Local Conservatives’ new recruit John Cartwright has called for the de-selection of Croydon Mayor Eddy Arram ahead of next year’s council elections, alleging that the Ashburton councillor bullied a member of the public at last Monday’s Town Hall meeting.
Arram’s one-year term as Croydon mayor has been controversial from the beginning. Arram failed to attend the traditional annual service at Croydon Minster, apparently he was “too busy”, and was accused of having many conflicts of interest and of abusing his position as a supposedly impartial chairman of meetings.
Arram’s blustering and heavy-handed style even prompted a walk-out of the entire Labour group at one heated meeting.
Throughout his term as mayor, Arram continued to work as a constituency assistant to Croydon Central MP Gavin “I’m just a bag carrier” Barwell.
Last Monday’s full council meeting was the final one over which Arram is due to preside as mayor.
Arram began the meeting by calling for a minute’s silence in memory of Margaret Thatcher, insisting that everyone present should stand. When Marzia Nicodemi-Ehikioya refused to do so, Arram angrily ordered her from the Town Hall chamber.
Cartwright, who called himself John Loony when he stood for election as a member of the Monster Raving Loony party in the past, described Arram’s conduct as “the most outrageous and contemptible thing I have ever witnessed in 15 years of attending council meetings”.
In a comment posted with Inside Croydon, Cartwright said, “It is absolutely none of his business whether someone in the public gallery chooses to stand (or not) in such circumstances, and he did not have the authority either to order Marzia to stand up or to leave – particularly as she was not being disruptive to the conduct of the meeting in any way.”
Cartwright’s joining of the Croydon Tories was trumpeted by local party officials, so his comments accusing Arram of bullying will be particularly embarrassing, especially as it comes on the weekend when the Conservatives were staging a local manifesto conference – charging the public £5 for the privilege of attending yesterday’s event at Airport House to share their best ideas for Croydon’s future in a desperate effort that had more to do with boosting party funds than any real impact for local residents.
“I will rejoice when Councillor Arram leaves the office of Mayor,” Cartright said, “and I sincerely hope that he will be de-selected as a candidate for next year’s local elections.
“If my colleagues in the Conservative party are foolish enough to re-adopt him as candidate for Ashburton ward, then I will definitely not be campaigning for him and I will restrict my leafleting activities to other wards.”
Arram has been a councillor for the ward since 1981, but he has not featured among Mike Fisher’s front bench team for some time.
Ashburton returned three Tory councillors after the 2010 local elections, with Arram polling the most votes, more than 3,000.
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