Brenda Dacres Makes History as Lewisham’s First Black Woman Mayor

March 8, 2024

A historic moment unfolded in Lewisham as the first black woman secured victory in a directly elected mayoral role. Brenda Dacres, representing the Labour Party in the south-east London borough, secured the win with 21,576 votes, commanding a 51.5% share. The by-election, triggered by the departure of former mayor Damien Egan, who sought a parliamentary seat in Bristol, saw Green Party candidate Michael Herron come in second with 6,835 votes.

Despite a low turnout of 20.73%, Ms Dacres expressed hope that her win would serve as an example for young individuals from ethnic minority backgrounds. Housing emerged as a top priority in her agenda, emphasizing the need for new home construction and improving existing housing conditions. The Liberal Democrats claimed third place with 4,896 votes, followed by the Conservatives at 3,784.

In her acceptance speech, Ms Dacres highlighted the significance of her achievement as the first black woman directly elected mayor, emphasizing her role as a potential role model and inspiration for the diverse youth in Lewisham. While the low turnout was anticipated for a standalone by-election, concerns were raised about the election’s cost of £635,000 and its perceived impact on council taxpayers’ funds. Although this by-election is unlikely to influence the broader fortunes of the Labour Party significantly, its occurrence is linked to Labour’s performance in other regions.