Skipper leads the way as Momentum challenges councillors

Political editor WALTER CRONXITE on the first manoeuvres among Labour candidates to secure a place on the council next May

Caragh Skipper: quickly up for selection

More than a month later than scheduled, and Croydon Labour’s candidate selection process for next May’s local elections finally reached the ward short-listing stage last night.

And immediately, it threw up a confrontation between Momentum and “old” Nu Labour.

Addiscombe East is one of the new wards created by the boundary changes ahead of May 2018. It comprises much of what used to be Ashburton ward, which was a major Labour prize of their 2014 Town Hall election victory. But now, the three councillors who won the ward for Labour in 2014 – Maddie Henson, Stephen Mann and Andrew Rendle – are competing for just two council seats in the new Addiscombe East ward.

Add into the mix Caragh Skipper, a big noise in what is supposed to be the Jeremy Corbyn-supporting Momentum group in Croydon.

Skipper was included on the six-strong short-list for the ward that was chosen last night at a meeting carefully monitored – some might suggest a tad too closely – by Jack Buck, Labour’s borough organiser. Buck’s wages are paid for out of Croydon Labour’s 39 councillors’ council allowances, so he really ought not have any role in the selection process.

Happy days: Mann, second right, Henson and Rendle, second left, after their campaigning won Ashburton ward in 2014, and thus the council for Tony Newman, right

Skipper, a Home Office civil servant, was recently elected as chair of the Croydon Central Constituency Labour Party, to replace Sarah Jones since she was elected as the area’s MP.

Skipper has been a conspicuous figure on party canvassing sessions and an enthusiastic participant in the recent Labour Party Conference, her first.

Recently, she’s also been seen in the company of the local party’s leading figures, with people such as leader Tony Newman and the first couple of South Norwood, Paul Scott and Alison Butler.

It was an open secret that Skipper was expected to be helped to find her way on to the candidate list for a safe Labour ward for next May’s elections, but her appearance on the shortlist for the first ward to be determined might be regarded as a bit of a surprise.

Not least because it puts Skipper head-to-head against sitting councillor Henson.

Labour’s selection process requires that, where there’s two or more council seats to be contested, the first candidate selected must be a woman. It’s possible, therefore, that Skipper could be the first Labour candidate selected for Addiscombe East if she beats Henson in a vote of branch members next week.

The woman who does not win the vote for the first slot will then go into a ballot for the second seat up against four men: councillors Rendle and Mann – the only candidate who actually lives in the ward – plus Abu Khan and a former councillor, Jerry Fitzpatrick.

It’s also entirely possible that Labour members in Addiscombe East opt for two women council candidates. Either way, Skipper could get to run for the council at the expense of a sitting councillor.

The Tories announced their candidates for this ward more than a month ago. They are activist Joseph Lee and Jeet Bains, who is also a sitting councillor, but for Coulsdon West ward. Bains has made public comments to suggest that he does not believe the Tories can win in the ward he has been allocated.

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This entry was posted in 2018 council elections, Addiscombe East, Andrew Rendle, Ashburton, Croydon Central, Maddie Henson, Stephen Mann and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Skipper leads the way as Momentum challenges councillors

  1. Shameless cronyism! Only sitting councillors will get my vote! They work tirelessly and why should they be usurped at the last minute?

    • Cronyism? Really? How’s that?

      Surely, if the established councillors were shoo’d into safe seats, that might be cronyism. In the case of Skipper, who has still to win at least one ballot, it just seems to be a case of naked ambition.

      And however you vote for your “tireless” councillors, three into two don’t go.

  2. I understand two into three won’t go, boundaries are always being fiddled with to someone’ supposed (dis)advantage but association with Butler et al, doesn’t enthuse me. I just know that our elected councillors have been approachable and accountable, Ms Skipper is an unknown in comparison.

  3. RJ Newman says:

    Caragh Skipper may be “unknown” to some, but she has been turning up at Constituency meetings (now chairing them) which are open to all members. I’ve seen more of her in the last year than most councillors and would be happy to see her as an elected councillor.

    Caragh’s appearance on the short-list is surely about as far from cronyism as is possible.

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