Kevin Bonavia has been selected as Labour’s candidate for Stevenage in the next General Election. 

At a hustings on Saturday, November 12, Mr Bonavia won a vote of local party members by a "good margin". 

He had been one of four shortlisted candidates – the others being Nazmin Chowdhury, John Howard, and Naushabah Khan. 

Speaking after his selection, Mr Bonavia said he was “absolutely delighted” to have been selected, and that it was “a real honour”.

He added: “For too long our town and villages have been let down by our Tory MP and his friends in Westminster. 

“They don’t understand what it’s like to struggle to heat homes, pay bills and cover the rent or mortgage. 

“This is my home and I want the best for it – decent homes, thriving schools, quality jobs. 

“Keir Starmer has a plan for Stevenage. I will work with Sharon Taylor and our Labour council to deliver it. 

“I’d like to thank the Labour Party members in Stevenage for their support and can’t wait to show the people of Stevenage our offer of a better future for everyone.” 

Mr Bonavia is a solicitor who now lives in Stevenage. He moved to the UK from Malta when he was eight years old, and served as a councillor in Lewisham, southeast London, between 2010 and 2022. 

In 2017, he was appointed as Armed Forces Cabinet Champion in Lewisham and led a review of the Armed Forces Covenant that aimed to improve support for service personnel and veterans in the borough.

From 2018, he was cabinet member for refugees, and helped make Lewisham the UK’s first borough of sanctuary for refugees. 

Mr Bonavia has stood as a Labour candidate in two previous General Elections - for Rochford and Southend East in 2010, and for Clacton in 2019. He came second on both occasions. 

Stephen McPartland has been the Conservative MP for Stevenage since 2010. At the most recent General Election, in 2019, he won with 25,328 votes. 

Jill Borcherds, the Labour candidate, came second with 16,766 votes and Lisa Nash of the Liberal Democrats came third with 4,132 votes. 

Recent polls suggest that Labour would be likely to win a General Election if one were held now. 

Electoral Calculus’s ‘poll of polls’ for November suggests that Labour would receive 48.5 per cent of votes nationally, against 26.5 per cent for the Conservatives. 

It gives Labour a 91 per cent chance of winning in Stevenage. 

The next General Election must be held no later than January 2025. 

Stevenage is described as a bellwether constituency by politics afficionados because – since its creation in 1983 – it has always been won by the party with the most MPs. 

The Comet has asked Mr McPartland whether he plans to stand again at the next General Election and is awaiting response.