Newman calls on his justice cabinet deputy to quit council

Croydon could soon be facing a second council by-election, after the ruling Labour group today withdrew the party whip from Matthew Kyeremeh and urged him to stand down as a councillor for Thornton Heath following a very messy divorce case and critical statement issued by the presiding judge.

Matthew Kyeremeh: speaking to his lawyers

Matthew Kyeremeh: speaking to his lawyers

According to a Redhill-based newspaper, council leader Tony Newman said of his now suspended Labour Party colleague, “I hope he resigns sooner rather than later.”

Newman might be seen as speaking somewhat prejudicially, as Kyeremeh is considering an appeal against the judgement and possible complaint over the conduct of the court.

Family court proceedings usually remain private, but Croydon District Judge Coonan was extremely critical of Kyeremah, saying that he had “fraudulently” hidden assets from his mentally ill wife, leaving her destitute and forced to sleep rough in a local park.

The judge decided to publish the judgement due to Kyeremeh’s role as the council’s deputy cabinet member for communities, safety and justice.

Croydon already has one council by-election on its hands, likely to be on May 5 alongside the London Mayoral elections, following the resignation of The Hon Emily Benn as a councillor for West Thornton ward. The local Labour Party received around a dozen applications for selection as the candidate in that safe ward.

Now Newman appears in a terrific hurry to create a second vacancy.

But it is not as if Croydon Labour’s leadership did not have plenty of notice. Kyeremeh’s case had been on-going since 2013.

Newman and his colleagues had been aware of issues around Kyeremeh for some time, going back to before selections of candidates were made for the last local elections in 2014. Kyeremeh’s absences from council meetings were, at that time, explained away as being due to family or church matters in West Africa.

Council leader Tony Newman: didn't see this coming

Council leader Tony Newman: didn’t see this coming

Newman opted not to act then, and he seemed relaxed enough about the prospect of the Kyeremeh court case that he chose to appoint the Thornton Heath councillor to key positions within the council, including chair of the audit committee and as cabinet deputy on communities, safety and justice to Mark Watson.

The case was concluded in July last year, the judgement published on Monday.

Newman is understood to have spoken by phone to Kyeremeh on Tuesday, when he urged him to resign as a councillor.

“That would be the right thing to do given this damning judgment,” Newman told asmall circulation newspaper, the local politician describing himself as “shocked and disgusted”.

“I do not think it would be appropriate for him to remain as an elected councillor,” said the man who in the past two years had appointed Kyeremeh to senior roles within his own administration.

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This entry was posted in 2016 London elections, Emily Benn, Matthew Kyeremeh, Thornton Heath, Tony Newman, West Thornton and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Newman calls on his justice cabinet deputy to quit council

  1. I think the view of the Judge to make his judgement public was right and justifiable in view of the person Pubic Office he holds and the fact it’s falls within the interest of the Public right to know. Do not feel the Judge made this decision likely and he would have taken considerable advice from his Office first. The Councillor may well wish to appeal but I take the view he should resign and conduct his legal appeal as a Public person and not why in a Public Office. If at the end of the day he proven to be unjusticely treated than he can continue with his political profession but only if allegations are totally unfounded and proven to be so which at present the Courts feel different about.

    • Couple of points, Sarah-Jane.
      1, The judge is a “she”, not a he as you seem to assume.
      2, While the judge’s concerns are understandable, we’re supposed to all be equal under the law. Judges are not supposed to be able to pick and choose who gets special treatment.

      But all the reservations about the councillor’s court case were known to the Labour leadership at least in 2013. The councillor might have stepped aside to focus on his court case then, but did not. Indeed, the leadership promoted him to the cabinet position while the court case continued.

      • Well blow me down for not being so PC over sex of a Judge and it’s very much irrelevant as to sex of theJudge. In fact UK always refers to “he” “his” but that does not mean law is only related to Males. As much as I agree “we are all supposed to be equal under the law” the sad fact we are not. The only Courts in UK who hold case in secret and not disclose details are the Courts of Protection and I understand this did not apply to this said case and therefore was not giving special treatment he opps (sorry) she gave her judgement in open Court so the very reporting of Judges comments in open Court is down to the very media who reported the Judges findings and comments just like she (got that right) would in any other case before her relating to joe public.

        As you say the Labour party Leadership even promoted the Councillor since matters were brought to light in 2013 than just may be some others should also resign. Had this been an MP in Government Office than the moment media got the story the MP would resign and the Voters get the chance to decide at any election if to keep or bin. I also think people are forgetting one very important point the said named person wife who was left living on the streets with nothing and was an extremely vulnerable person with mental health illness. That is what I care about. Sorry if my reply not to everyone liking but freedom of speech is a great thing we have in the UK, for now.

        • It is not a matter of “political correctness” to correct your inaccuracy. It is a matter of factual correctness, and since we mentioned the judge’s gender in our report, your failing to realise this suggests that either you have not read the article, or you have failed to understand it.

          There is a thing called due process, and you – and maybe the judge, too – have shown some disregard for this. Family court proceedings are not normally conducted as if it is Court 2 at the Old Bailey. It is not for a judge to unilaterally change those procedures just because of one of those over whom they are presiding happens to have a particular job.

          The fact remains, these were divorce proceedings. It was not a criminal case.

          And the matter is now subject to an appeal.

          The findings of the judge relate to a prolonged period, going back more than a decade. Throughout all of this, the local Labour leadership was unaware that one of their candidates for the council conducted his personal affairs in this manner. And only now are they demanding a resignation.

          • You mentioned yourself Labour was where of this case back in “2013′ and we are now in 2016 where you yourself reported recent Judge statement so why as it taken so long for Labour to act? The judge gave a full and proper statement legally under English law (be Family Courts or Criminal Courts) she was in her right to do so. The person can now appeal and give reason for the appeal as to any statement made by the Judge. But question is why Labour taken from 2013 to act in relation to one of their boys club boys surely his alleged actions while in Conduct of a public office is a public interest case & public right to know. His membership with Labour Party should of been suspended pending full outcome of the Family Court. As for an Appeal he must submit grounds for an Application to Appeal which can be refused and would not go before a Full upper Court of Appeal should a single Judge find no reasoable ground in law to question Juges comments & action and two the evidence in the family out was sound based on evidence and witness statement. Finally, the fact I committed an outrageous political incorrect ‘Crime’ of gender of the Judge does not mean I did not read Inside Croydon publication. As I did read it.

          • Ahhh. If only anyone could understand any of that

  2. davidjl2014 says:

    If this awful Council don’t get their act together soon, they’ll be a lot more people other than Councillor Kyeremeh’s poor wife sleeping rough in Public Parks. They’ve actually only managed to build 13 Council Houses since coming into office. They have thousands on waiting lists and hundreds living in hotels at the taxpayers expense. When will they get it into their stupid brains, it’s social housing needed in Croydon not brand new £300,000+ flats.
    Councillor Kyeremeh obviously has no shame, he’s continued to remain on the Council, and presumably drawn his salary for the last 2 years, with all this hanging over his head. I bet throughout it all he’s slept like a log…… certainly not on one!

  3. derekthrower says:

    As I said before. Do the local politicians of Croydon ever learn? Wonder what the excuse of Newman is this time not to have acted with decisiveness in 2013. Just the sort of thing to chip away at the moral reputation of a party in power. In this case they deserve it.

  4. If Newman spent more time focusing on his own team and actually doing something for the benefit of Croydon rather spouting sound bites, appearing only when there is a photo opportunity, taking out loans, and saying “it was the Tories fault” he might have a chance of getting re-elected. But a leopard can’t change its spots.

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