WALTER CRONXITE reports on a back-firing Conservative stunt. And Councillor Jason Cummings
The deputy leader of the Croydon Conservatives could be refused any unemployment benefits – because he tried to vote for Jeremy Corbyn in the Labour leadership election two years ago.
Jason Cummings lost his cushy tax-payer-funded job as an assistant to an MP when Gavin Barwell lost his Croydon Central seat at the General Election earlier this month.
Barwell’s wafer-thin majority was crushed by “Corbynmania”, a tsunami of enthusiasm for the Labour party’s leader, as Sarah Jones was returned to Parliament as the area’s new MP with a majority of more than 5,500 votes.
Barwell was “lucky” to walk into another well-paid, public sector job within 48 hours, but Cummings could now be on the dole. All of Barwell’s parliamentary and constituency staff were formally out of work come June 9, including Croydon Tories’ other deputy leader, Sara “Book Token” Bashford.
But Cumming’s attempt to sign-up as a £3 supporter in the Labour leadership election in 2015, because he believed that Corbyn would consign Labour to political obscurity, appears to have back-fired, badly.
“If the individual concerned really did attempt to vote for Jeremy Corbyn, and is now unemployed as a consequence of the General Election, then officers at Job Centre Plus may have to consider whether the applicant has made themselves intentionally unemployed,” a senior official from the Department for World and Pensions told Inside Croydon today.
“That would disqualify them from any entitlement to benefits, under the current rules introduced under the Conservative Government.”
The slim hope for Cummings, a councillor for Heathfield ward, is that although he applied to be a £3 “supporter” in the leadership primary, he may not have been allowed to vote, since his application was referred to Labour headquarters because of his known membership of another political party.
Having lost their well-paid government jobs (on a salary scale of up to £30,000), Cummings and Bashford will have to struggle on, making ends meet on their councillor “allowances” of little more than £20,000 per year. DWP sources suggest that this fee is in any case regarded as a salary, and will automatically disqualify them from benefits.
Career politician Barwell, meanwhile, is left to ponder the “less than happy ending” of the General Election, while he trousers an increased salary, suggested to be around £125,000, as the “chief of staff” to the Prime Minister, Theresa Mayhem.
- Talking Inside Croydon presents David Matthews talking about his first novel, That They Might Lovely Be on June 28. Apply for tickets for this free event by clicking here
- Inside Croydon is Croydon’s only independent news source, still based in the heart of the borough. In April-May 2017, we averaged 32,000 page views every week
- If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, a residents’ or business association or a local event to publicise, please email us with full details at firstname.lastname@example.org