The Conservative nightmare in Croydon is that a strong UKIP performance on “Super Thursday” on May 22 next year, with the combination of European and local elections, will see their grip on the Town Hall broken as Tory supporters submit to the charms of Nigel Farage. Local Conservatives, though, can take solace that Labour now faces a split vote challenge of their own.
A prominent campaigner in Labour’s Croydon North by-election victory of a year ago is coming back to Croydon to promote a new political party that claims that Labour has lost touch with its roots, and rejects BME, black and minority ethnic, candidates.
Prem Goyal, is the City entrepreneur who was noted for his work for the Labour party in many parliamentary by-elections across the country, and who has set up the All People’s Party out of a sense of frustration with Labour party selection processes that he feels are manipulated to keep out minority ethnic candidates, making Labour unrepresentative of the neighbourhoods it aspires to represent.
“It is unacceptable that out of the top 13 political leaders in Southwark, including 12 from Labour, we have only one minority leader,” Goyal has said as one example from a neighbouring borough. “It is an insult to talented minorities that only 10 per cent of political power is given at the top to those who make up 45 per cent of the borough’s population.”
Goyal’s message is likely to resonate in Croydon, where safe Labour wards have had black councillors de-selected, replaced by white candidates. In one ward in the northern part of the borough, a number of Tamils who joined the Labour party have complained that they have been excluded from the selection process, with a prospective candidate refused permission to stand even for possible selection.
Goyal has also criticised the clandestine and somewhat obscure selection practices in Labour at local level, where the dates and locations of ward selection meetings have often been kept secret, even from ward members, until a week beforehand.
The All People’s Party has already selected BME candidates to challenge Labour in Southwark in both local and parliamentary elections.
While George Galloway’s Respect Party candidate, Lee Jasper, was dealt a severe electoral blow in the Croydon North by-election last November, any intervention by a splinter group such as the APP in next May’s Croydon Town Hall battles will unsettle the local Labour leadership while there is a disciplinary process underway against one of its senior, black councillors, after a complaint was filed apparently with the support of another Labour councillor.
Previous coverage of Croydon’s local elections and selections:
- Desperately devious: Barwell appeals to women of Addiscombe
- Complaint filed over Woodley’s New Addington selection
- Tory leader Fisher is fearful of defections to UKIP
- Tony Benn’s grand-daughter selected for West Thornton ward
- Gray day for “rising star”, as Smith loses selection battle
Coming to Croydon
- The Firebird, family concert: Oct 20
- Lakes Playground group’s fundraising Zumba-ween: Oct 26
- PJ’s enterprising look at Black History Month: Oct 29
- The Railway Children: Oct 30-Nov 2
- St Giles School open morning: Nov 13
- Secret Love at the Ashcroft Theatre: Nov 14
- Future Tech City: Nov 30
- Inside Croydon: Croydon’s only independent news source, based in the heart of the borough – 262,183 page views (Jan-Jun 2013)
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