A lapse in judgement means that Jamie Audsley will be about £10,000 out of pocket next year, as the Bensham Manor ward councillor has been sacked from Labour leader Tony Newman’s cabinet team.
Or, as Tony Soprano once said, “There’s an old Italian saying: you fuck up once, you lose two teeth.”
In March, Audsley was suspended from the Labour group that controls Croydon Council for an unspecified offence, though he was swiftly reinstated when it was discovered that party officials had “fucked up once”, by failing to follow their own rulebook properly over the suspension. No one is thought to have lost any teeth over that lapse, however.
First elected to the council in 2014, the bright-eyed, community-led approach of Audsley quickly won him favour with the Blairites within Croydon Labour and eventually he was made deputy cabinet member for the key portfolio of economy and jobs, where one of Newman’s controlling Gang of Four, Mark Watson, is the cabinet member.
But last night, Newman named his front-bench team and his subs for the final 12 months of this council before the next local elections, and Audsley was busted back to the back benches, for which he will receive the basic £11,239 councillor’s “allowance”.
No official explanation has ever been offered by Croydon Labour for Audsley’s (albeit brief) suspension, Audsley himself is saying nuttin’, and Inside Croydon‘s usually reliable and talkative sources have recently been most reticent on the topic.
Or, as Tony Soprano once said, “Those who want respect, give respect.”
Audsley’s conduct is known to be subject to a party investigation, which has yet to report any findings. He is expected to be exonerated.
One possible explanation offered for Audsley’s rapid demotion is that, when attending a recent “How to become a councillor” training session for party members, the eager politico may have suggested to one attendee that they apply to be a candidate in… Woodside.
Woodside just happens to be the ward supposedly represented by Tony Soprano himself, Newman, and another Gang of Four member, Paul Scott.
Whatever the explanation, Audsley’s council career has suffered a massive set-back after incurring the wrath of his group leader.
“A wrong decision is better than indecision,” as Tony Soprano once said.
Among the other decisions Tony Newman revealed last night, there are to be no changes at all to his front bench team, presumably because they have all been doing such cracking jobs.
Audsley is replaced as economy deputy by Humayun Kabir, who is moved from his previous post as deputy to Alison Butler on homes and regeneration.
That vacancy is filled by Wayne Trakas-Lawlor, who later this month hands back the council’s (Bada) bling after two years wearing mayoral chains of office.
Another recent Mayor of Croydon, Manju Shahul Hameed, replaces Maggie Mansell as the chair of the influential health and well-being board.
The veteran Mansell, who is reputedly a keen skier, has been made Timothy Godfrey’s deputy cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport. The skiing must be good on the slopes of Norbury Park.
Mansell’s preferment might be seen as reward for her ability to change her mind at meetings at the behest of the chair of planning, Scott.
And anyway, as Tony Soprano once said, “Even a broken clock is right twice a day.”
The culture, sport and leisure deputy’s vacancy arose because Stephen Mann opted to step down. With Mann’s Ashburton ward an election target for the Tories in 2018, the young councillor may have shrewdly opted to concentrate on getting re-elected.
The only other change of significance is a job-swap between septuagenarian football-watcher Pat Ryan and Robert Canning, which sees the capable Canning return to the deputy brief for transport and environment under cabinet member Stuart King, with Ryan moved to the “Clean Green Croydon” portfolio being run by Stuart Collins.
It may have been another line from the much-missed Sopranos series, in which the fictional New Jersey mafia boss, Tony Soprano, once said, “One thing about us wiseguys, the hustle never ends.”
Or maybe it was overheard in one of the corridors of Croydon Town Hall last night.
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