Where is Tory Councillor Clare Hilley on Ai Wei Wei?

Croydon’s newest councillor, Waddon ward’s Clare Hilley, appears a little conflicted.

As well as being on the council’s planning committee yet also working for a PR firm that specialises in delivering deals for property developers, now the Conservative councillor is sidling up to communist China.

Guido Fawkes, one of the country’s leading political bloggers, has laid in to her colleague at the Young Tories Conservative Future, Ben Howlett, for being as wet as a towel in a washing machine on rinse cycle after embarking on an EU-inspired “yoof” liaison with the Chinese embassy in London. Apparently, it is the altogether meaningless “EU-China Year of Youth”.

The reception was at the Chinese embassy on Friday, where they had a “topical debate on resolving climate change.”

And there in the picture alongside Howlett (third left), bang in the middle of the Red Flag, is the Conservative youth wing’s deputy chairman, Croydon’s own Clare Hilley, grinning away as usual.

Fawkes, who’s been known to light the blue touchpaper under political figures in the past, writes of Howlett and his happy band of mates: “Did this wannabee MP ask awkward questions about China’s record on human rights? Or criticise how they deal with dissent? Or more topically, did he raise the issue of the artist Ai Wei Wei being detained? Even the Tory-boys’ hero Boris writes this morning ‘Just because China is a superpower doesn’t mean we should be afraid of criticising it’.”

Of course, Hilley may well have asked all those questions. But we doubt it, especially as she makes no mention of any of the human rights issues in her own blog. But the rice wine was probably very nice, and everyone undoubtedly had a fabulous time, and that, surely, was the most important thing?

The comments section on Fawkes’s blog is even more vituperative about Howlett and his mates. While Hilley and Howlett may see themselves as the Tories’ “Next Generation”, after Cameron and Osborne, there are several who are already portraying them as “The Lost Generation”.

This is, of course, only the latest political indiscretion from Hilley, the paid-up member of the Maggie Thatcher Fan Club who last year told colleagues in the lobby at Croydon Town Hall, “Don’t you just hate the coalition?”

And to think that Hilley is leading moves to set up a branch of the Young Conservatives Conservative Future in Croydon.

  • Is there anyone who can read Chinese script who can translate the message on the flag behind Hilley and her mates? Of course, it is probably just a straight translation of “EU-China Year of Youth”. But just in case… do let us know.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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