Massive embarrassment for Croydon’s Conservatives – another one following #WadGate – as one of their Coulsdon councillors had to be told that one of his own local Tory party members is not only on the membership list for their political rivals UKIP, but has also been actively campaigning on behalf of Nigel Farage’s party.
The revelation came at the weekend, when Peter Staveley, UKIP’s parliamentary candidate for Croydon Central, sought to distance himself – not for the first time – from comments attributed to his UKIP counterpart for Croydon North, Winston “the Chump from the Dump” McKenzie.
McKenzie, or whoever it is who manages his Twitter account for him, had opposed proposals for 20mph speed limits in the borough’s residential streets, and in doing so chose to blame two victims of road accidents in Coulsdon for their tragic fates. This comment was then repeated by a host of UKIP-tagged trolling accounts for wards in Croydon and Lambeth.
“Obviously I disown everything that @WinstonMcK (ie Peter Morgan) has said, certainly on 20mph,” Staveley responded on social media.
This remark was seen by Mario Creatura, the thrusting new Tory councillor for Coulsdon West. “Peter Morgan from Coulsdon? Is he a member of yours?” the gobby fac totum asked.
Staveley responded by saying that Morgan – who has been well-known throughout Croydon for many years for his role in the successful campaign against the last Tory council’s parking proposals – was indeed a UKIP member.
“He’s also a Conservative member,” Creatura stated publicly on Twitter (which may have been a breach of confidentiality over revealing party members’ affiliations without their consent). “Against rules for anyone to be in more than one,” said Creatura, who holds down a state-funded full-time job as the social media fag for MP Gavin Barwell.
Whoops! The shortage of members and campaigners in Croydon Tories has been known for some time, and was reflected in their lack of manpower when it came to canvassing for the local elections earlier this year. But signing up people who are also UKIP members may be something of a first, even by Croydon Tories’ standards of incompetence.
“I’ve always thought it is a healthy thing to be a member of more than one political party,” former Tory MP, now Labour councillor, Andrew Pelling, told Inside Croydon with intended irony. “But rather like Winston Churchill, I’ve always believed its best to be a member of only one party at a time.”
According to Staveley, Morgan is persona non grata in UKIP’s Croydon Central and South branch, having been banned from meetings two years ago for being disruptive while also refusing to campaign openly for the party. His parallel membership of the Conservatives may have made that a little awkward.
Morgan is also an active member of CCC, the so-called “Croydon Communities Consortium”, which received a £5,000 council grant from the former Tory administration on the strict proviso that it is apolitical. Morgan was the organiser of several election hustings events across the borough ahead of May’s local elections, some of which he chaired, some of which were chaired by a colleague from CCC. At none of which did Morgan declare any political affiliation. Or affiliations.
The council’s Labour administration may want to take a close look at CCC’s apolitical membership – Staveley is openly on the committee – and reconsider whether its activities warrant the spending of any public money.
This is not just a recent gaffe by the Tories. Morgan has been a member of UKIP for 10 years.
UKIP’s rules differ from the major political parties in that they allow membership of other parties, although members of other parties cannot be candidates or hold office within UKIP.
According to Staveley, Morgan has busied himself by running a string of faceless and barely coherent UKIP-tagged Twitter troll accounts, seemingly in support of another gadfly of local politics, McKenzie.
The spat on Twitter over the 20mph policy was the latest sign of the deep rift in UKIP in Croydon: Staveley is clearly frustrated that his efforts to have his party taken seriously are constantly undermined by McKenzie’s half-baked stunts, such as May’s “Croydon Carnival”, and by Morgan’s social media rants.
Creatura is understood to have taken up Morgan’s secret political double life with the local Tory party’s agent. Can an expulsion be far off?
But with the Conservative party nationally troubled by hundreds of desertions and facing a parliamentary by-election next month when a former Tory MP, Douglas Carswell, is likely to be elected to Westminster on behalf of UKIP, the fact that in Croydon they are unaware that they have paid-up Farage supporters in their midst at their meetings and on their mailing lists must be hugely embarrassing.
- Further to our report earlier this month of “Chump” McKenzie’s threat to take legal action against this website, our loyal reader should note that their generous 20p donation to our fighting fund has not yet been spent. Not even towards a postage stamp. We have received no correspondence from any lawyers acting on behalf of McKenzie.
Coming to Croydon
- David Lean Cinema: Jimmy’s Hall, Sep 25
- Streatham Common 6M race, Sep 27
- Organ recital, St Michael’s church, Poplar Walk, Sep 27
- Fancy dress family funday, Sep 28
- Ukrainian choir concert, St John’s Shirley, Sep 29
- Tree Sides, Spread Eagle Theatre, Oct 2-4
- The Goon Show, Spread Eagle Theatre, Oct 8-11
- Norwood Society Talk: From Fire Station to Theatre, Oct 16
- Cinema Ruskin film show, Oct 18
- South Croydon business breakfast, Oct 18
- Croydon 10km road race, Oct 19
- This Was The World and I Was King, Spread Eagle, Oct 23-25
- CODA’s Wind In The Willows, Charles Cryer, Carshalton, Oct 29-Nov 1
- Albert Einstein – Relativity Speaking, Spread Eagle, Nov 12-15
- South Croydon business breakfast, Nov 15
- Norwood Society Talk: Lambeth’s Archives, Nov 20
- Choose Your Own Documentary, Spread Eagle Theatre, Nov 21-22
- The Last Sense of Sudden, Spread Eagle Theatre, Nov 27-29
- Ghost Stories for Christmas, Spread Eagle Theatre, Dec 3
- Fog Horn Funnies, Spread Eagle Theatre, Dec 6
- South Croydon business breakfast, Dec 13
- South Croydon business breakfast, Jan 24
Inside Croydon: Croydon’s only independent news source, based in the heart of the borough: 407,847 page views (Jan-Jun 2014) If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, a residents’ or business association or local event, please email us with full details at firstname.lastname@example.org