Twitter exposes O’Connell’s priorities over £1bn incinerator

Public servant: but where was Steve O'Connell when it came to the Croydon vote?

Earlier this week, Inside Croydon posed the question: where was Britain’s most overpaid local councillor, Steve O’Connell, when he absented himself from the crucial Croydon Town Hall vote on the waste incinerator?

Only 10, handpicked councillors from the Conservative group that controls Croydon Council were given access to the documents regarding the  preferred bidder, and the right to vote on the issue, while the other 60 councillors and the local newspapers were served with legal threats should they act in the interests of openness and democracy by revealing anything to do with this secret meeting determining £1 billion of public money.

Yet O’Connell, Kenley‘s £115,000 per year man, was not there.

What was the vitally important business that could possibly be keeping him away?

The answer was to be found on Twitter. O’Connell was “busy” claiming his tickets for the forthcoming League Cup quarter-final at Old Trafford between Manchester United and Crystal Palace: “Picked up my Man Utd away Carling Cup ticket. A night in Manchester beckons. A win and a curry afterwards. Perfect” said our man on the six-figure publicly funded gravy train with the common touch.

Of course, O’Connell, who is fighting for re-election as the Sutton and Croydon member to the Greater London Assembly next May, is in a horribly conflicted position.

As he tries to forge ever closer links to Sutton Conservatives, with an eye on the soon-to-be-vacant southernmost parliamentary seat to be shared across the borough boundaries, he needs to give the appearance of continuing to serve the interests of his Croydon ward, Kenley.

Yet Sutton Tories oppose the building of this potentially deadly waste plant at Beddington, while Steve’s Tory mates in Croydon warmly embrace the spewing out of carcinogens and other health-threatening particulates over northern Croydon. Solution? Go and hide in a queue at Selhurst Park. That’s well worth £115,000-plus of public service money, don’t you think?

Perhaps the people of Kenley, who fought so hard to prevent the unsuitable development of a large private hospital on their doorstep on Higher Drive, will support their neightbours in the north of the borough from having a similarly unsuitable development in their back yard?

This, of course, was a local Twitter politics story which the newshounds at the Croydon Sadvertiser missed. Can’t think why…

  • HT to Inside Croydon‘s regular readers for help with this story. Yes, we’re up to two now.
  • Inside Croydon: brought to you free of charge, an independent voice standing for freedom of speech for the people of Croydon

About insidecroydon

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
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