KEN LEE, our Town Hall reporter, on the latest sign that Croydon’s Tories really don’t much care for the north of the borough
Four months on from the botched announcement of their candidates for next May’s local elections, and Croydon’s Conservatives have distributed a newsletter which shows that they still have yet to find a full slate of 70 candidates. The local elections, on May 3, are now less than five months away.
Back in September, we reported how the Tories managed to name only 56 candidates in 23 wards, having completely omitted any candidates for South Norwood, Selhurst, Thornton Heath, Bensham Manor and West Thornton wards – all Labour-held and all in the north of the borough.
The latest Tory leaflet, which may have landed on a doormat near you in the past fortnight, fills in some of those blanks, with a few names plucked from what the Conservatives themselves regard as only “B List” candidates.
But in Selhurst, the Tories have only listed a single candidate’s name, Sas Conradie, for what is now a two-seat ward.
Tory disdain for the north of Croydon is hardly a secret, after all. Last time round, it was described as “unwinnable” and “a waste of effort” by the man who now is employed as Theresa May’s Twitterer-in-chief.
And according to the leader of Croydon Tories, the omission of a second Selhurst candidate from their campaign leaflet is not a mistake, either.
Finding 70 acceptable candidates to stand in all 28 wards from Crystal Palace in the north to the foot hills of the North Downs in Coulsdon in the south is proving a considerable challenge for all political parties.
The Greens have yet to finalise their list for the Town Hall elections, while the leadership of the FibDems seems to regard their candidate information as highly confidential information and no business of the Croydon electorate.
Unconfirmed reports suggest that a meeting of all the members of the Liberal Democrats in the borough was held recently in an Old Coulsdon phone box, and candidates’ names were selected at random from the directory.
Even the parties who wallow in the Town Hall duopoly are struggling to fill all the candidate slots to go on ballot papers on May 3.
Asked about his party’s omission of a second candidate for Selhurst ward, Tim Pollard, councillor for leafy Sanderstead and the leader of Croydon Tories, told Inside Croydon, “Like Labour we have not yet completed our candidate selections but expect to do so for the entire borough before Christmas.
“We have currently selected one out of two candidates for Selhurst, so the leaflet is correct on that point. Sas is a Selhurst resident who actively wants to fight his ‘home’ ward in preference to any other.”
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