Housing minister welcomes backing from housing fraudster

WALTER CRONXITE, our political editor, on how Croydon Central’s Tory candidate is accepting support from some questionable sources

Awkward. We all make mistakes, Theresa

Tory Gavin Barwell, as he defends his Croydon Central seat with its slender 165-vote majority, does not appear to be too fussy about where he receives endorsements, after he enthusiastically re-tweeted yesterday the support for his campaign from a convicted fraudster.

What ought to be particularly  embarrassing, even for the usually shameless Barwell, is that as the Conservative Party’s spokesman on housing, his new-found backing comes from Daniel Morriss, who in 2012 was sentenced to four months for fraud. Morriss, then working as an estate agent, was caught renting out a house that he was supposed to be selling for its owners. He pleaded guilty to five charges of theft and fraud.

In fact, Barwell’s new supporter has been jailed three times, most recently in 2013 when he was given a 10-year sentence after robbing a Sutton casino at knife point and stealing £8,000 from his employer.

Morriss had that sentence reduced to seven years and was released last year after serving three.

Now, Morriss says he is “on a journey that has changed my life”.

“I was that person once. I’m not that person now,” Morriss told Inside Croydon.

Morriss describes himself as a philanthropist. Morriss also claims he is two years away from getting a law degree. He says that he  has set up a company, the Freshwood Group, which is involved in campaigning for justice reform and helping the homeless. Indeed, despite his 2012 conviction for fraud, Morriss is listed by Companies House as a director of the company, which was formed in May 2016.

He also says that he works full-time, and that he uses this income to fund the establishment of his new business, including paying the wages of staff he employs at the Freshwood Group.

It sounds plausible, though the Freshwood Group does not have a working website at present (“I’ve been waiting weeks for the website designer,” he says), and he is a little vague about how his company is funded, or what it does.

So about as plausible as your average estate agent. Or Tory MP.

Yesterday, using the Freshwood Group’s Twitter account, Morriss broadcast his political allegiances ahead of the General Election on June 8 by posting two messages.

Daniel Morriss’s tweets proclaiming his support for Gavin Barwell. The Tory candidate in Central Croydon quickly retweeted these messages from a convicted housing fraudster

“Croydon,” Morriss wrote, “Let’s all back our local champion.” He then utilised the Tory election mantra of #StrongAndStable.

Soon after, Morriss elaborated: “I’ll be voting for @BackBarwell in the up and coming election. Gavin and his team worked on my case making significant impact.”

Both these tweets were swiftly repeated from Barwell’s own campaign Twitter account, @BackBarwell.

Morriss explained to Inside Croydon that in February this year, he was recalled to prison for breaking the terms of his licence, having been late for a probation appointment. “It’s a lifetime licence, so I am always going to be subject to that sort of approach,” he said.

It was then that he wrote to a range of people seeking his re-release, to enable his return to work. Among those to whom he wrote to was his MP, Barwell, who Morriss says took up his case, helping to get his release.

Of course, had Morriss still been inside on June 8, he would not have been allowed to vote. So perhaps this is another way Barwell is ensuring the maximum “turn out” for him at the polls next month.

Gavin Barwell’s campaign literature in 2015 included an endorsement from a businesswoman convicted for not paying her staff

It is not known whether Barwell is aware of Morriss’s previous fraud conviction, nor whether the Tory housing minister cares too much any way.

Barwell’s help for Morriss following his armed robbery using a large knife does, though, throw a different light on one of the Tory MP’s stated campaign action points, in which he claims to want to reduce levels of knife crime.

Barwell has form for this sort of thing.

Before the 2015 General Election, Barwell published campaign literature that included another gushing endorsement, this from Neelofar Khan, a businesswoman who was successfully prosecuted for failing to pay her staff the minimum wage. It is clear that this is not an offence that bothers Barwell too much, especially when the career politician wants to be re-elected.

And, we now learn, Tory housing minister Barwell’s not too bothered about housing fraud and armed robbery, either.

  • Inside Croydon is Croydon’s only independent news source, still based in the heart of the borough. In 2016, we averaged 17,000 page views every week
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About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
This entry was posted in 2017 General Election, Business, Croydon Central, Gavin Barwell and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Housing minister welcomes backing from housing fraudster

  1. timbartell says:

    We all assume that anyone connected to or belonging to the Conservative party is immune from and above the law. Gav’s southern running mate just got off from Election fraud, next time your knicked for doing 70 mph in a 30 mph area just show the police your conservative membership card, that will do nicely.

  2. davidjl2014 says:

    Dear old Walter, already smarting over today’s court ruling that Barwell had no case to answer for over election expense regulations in 2015, the “Phantom Raspberry Blower of Old Croydon Town” is at it again. This time blowing raspberries against a so called “legitimate company” that hasn’t even got it’s own website (ha ha) with an owner who has a criminal record as long as your arm. But, this owner is, apparently, as thick as thieves with Conservative MP Gavin Barwell as Stan Laurel was with Oliver Hardy.
    This has to be the best piece of fake news I’ve ever heard in my life.

    • It’s long past your bed time, David. Why don’t you go and have a quiet lie down in a darkened room and calm down a little bit?

      • davidjl2014 says:

        I work nights, and that was sent in my “lunch” break. Always enjoy the banter. Makes my night.
        You ought to try working nights Steve, it saves you having to listen to all the crap in the media all day. So thanks for giving the impression that I should be tucked up in bed when I could be saving lives instead. Great work.

        • So you’re now claiming that you were *sober* when you wrote out that ranty, incoherent comment?

          And that makes it better how, exactly?

          Don’t feel you have to reply…

  3. croydonres says:

    There is a STRONG whiff from the waste matter piled up inside the Tory STABLE

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