It looks like Winston McKenzie may get to stand in an election on May 5 after all. But the “Chump from the Dump”, who was ruled out of being a candidate for the London Mayoralty because he couldn’t manage to get the form-filling right, will instead be contesting the far more mundane local council by-election in Croydon’s West Thornton ward.
The by-election is to be held on May 5, the same day as the London Mayoral and Assembly elections, after The Hon Emily Benn resigned as the Labour councillor for the Croydon North ward in order to pursue her ambitions as a merchant banker.
Labour has selected former senior civil servant and community activist Callton Young as its candidate for the safe seat. At the 2014 local elections, The Hon Emily and two other Labour candidates averaged 2,350 votes each; the fourth best candidate, a Conservative, scraped together the grand total of just 684 votes.
But it is impossible to say with any certainty who Young will be standing against because, by 4pm today – 24 hours after the closure of candidate submissions – Croydon Council had failed to publish the list of candidates. It is as if the deputy returning officer, who gets a tidy little five-figure bonus on top of his £180,000 annual salary as the council CEO for his duties in running our elections, is too busy planning his own leaving party.
Inside Croydon‘s loyal reader, however, has helped us to do something which Croydon Council’s press office (annual budget: £600,000) has so far failed to do: inform the electorate.
It is understood, though not confirmed, that the sacrificial Tory is to be an activist called Scott Roche, who has no “previous” as a local election candidate, and seems to be a little coy. He has not responded to our enquiry seeking to confirm his candidacy. But then, neither have Croydon’s Tories bothered to announce their candidate’s identity.
The LibDems, if they can find a member in Croydon North, might be fielding a candidate.
Meanwhile McKenzie, the serial election loser who has been in more parties than Prince Harry, could be splitting the far-right vote, as he will be standing for the English Democrats for the first time in West Thornton and will be up against two of his former Croydon UKIP party colleagues – Ace Nnorom, who is standing for Nigel Farage’s party, and Peter Morgan, who having been kicked out of both UKIP and the Tory Party, is thought to be standing on an anti-EU platform.
Judging by the ward election result in May 2014, the three could find themselves fighting for the support of fewer than 200 voters between them.
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