Lawrence friend poll win

PUBLISHED: 17:05 25 February 2009 | UPDATED: 16:13 25 August 2010

WINNERS: Duwayne Brooks and Jenni Clutten.

WINNERS: Duwayne Brooks and Jenni Clutten.

THE winner of a council by-election insists he has not got an eye on the top job in British politics despite romping to victory

THE winner of a council by-election insists he has not got an eye on the top job in British politics despite romping to victory.

Liberal Democrat candidate Duwayne Brooks, 33, from Lewisham , secured 1,067 votes in the Downham by-election poll, alongside fellow candidate Jenni Clutten, 21, of Brockley, who received 1,075 votes.

Ms Clutten gained almost double the 655 votes won by their closest rival, Labour candidate Damien James Egan and secured the party's control of the ward following the resignation of Lib Dem councillors Simon Carter and Mark Morris.

Delighted Mr Brooks, who was best friends with murder victim Stephen Lawrence, has no real ambition to further his political career and is instead determined to use his success as a stepping stone in making his charity dream a reality.

He said: "A lot of hard work has gone into this. The Lib Dem team has been excellent. I'm happy that the residents of Downham have put their trust in us and I hope we can carry on the good work that Simon and Mark have done in the area.

"I don't want to be Prime minister. My intention is to set up and run my charity, Brooks Foundation for Victims of Crime. That's my number one ambition."

Mr Brooks, who has already earmarked safety issues for vulnerable people as a priority in the early days of his tenure, was with Stephen Lawrence when he was stabbed to death in 1993 in a racist attack in Eltham.

And 10 years on from the Macpherson report into the police's investigation, Mr Brooks believes that appointments such as his and Ms Clutten's can only be positive in shaping the future of British politics.

He said: "If we were still friends, because of course school friends don't always stay in touch, I'm sure Stephen would be proud.

"Just like all my friends who are happy for me.

"The demographic of Downham has changed dramatically; 20 years ago it was a notoriously racist area, and I lived in Grove Park at that time.

"But it's all changed, and the Lib Dems have shown their respect for that by putting up a young lady and a black candidate."

Ms Clutten, who turned 21 last Saturday, is in the second year of a politics degree at Goldsmith's University.

She said: "I'm really pleased to have been elected. The support we've received has been so encouraging and I'm honoured to take on the role."

Mr Brooks and Ms Clutten received 1,067 and 1,075 votes respectively, giving them a clear victory over Damien James Egan (Labour, 655), Christine Jane Allison (Conservative, 654), Pauline Susan Morrison (Labour, 635), Andrew James Lee (Conservative, 632), Tess Culnane (BNP, 287), Cath Miller (Green Party, 63) and Lee Roach (Green Party, 62).

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