Tirena Gunter, a seemingly permanent paper candidate for the Tories in the north of the borough, will have her name on ballot papers again next month, as the Conservative candidate in the Selhurst ward by-election.
The selection, which took place last night, is clearly not reckoned to be that important in Tory circles. There’s no report of the matter on the website of the Croydon Conservatives, where the leading news item is a note from a Sanderstead councillor about her night out at the Fairfield Halls.
This will be the fourth (or is it fifth?) time that Gunter’s name has gone forward as a Conservative candidate in local elections. She has never yet been selected for what might be regarded as a winnable Tory ward.
In the unlikely event that Gunter were to win the by-election in Selhurst on March 5, she would be the only Afro-Caribbean Conservative councillor in the whole of Croydon.
Gunter stood in her home ward of Norbury at the Town Hall elections last May, where she polled 1,045 votes, 25 per cent of the vote, making her the leading Conservative candidate (albeit where one of her colleagues happened to be a teenaged school pupil). That still left her with less than half of the number votes for each of the three elected Labour candidates.
There could be a similar narrative in the Selhurst by-election, where Labour’s three candidates last May all polled more than 50 per cent of the vote. Gunter’s Labour rival on March 5 will be David Wood.
The by-election has been called following the death in January of long-standing councillor, Gerry Ryan. Three local UKIP members courted controversy, and widespread condemnation, when they called for the by-election before the councillor’s funeral.
By being held separately – rather than waiting until May’s General Election – the by-election could end up costing Croydon Council Tax-payers up to £20,000 for what all parties privately admit is a political foregone conclusion.
UKIP conducted their selection meeting on Monday, but have yet to reveal who their dynamic, go-getting candidate might be. It is understood that the LibDems may still be trying to find a member in Croydon North.
Tomorrow is the deadline for submission of candidates.
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