With the borough’s children’s services deep in crisis, a pre-election Council Tax hike on the way and amid growing discontent over a scandal involving three senior council employees, Croydon’s council leader has taken to issuing threats to his own Labour councillors
Is Tony Newman, the autocratic leader of the Labour group on Croydon Council, getting worried?
In the week when Inside Croydon reported on the departure of another senior official in the “Godfather Affair”, uncovered the systemic mistreatment of whistleblowers at Croydon Council, and published a leaked email from the chief exec which attempted to gag elected councillors, news has emerged that the Blairite council leader Tony Newman has forced through a vote of Labour councillors to condemn… this website.
Our loyal reader might think that the Labour council leadership has got its priorities all wrong. Or has something to hide.
According to sources, prompted by Newman, Labour councillors have decided that Inside Croydon acts “in a fashion contrary to Labour party values”.
Pyongyang would be so proud.
Armed with the resolution, Newman is now expected to try to move against any Labour councillors who he suspects have links with Inside Croydon. Or, more likely, to move against any councillors that he sees as a threat to his own position.
As a proscribed entity, any councillor seen as being in contact with this website or its editor could be summarily banned from standing as a Labour Party candidate in the Town Hall elections in May.
With the condemnatory resolution now in the council leadership’s pocket, councillors who dare speak to journalists working with Inside Croydon can now be condemned by Blairite Newman for “bringing the party into disrepute”.
Inside Croydon never reveals its sources, so it would be interesting to see what standard of “proof” Newman might require to act on his resolution. It is fair to say that a majority of the 39 Labour councillors in Croydon must now feel at risk.
Steven Downes, the editor of Inside Croydon, said, “It seems that, in the run-up to the election, it’s getting to be squeeky bum time for Newman.
“He’s clearly found a convenient scapegoat for the many of failures of his administration, using this website to divert attention from where the real problems lie. As with all weak leaders throughout history, he’s decided to try to ‘shoot the messenger’.
“Newman has a personal agenda, but by attacking freedom of speech and putting the frighteners on loyal Labour members and candidates, with voting day now just weeks away, he risks undermining his own party.
“For example, is Newman going to suspend Sean Fitzsimons, the widely respected chair of scrutiny, to whom we presented our evidence of the dodgy conduct of Godfather Graham Cadle and his two close friends? Thanks to our research and Councillor Fitzsimon’s prompt action, those three individuals are no longer working at Croydon Council. If Newman had his way, nothing will have been done about it.
“And Newman remains silent on the scandal.”
According to some, Newman has even put himself at risk.
In a message circulated widely among Croydon Labour Party officials recently, Joanne Milligan, the secretary of one of the borough’s three Constituency Labour Parties, pointed out, “Councillor Tony Newman used to meet with Inside Croydon regularly – providing information and briefings for articles.
“If you’re curious about what inspired or motivated particular pieces on the Inside Croydon blog over the years – or wondered how information found its way to Inside Croydon – ask Councillor Tony Newman.”
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