The Croydon Labour party’s selection process for candidates to stand at next year’s Town Hall elections claimed its first casualty on Wednesday night, when Karen Jewitt, councillor for Woodside ward, failed to be selected.
Jewitt has been a Croydon councillor for nearly 20 years. She polled the highest number of votes in Woodside ward at the local council elections in 2002, 2006 and 2010 – even beating Tony Newman, the Croydon Labour group leader.
The meeting on Wednesday re-selected Newman and the other standing councillor in the ward, Paul Scott, but local members voted for Hamida Ali ahead of Jewitt.
Ali has been an active campaigner in the borough, but did not manage to win election to the council when she stood in Waddon in 2010.
Jewitt, who lives in South Norwood, has been particularly active around the South Norwood and Woodside Community Association, helping to run its Pop-in Lunch Club.
Jewitt did not respond to Inside Croydon’s requests for a comment; it has been suggested that she may spend the weekend considering whether to put herself forward for another ward in the borough.
The Conservatives have a 37-33 majority of councillors at the Town Hall, after Labour made seven gains in 2010. Labour will be targeting New Addington and Waddon as they seek to win back control of Croydon Council which they lost in 2006.
In Ashburton, another ward in the Croydon Central parliamentary constituency, Labour has selected Andrew Rendle, Stephen Mann and Maddie Henson.
In 2014, they will be campaigning to unseat Conservative councillors Adam Kellett and Eddy Arram, who last year earned such widespread disdain during his term as Mayor of Croydon that he even attracted boos and cat-calls from members of his own party.
The third Tory councillor in Ashburton, Avril Slipper, is believed to be standing down at the next election.
On Slipper’s profile page on the council website, under the heading “Positions / Chairmanships held / Memberships of outside bodies”, there is a blank space.
Other Tory councillors understood to be retiring at the next election include former “top cop” David Osland and veteran Graham Bass, opening up a couple of safe seats in Coulsdon West and Purley.
Earning the title of “first rat to desert the sinking ship” when Inside Croydon first reported his plans six months ago is cabinet member Phil “Two Permits” Thomas, who is to move abroad, leaving a safe slot for an eager tyro Tory at Selsdon and Ballards. Step forward Barwell’s unctuous office help, Mario Creatura?
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