Councillor Smith to contest Labour’s West Thornton short-list

Carnage at a Croydon Labour meeting in West Thornton ward this week, when no fewer than three sitting councillors who had put themselves forward for selection failed even to be short-listed by local party members.

Councillor Paul Smith: disappointed

Councillor Paul Smith: disappointed

The three councillors who did not make it on to the short-list for next week’s selection meeting included shadow cabinet member Paul Smith.

Also overlooked by the ward members who attended the meeting was another of their current councillors, Humayun Kabir (although he is up for selection in Bensham Manor ward at a meeting to be held tonight), and Councillor Karen Jewitt, who previously went unselected in her current ward, Woodside. Jewitt is seeking selection in Thornton Heath.

Bernadette Khan was the only current councillor from West Thornton who made it on to the short-list that is to be presented to a ward selection meeting next Tuesday.

Also on the five-strong short-list is Emily Benn, the grand-daughter of former Labour government minister Tony Benn; and Stuart King, a former prospective parliamentary candidate in Putney; plus Jamie Audsley, a teacher who has worked in New Addington.

Perhaps surprisingly also seeking selection in West Thornton, and short-listed is Gerry Ryan, the current Selhurst councillor who in 2010 was Labour’s parliamentary candidate in Croydon Central.

In the case of Smith, he intends to contest the decision of the short-listing meeting, which was attended by fewer than the minimum members required.

“I’ll be writing to members across the ward, encouraging them to attend the selection meeting on Tuesday,” Smith told Inside Croydon.

Smith has been a councillor in West Thornton since 2010, having previously represented Waddon from 2002 to 2006. Employed in the legal department of a national trades union, Smith’s input at the Town Hall as the Labour spokesman on policing matters has earned respect of his leadership.

“I hope that West Thornton members are unhappy that they have not been given the choice to vote for their councillor,” Smith said.

If enough members on Tuesday reject the short-list arrived at by the previous, inquorate meeting, then the process would start all over again.

“I regret that this has happened, but it seems to have come down to personalities. Unfortunately, those personalities haven’t had the gumption to contact me directly to air any problems that they might have or even to tell me what they have done.

“People have every right to choose the candidates that they think will serve West Thornton and Croydon best. I just hope that all members in the ward are given the proper opportunity to exercise that choice. In the meantime, I still have a job of work to do on behalf of the people of West Thornton and the borough.”

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2 Responses to Councillor Smith to contest Labour’s West Thornton short-list

  1. Can some one explain the selection process in Broadgreen please? Apparently only three made it to the short list.There should be at least 4 on the short list. Apparently the committee decided to let the current councillors to carry on though three members didn’t agree.. Also members should have joined before September 2012 to be eligible to vote.This date was selected to keep some Tamil members out (They joined in October). A councillor had pleaded with members to give him one more chance so that he could be mayor of Croydon. How selfish is that?

    • It is not true to say that for members to be allowed to vote they had to have joined the Labour party more than six months ago was a rule decided upon in Bensham Manor “to keep some Tamil members out”.

      The membership eligibility ruling is being applied in all wards across Croydon.

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