Goodwin joined the Labour Party in 1932, and in 1937 was elected to Bermondsey Borough Council. He became leader of Bermondsey Council in 1947.
In 1946 he was elected to the London County Council as a representative for Bermondsey West. Following boundary changes in 1949 he became councillor for Bermondsey. He held the seat until 1961 when he became an alderman, a post he held until the county council's abolition in 1965.
The London County Council was replaced by the Greater London Council, and Goodwin was Elected to the new body as one of the representatives of Southwark, which included Bermondsey. Following boundary changes at the 1973 council election he became GLC member for the new seat of Bermondsey, continuing until his de-selection in 1981.
In 1967 he became leader of the Labour Group on the GLC, then forming the opposition to the controlling Conservative Party. When Labour won control of the GLC he became leader of the council. He was knighted in the 1968 New Year Honours The Conservatives regained control of the GLC in 1977 and Goodwin retired to the backbenches in 1980.
The National Archives files PREM 16/457 and PREM 16/136 refer.
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"Obituary: Sir Reg Goodwin. Moderate Labour Leader in London". The Times: p. 16. 30 September 1986.