Council CEO in UK -Stands Down After 7 Months". Operation Black Vote. Retrieved 19 June 2023.
  35. ^ "Police called as Lewisham Council meeting descends into chaos". 853. Retrieved 19 June 2023.
  36. ^ "City Corporation appoints new Town Clerk and Chief Executive". cityoflondon.gov.uk. City of London Corporation. Retrieved 19 June 2023.
  37. ^ "Brent Council appoints new chief executive Kim Wright". Brent Council website. Brent Council. Retrieved 19 June 2023.
  38. ^ "The Chief Executive". Newham Council. Retrieved 16 February 2024.
  39. ^ "London candidate beats Bristol mayor for MP seat". BBC News. 30 July 2023. Retrieved 31 July 2023.
  40. ^ Ross, Alex (16 February 2024). "Who is Damien Egan? Labour's new MP for Kingswood". The Independent. Retrieved 16 February 2024.
  41. ^ "Statement of Persons Nominated" (PDF). South Gloucestershire Council. 19 January 2024. Retrieved 19 January 2024.
  42. ^ "Labour overturns Tory majority to win key by-election seat in Kingswood". BBC News. Retrieved 16 February 2024.
  43. ^ Harpin, Lee. "Labour's Jewish by-election candidate celebrates victory with Israeli-born husband". www.jewishnews.co.uk. Retrieved 16 February 2024.
  44. ^ Philpot, Robert (2 June 2019). "'Sometimes you feel like you're hiding something,' says Labour mayor of converting to Judaism". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 18 February 2024.

External links edit

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament
for Kingswood