UKIP’s out-of-control members in Croydon, who are usually fronted by the notoriously incompetent Winston McKenzie, have struck again, causing widespread disgust by impatiently demanding a by-election in Selhurst ward following the death of widely admired Labour Councillor Gerry Ryan.
But such considerations have been ignored by Emmanuel Ehirim and Peter Morgan, both UKIP colleagues of McKenzie, and by Janet Stollery, who sits on the governing board for “Croydon Communities Consortium”, a self-appointed and self-important talking shop which in 2013 was given a £5,000 grant by Croydon Council.
The trio have formally submitted to the council’s elections department, calling for a by-election in Selhurst.
Their impatience has angered political figures from across Croydon, even including members of UKIP. “It’s disrespectful, a discourtesy to Councillor Ryan’s grieving family, and entirely unnecessary,” one Croydon-based UKIP official told Inside Croydon.
“What do they even think they will achieve? None of us want this, and we’ll get the blame now for the additional expense incurred by Croydon’s tax-payers, when the ward by-election could have been held on the day of the parliamentary General Election in May.”
Selhurst returned three Labour councillors at last May’s local elections: Timothy Godfrey, Toni Letts and Ryan – a Croydon councilor for 20 years – all of them winning more than 50per cent of the vote.
Meanwhile, the leading UKIP candidate at that election, Marianne Bowness, got the votes of just 504 people.
Sources in UKIP’s currently suspended Croydon North and Lambeth suggest that McKenzie, his party’s “Commonwealth spokesman”, but also known as the “Chump from the Dump”, wants to be nominated again. Despite having his party branch suspended while acting as its chairman, McKenzie remains the UKIP parliamentary candidate in Croydon North, where Steve Reed OBE is the Labour MP.
Reed was one of the first to condemn the trio who moved for the by-election, describing their actions as “very disrespectful”.
Any two residents of the borough may request the holding of a by-election in the event of a councillor’s death or resignation.
Of the three who made the impatient and disrespectful move, Ehirim is the only one to have stood for UKIP in last year’s local elections. He finished seventh in Thornton Heath ward, garnering a meagre 392 votes.
Morgan is well-known in Croydon for his successful parking campaigns, his opposition to 20mph zones in the borough, and for being a member of the Conservative Party as well as UKIP.
Croydon Tories were reviewing Morgan’s party membership late last year. The Conservatives’ rules forbid simultaneous membership of another political party, something Morgan is understood to have managed for several years.
No date has yet been set for the Selhurst by-election, but it will mean that all the political parties who decide to stand will need to select a candidate, including Labour.
Despite UKIP’s Croydon North and Lambeth branch being in turmoil and suspended by their party nationally, our sources suggest that they already have five people putting themselves forward to be their candidate.
On this occasion, McKenzie will have no role in the selection, which will be handled by UKIP’s London region.
The failed boxer, failed rapper and failed club owner, who has never yet managed to win a public ballot, might find that this time, he has no support from those making the UKIP selection. “Branch members want him out as chairman and removed as our parliamentary candidate,” one local member said. “They won’t support him in Selhurst. Instead, members want to Stop Winston.”
The UKIP activist added, “They are seeking an honest, decent and respectable candidate they can unite behind.” Something which would now seem impossible since two of their members called for the Selhurst by-election so impatiently and disrespectfully.
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