Tom Brake, the only London LibDem MP to retain his seat at the last General Election following five years as a Tory enabler in the coalition, is to have an extra challenge in his Carshalton and Wallington constituency on June 8 – from a former Sutton Liberal Democrat councillor who wants to make the Beddington Lane incinerator the burning issue on polling day.Nick Mattey, who continues to represent Beddington North ward as an independent on Sutton Council, has decided to stand at this year’s General Election to force Brake into debating his record on the environment and other local issues, in the midst of what has become known as #SuttonBinShame.
Veolia, the refuse contractors whose rubbish service has been a long-running irritation for Croydon residents, took over the bins contract in Sutton on April 1. It was an appropriately chosen date, and the chaos since has put mounting pressure on the FibDem-run council.
Sutton’s switch to Veolia was a cost-cutting decision made through the South London Waste Partnership, to provide similar services across all four member councils, including Croydon. SLWP is the same barely accountable public-funded quango which is inflicting Viridor’s £1billion Beddington Lane waste incinerator on the public of south London.
The incinerator is in the heart of Mattey’s ward, and it was the councillor’s whistle-blowing about the costly scheme and the environmental damage it will cause for decades which saw Sutton FibDems move to gag him, then expel him from the party.
Mattey has been consistently opposed to the burning of millions of tons of rubbish in the middle of a densely populated London residential area.
It was Mattey who discovered that Viridor was making a £275,000 “charity donation” for a church hall in Brake’s constituency which is often used for LibDem political meetings. And Mattey has also been vociferous about the handling of a £1million council property in Carshalton which has been handed over to EcoLocal, a charity of which Brake is a trustee.
Carshalton and Wallington is the seventh most marginal seat in London, a FibDem-Conservative battleground which Brake retained in 2015 by just 1,510 from the Tory heir presumptive to a baronetcy (yeah, soooo 21st Century), Matthew Joseph Constable Maxwell-Scott. Inside Croydon understands that Maxwell-Scott (as he is known for short) has not yet been re-selected by Sutton Conservatives. This may have had something to do with there not being enough space on the ballot paper… The selection meeting is on Monday.
Where the firmly pro-Europe Brake could really come a cropper on June 8 is from his constituents’ liking for Brexit: 56.3 per cent were at odds with their MP last year and voted to leave the EU at the referendum.
Sutton’s 44 FibDem councillors are already under strict orders from the council leader, Ruth Dombey, to provide a Council Tax-payer subsidised leaflet delivery service in Carshalton and Wallington and the borough’s other parliamentary constituency, Sutton and Cheam, which in 2015 was won by the Tory, Paul Scully.
With Labour struggling to find a candidate willing to contest Carshalton and Wallington, where they were a long way back in third in 2015, and the Greens unlikely to decide who will stand for them in the Sutton constituencies until after the May Day bank holiday, it is left to Mattey to make the early running in the contest.“I want to take Brake to task on the way he and his fellow environmental buffoons have made residents suffer,” Mattey said today.
“He might want to talk about Brussels. I want to talk about Beddington.
“I am standing up for marginalised communities. I know that air quality and pollution is going to be a key issue. Tom Brake and the Sutton LibDems did nothing to stop the Viridor incinerator. Worse than that, they lied about its environmental impact.
“I am fighting to have an independent enquiry into how the Viridor charity was used to buy influence. I want to stop Sutton’s incinerator polluting the area for more than its 25 year life.
“My job is to make politicians of all persuasions and Sutton Council understand that if they try and drag this area down, they will not succeed.”
From the archive:
- Tom Brake link to £275,000 church donation from incinerator company
- Secretive incinerator scheme is a bad deal, say Sutton Tories
- Sutton official tried to influence vote at incinerator meeting
- Infant death rates on the rise where incinerators operate
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