Candidate accuses Tories of running dirty tricks campaign

A candidate for next year’s local elections has accused the Conservatives who control Croydon Council of embarking on a dirty tricks campaign against him – just weeks since his selection and with polling day still 10 months away.

Andrew Pelling: subject to abuse from Conservatives since selection by Labour

Andrew Pelling: subject to abuse from Conservatives since selection by Labour in Waddon

Andrew Pelling is a former senior Tory member on the council and was Conservative MP for Croydon Central from 2005, but stood for re-election at the 2010 General Election as an independent, unsuccessfully, and later joined the Labour party. Last month, he was selected by Labour members in Waddon as one of their three candidates for a ward which promises to be pivotal in determining the outcome of the 2014 Town Hall elections.

Pelling is a also regular contributor to Inside Croydon.

But since his selection, Pelling says, he has been subject to a “tirade of personal insults from a Conservative councillor on Twitter”, and last week he was even the subject of an official council question, which Pelling says represents an abuse of public resources for political point-scoring by the Tory councillor who put the question to his group leader, Mike Fisher.

“It was hardly the best use of time for a lazy council that’s not meeting again for another 121 days,” Pelling said.

Pelling has also discovered that a letter published in a local newspaper, claiming to be from a Labour supporter opposed to his selection, appears to be from a made-up name; the letter writer is not listed on the electoral roll, and the newspaper failed to check that the letter writer existed before publication.

“I am coming to the conclusion that some local Conservative party activists are not pleased that I am a prospective candidate in next year’s local council elections,” Pelling said. The leader of Pelling’s new group on Croydon Council, Tony Newman, has described the former MP’s selection as putting “the fear of God into Councillor Fisher’s administration”.

Pelling suggests he is quite happy for the additional publicity afforded to him by the local Tories. “They seem determined to do their utmost to draw attention to my candidacy,” he said.

But he says that the insults and bogus letter writers are symptomatic of a malaise within local politics in Croydon. “This is all typical of the immature bear pit of pointless back biting that Croydon local politics has become, and which turns off the voters,” Pelling said.

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6 Responses to Candidate accuses Tories of running dirty tricks campaign

  1. Danny Stanzl says:

    Having seen what he looks like this weekend, that picture’s a bit generous!

  2. kusumparashar says:

    First of all I would like to congratulate Andrew Pelling on his selection as a Prospective Councillor Candidate in Croydon., Waddon Ward. Any publicity is better than no publicity. So don’t let Tories get to you. Fight back and you’ll
    win and succeed. Kusum Parashar

  3. It’s hardly surprising. Politicians of all shades reserve a special contempt for those that cross the floor to their opponents…

  4. mraemiller says:

    “Pelling has also discovered that a letter published in a local newspaper, claiming to be from a Labour supporter opposed to his selection, appears to be from a made-up name”

    Hum… not exactly the plot against Harold Wilson, is it?

    • It possibly demonstrates a couple of things:
      1, those opposed to Pelling don’t have the courage to put their own name to their letters. This may be because of several reasons, including legal; and
      2, the local newspapers are not carrying out even the most basic of checks before publishing any old shit on their letters pages.

      Of course, on the latter point, Inside Croydon has checked that AE Miller is not a figment of some fetid imagination, though that has not stopped us from publishing much of the old shit that he sends in as comments.

      • mraemiller says:

        A letter from an ordinary voter that contains such specific detail is contrived? I’m shocked. The fact the letter is not from an ordinary voter is clearly betrayed by the turns of phrase and the fantastic level of exposition crammed into so few lines.

        I thought it was an editorial joke like many of the correspondents to the Viz letters page …

        As to its point about Pelling switching sides once elected. Well he did wait for his term to end before switching sides before. Which is not the same as switching sides in office. It’s note that Pelling had changed sides twice in 2 years reminded me of Churchill’s quote about anyone can rat but to re-rat takes ingenuity.

        I asked my brother what he thought and he said something along the lines of “someone like Pelling their whole life’s been politics you cant expect him to just stop and do nothing because the Conservatives dont want him”

        It’s more acceptable to change sides if your old side doesnt want you.
        Mind you if the Conservatives really want him back maybe we can do a deal…?

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