Steve Reed OBE, the Progress MP for Croydon North/Lambeth South (delete to taste) looks set to get his fourth constituency party chair in the space of 18 months at a meeting being held tonight.
Local party insiders tip Clive Fraser, a long-time activist and former councillor, to be elected without opposition, following the resignation of Ann O’Connor.
Cummings herself had had only been elected as Croydon North CLP chair in June 2015 when differences emerged within the local Labour party between the large majority of ordinary party members who supported Jeremy Corbyn for the leadership, and the rump of Blairites, who include Reed, council leader Tony Newman and members of his Town Hall clique.
Fraser has worked as a local government worker in Lambeth, the borough where Reed was leader of the so-called “Co-operative Council” (ie. Labour-lite) until his election to a job for life as MP for the safe Labour seat of Croydon North in 2012.
Fraser is regarded as a party loyalist and a safe pair of hands who should be able to handle the CLP administration in the run-up to next year’s local elections and beyond. A former chair of the London Co-Operative Party (not to be confused with Reed’s notion of “co-operative”), Fraser was a councillor for his home ward of South Norwood from 1994 to 2002, when he was Labour’s front bench council spokesman on economic issues.
He stood in the local elections in 2014 in Fairfield ward (in the Croydon Central constituency), where he polled a respectable 1,408 votes, the second-most of the Labour candidates, but despite halving their majority from 2010, was unable to unseat the Tories.
Fraser’s co-candidates for Labour in that ward in 2014 were Cummings and David Wood, who has since been elected as a councillor in the safe Croydon North Labour ward of Selhurst.
Being chair of the CLP may have an advantage, too, as it should put Fraser in the box seat for selection when it comes to identifying any vacancies which arise in safe Labour wards in the constituency, once the new boundaries are set by the Local Government Boundary Commission.
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