Senior Tory councillor quits Town Hall but keeps it all quiet

KEN LEE, our Town Hall reporter, on the disappearing act performed by one of the local Tories’ former leading lights

Unannounced at the Town Hall, and unmentioned to the people of Selsdon and Ballards ward she was supposed to be representing, Sara Bashford, the sometime deputy leader of the Croydon Tories at the Town Hall, has quit as a councillor.

Bashford quietly handed in her Town Hall pass on November 8, after more than a decade of pocketing generous allowances as an elected councillor.

The only signal of this departure of an elected member of the council is a note on what used to be her contact page on the council website. “Councillor Sara Bashford… Not currently an elected councillor,” it states, apparently oblivious to the imbecilic contradiction therein.

The decision to stand down had been on the cards since September, when the Croydon Conservatives announced that the former teaching assistant had to resign the Tory whip after landing herself a plum Whithall job in the Cabinet Office. At that time, the Tories had led everyone to believe that Bashford would see out her term in office to next May’s local elections, ostensibly as an “independent” councillor.

But that charade has now been quietly dropped, and Bashford – the former constituency office organiser for Gavin Barwell when he was Croydon Central MP – has quit. The timing is significant: being less than six months until the date of the 2018 local elections, there will be no ward by-election to replace Bashford.

Then there were two: Bashford has been erased from existence on the Selsdon and Ballards’ councillors’ page on the council website

There is nothing particularly unlawful about all this (there are good reasons for this course of action to be taken). But it looks a tad on the sneaky side, as senior council officials and Croydon Tories conspire to keep the change all hushed up, to avoid the Conservatives the embarrassment of having to explain to the public they are supposed to be serving why the woman who was one of their three-strong leadership team has suddenly done a bunk.

It means that what is true blue Selsdon and Ballards ward will have lost all three of its current councillors by next year. Bashford has left the retiring veteran Dudley Mead and the de-selected Phil Thomas with six months’ worth of casework to handle on their own.

Bashford’s job in the Cabinet Office – which is suggested was secured for her by the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, Barwell – is “politically restricted”, meaning that while she is being paid a handsome public salary at tax-payers’ expense, Bashford is not permitted to pursue her political views in her spare time.

Just watch out for her delivering leaflets and canvassing on doorsteps between now and May…

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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
This entry was posted in 2018 council elections, Dudley Mead, Phil Thomas, Sara Bashford, Selsdon & Ballards and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Senior Tory councillor quits Town Hall but keeps it all quiet

  1. Absolute proof of what I have always said, nobody would notice most Tory Councillors going missing as they are hardly ever there. The able Dudley Mead and annoying Phil Thomas carried that ward anyway.

  2. davidmogo says:

    My word, another one rejecting the £45k a year salary.. sorry I mean “allowances”!!

    She must have come in to some money

    • Since being in opposition in 2014, Bashford would never have received £45,000 a year in council allowances.

      As deputy leader of the opposition, she will have been getting £20,275.

      This will have been in addition, until June this year, to the estimated £30,000 per year she was receiving from her tax-payer funded job orrganising paper clips and distributing T-shirts for the Rt Hon Gavin Barwell.

      Her partner, when he was the leader of Bromley Council, will have been receiving around £50,000 in council allowances there, too. But he lost that position recently, too.

      Must be hard times in the Bashford household.

      • davidmogo says:

        Maybe they both both reflected on the hypocrisy of the ridiculous sums of money given to councillors for doing occasional part time work whilst so many people who voted for them in good faith struggle to get by each month or worse still have to rely on food banks to feed themselves and their children. Perhaps they came to a conscientious decision to step down in hope that the system might change to allow good minded people to take on the role of councillor without pay, apart from genuine expenses / reimbursements for travel costs etc.

        I will shortly be posting a picture of a pig that just flew past my house as I wrote this. Quite fascinating…..

        • I have always supported the role of councillor without pay.

          • davidmogo says:

            That would attract the right kind of people.
            I’m sure some of them are there for the right reasons.. but yet to hear of any of them rejecting up to £4000 of our money pumped in to their bank accounts each month….

          • Nick Davies says:

            Fine for people who have the resources to do it. Few employers offer paid time off for public duties, and for many being a councillor or magistrate or member of some public body would be in any case career limiting. Most in minimum wage zero hours or notionally self-employed ‘gig economy’ jobs would simply laugh at you if you suggest they stand for election. You have to offer at least compensation for loss of earnings if you want to attract a wide range of individuals to such roles.

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