Labour’s campaign to win back control of Croydon Council has encountered legal complications and a touch of scandal this week, with a challenge over selection being taken to a judge, threats of deselection of other candidates, and a party official pleading guilty in court to charges relating to his videoing men urinating in the toilets of the Centrale shopping centre.
David Christison was before Croydon Magistrates on Thursday charged with two counts of observing a person doing a private act. It was reported in court that he had done this for sexual gratification 30 times in two years, which was discovered after Christison had been arrested by police in April last year.
Christison is the ward secretary for Labour in West Thornton, where Emily Benn, the grand daughter of former Labour minister Tony Benn, is standing for election.
In 2010, Christison was one of the candidates in the local elections in Waddon, and he put his name to a challenge to the result when many constituents were unable to vote because of queuing and delays at under-staffed polling stations.
Christison did not make it on to Labour’s list of approved candidates for the 2014 local elections.
The Labour party is expected to make a decision on Christison’s role in West Thornton over the weekend.
Tony Newman, the Labour group leader on Croydon Council, failed to return calls to Inside Croydon.
Newman may well be pre-occupied with the threat of legal action over Labour’s selection process of candidates for May’s local elections.
Labour’s candidates in Bensham Manor will be Alison Butler, the group’s deputy leader, Humayun Kabir, who is presently councillor for West Thornton, and Jamie Audsley.
Rajendran has since challenged his exclusion, starting a court case against Croydon Labour official Allison Howe and the London Labour Party that seeks to have all candidate selections re-run. But according to a briefing note seen by Inside Croydon, “He has been advised by the judge that this will not be awarded by the court and he should consult a solicitor to ask what he could reasonably seek.”
But a candidates’ contract, which has been circulated to all those who have been selected to stand for Labour in May, could create further issues since some have refused to sign the document and are being threatened with summary deselection.
The contract makes a series of demands of prospective candidates, requiring them to spend set amounts of time canvassing in key wards in addition to any campaigning they be doing in their own wards.
“This risks damaging Labour’s campaign badly,” a source familiar with the situation said today. A significant part of the problem is that the Labour group, which conducted most of its ward selections during 2013, has only recently finalised its document for its candidates.
“The contract is not a very robust legal document, it was presented to people after they agreed to stand as candidates, and it fails on multiple issues under existing unfair contracts legislation,” our source said. “Above all else, it makes demands which are simply impractical for some candidates who have full-time jobs.
“If Labour carries through its threat to deselect anyone who refuses to sign the document, the publicity alone will undermine their campaign, possibly at a vital time in the build-up to the elections.”
Coming to Croydon
- Coulsdon and Purley Debating Society, Mar 3
- Patchwork and quilting workshop, Upper Norwood Library, Mar 3
- Fairtrade stall at Food Market, Haynes Lane, Mar 8
- Upper Norwood Library Book Club, Mar 15
- Norwood Society talk, Upper Norwood Library, Mar 20
- South Norwood Lakes Playground group workshop, Mar 25
- David Lean Cinema: Basically Johnny Moped, Mar 27-28
- Croydon Half-marathon, Mar 30
- David Lean Cinema: 12 Years a Slave, Apr 3
- David Lean Cinema: The Great Beauty, Apr 10
- David Lean Cinema: Inside Llewyn Davis, Apr 17
- David Lean Cinema: Short Term, Apr 24
- Crystal Palace Overground Festival, June 26-29
Inside Croydon: Croydon’s only independent news source, based in the heart of the borough: 516,649 page views (Jan-Dec 2013)
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