Peter Staveley, the UKIP parliamentary candidate in Croydon Central and the chairman of the only UKIP branch still regarded by their own party as competent to operate in the borough, has issued a furious email to his local colleagues over the actions of some of his party’s members who called prematurely for a ward by-election in Selhurst.
Staveley describes his UKIP colleagues’ move for the by-election as “embarrassing”, “very upsetting” and “very bad”. He said this in an email to all UKIP’s Croydon members in which he was forced to advise them of a selection meeting, to be held on Monday, and which he says, “has been arranged to ensure that democracy takes place even though it is not required”.
With the uniquely talented Winston McKenzie leading the way in political pratfalls and incompetence, UKIP in Croydon has demonstrated tremendous ability to undermine themselves. The latest example came in the past week when three Croydon UKIP members showed insensitivity in demanding a by-election in Selhurst ward before the funeral of Councillor Gerry Ryan.
In the email, which has been seen by Inside Croydon, Staveley’s fury could not hide his disbelief that UKIP members could be so crass. Oh well…
In his email, Staveley named two of the tactless trio, adding of the other, “The third person I cannot believe did that, so I will withhold the name until I am absolutely certain of the name.”
Staveley’s reluctance to name the third member of this tacky troika is probably because she is Janet Stollery, a colleague of Staveley’s on the committee of the council-funded talking shop, the supposedly apolitical “Croydon Communities Consortium”.
Until recently, Stollery – who was never entirely open about her membership of UKIP – was the supposedly “apolitical” CCC’s secretary. She remains on the CCC committee, where Staveley is vice-chair.
It does not take much reading between the lines of his email to work out that Staveley is seeing whatever slim hopes he might have had of challenging Tory MP Gavin Barwell in Croydon Central in May’s General Election being frittered away by his own party colleagues’ conduct.
Three Croydon voters, who are all UKIP members (albeit one who is suspended), have decided to embarrass the Party and ignore convention by calling the by-election in advance of Councillor Ryan’s funeral. I find this very upsetting and it is very bad that they have decided to do that, especially as none of them gave me any advance notice of their actions.
Since it is a public record I can tell you that two of those three voters were:
The third person I cannot believe did that so I will withhold the name until I am absolutely certain of the name.
However, the upshot of their actions is that we cannot give you the required 7 days notice of the hustings and they have left the successful candidate with only 3 days to collect their 10 signatures.
Anyway I can now announce that there will be a hustings to select the candidate for the by-election this Monday 2nd February at 8pm at the Khyber Restaurant, 284 High Street, Croydon CR0 1NG.
There has been a long-running and simmering split in UKIP in Croydon between the colourful “Chump from the Dump” McKenzie and the somewhat more staid Staveley. So much so that the local branch has been separated into two, with McKenzie leading the Lambeth and Croydon North branch, and Staveley chairing UKIP in the rest of Croydon.
UKIP members’ on-going disquiet over McKenzie has seen the branch suspended by the national party over allegations of financial mismanagement, with McKenzie forced to stand down as branch chairman. Somehow, McKenzie remains UKIP’s parliamentary candidate in Croydon North. He may yet seek selection as the council by-election candidate in Selhurst; the deadline for UKIP members to put themselves forward for selection is 5pm today.
Staveley’s email to members continued, including a warning that Peter Morgan, one of the tactless trio, would be barred from the meeting, since he remains suspended for being “a disruptive influence”:
The sole purpose of the meeting is to select the candidate for the Selhurst by-election, all members living in the London Borough of Croydon are invited and all members living in the London Borough of Croydon are entitled to vote. It is not a meeting of the Lambeth and Croydon North branch and, therefore, it would not be appropriate to discuss the issues regarding that former branch. However, I would hope that we could use the time to socialise between all members in Croydon. For the record any suspended UKIP members will not be permitted to attend the meeting and, therefore, cannot vote.
The deadline for candidates to express an interest remains 5pm on Saturday 31st January 2015… The candidates’ names will be announced at the meeting.
If any of the candidates are not able to attend the hustings then they may remain on the ballot paper but, obviously, they will not be able to answer questions. The format of the meeting will be announced at the meeting. Please remember that since there is no branch looking after that ward then, under the rules, the candidate selection reverts to the London Region Management Committee to decide. So this hustings has been arranged to ensure that democracy takes place even though it is not required. Therefore, I am not prepared to enter into any discussion about anything to do with this meeting prior to the hustings.
It’s all a bit of going-through-the-motions in any case: at last May’s local elections, Selhurst returned three Labour councillors, who polled more than 50 per cent of the vote.
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