Labour’s Chuka Umunna remains silent over party leadership after retaining Streatham seat

Chuka Umunna pledged his support for Labour leader Ed Miliband, despite being touted as a future party chief in the wake of their General Election performance.

The shadow business secretary swept to victory in Streatham with 26,474 votes – 27.9% majority – ahead of Conservative candidate Kim Caddy.

With exit polls predicting a bleak result for Labour, Mr Miliband’s position appears uncertain, but Mr Umunna remained tight-lipped on any future leadership role.

“I’m absolutely behind Ed Miliband, he ran a fantastic campaign and I’m really proud of the campaign he led,” he said.

“It has been an election about the future and our campaign nationally did put forward, positive, hopeful solutions.

“In terms of the bigger picture I’m not going to say anything about that.”

Mr Umunna polled a 10.24% increase on 2010, while second-placed Mrs Caddy, managed only 12,540 votes.

The Liberal Democrats share of the vote fell by more than 26%, with Amna Ahmad polling only 4,491 votes, compared to the Greens’ 4,421.

One of the key issues in the Streatham constituency has been the future of small businesses in Brixton.

In February Network Rail gave businesses their marching orders on Atlantic Road, Brixton Station Road and Railton Road in Brixton and Herne Hill, to make way for redevelopment of the site.

Mr Umunna acknowledged there were issues that need to be addressed, but it involved a community wide approach.

“There is a lot of change going on in our community. Gentrification is something that we need to have a comprehensive discussion about,” he said.

“It’s more complex then some have suggested and how we transition is something we all need to be involved in.

“One thing I’m clear on, it’s not for politicians, no matter who they are, to impose a view of how we do things in Brixton and it’s got to be a community led exploration of where we want to take things.”

Mr Umunna, who was born and raised in Streatham, also stressed that creating an equal community was top of his agenda as he prepares to take office for another five years.

He added: “We have two Londons. There is one where lots of people are doing very well, but we have another where far too many people are not seeing the fruits that our economy can bring.

“I went into politics because I want to build a fairer, more equal Streatham community and also a fairer, more equal Britain.

“My pledge to the people who I have the great honour of representing again is I will give every bit that I have done in the past and continue to do in the future to building a better community in this wonderful Lambeth of ours.”

Picture courtesy of the Labour Party, with thanks

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