Newman move to ban councillors who speak to Inside Croydon

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

Tony Newman: squeeky bum time

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”.

Tony Newman has never done anything that might bring the Labour Party into disrepute. Oh no. Never. Apart from when he backed the Blairite ‘Chicken Coup’ to oust Jeremy Corbyn

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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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
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17 Responses to Newman move to ban councillors who speak to Inside Croydon

  1. Just because he’s paranoid doesn’t mean you’re not out to get him

  2. derekthrower says:

    You forgot his behaviour with regard to the opening of Boxpark and the reaction to anyone who dared make any critical comment about the appropriateness of this for council investent.

    He is just simply unable to accept any criticism. He really does exist in a bunker of his own delusions.

  3. Nick Mattey says:

    I was kicked out the Liberal Democrat party because I went public with the corruption surrounding the Viridor Incinerator . The party that controls a borough is paranoid about its image and allegations of incompetence, corruption and negligence. Rather than put things right they attack Inside Croydon.

    There is definitely solidarity within local government to come down hard on whistleblowers and independent news sources like Inside Croydon.

    Perhaps Councillor Newman and Councillor Dombey, Sutton’s council leader, could follow the example of Lutfur Rahman, the former mayor of Tower Hamlets, and spend £1.5 million a year on a free newspaper devoted to singing the praises of these two boroughs

  4. Assuming Newman was a happy contributor to Inside Croydon when he was in opposition, I would assume there is a reasonable chance that after May, you may be hearing a lot more from him.

  5. Russia banned the Church and it thrived. You prune a plant and it comes back stronger. I believe that the Council stopped using the Advertiser at some point due to its reporting. Inside Croydon should be flattered and if it is telling lies then Cllr Newman et al would no doubt be keen to challenge them in Court. Meanwhile keep challenging those whose behaviour is less than acceptable to the general public and particular if crime is suspected.

  6. Chris says:

    Excellent. You know you’re doing something right when pompous politicians arm twist their colleagues to pass a motion condemning you.

    Keep up the good work!

  7. veeanne2015 says:

    I would have thought that the dictatorship and actions of Tony Newman and his three pals brings the Croydon Labour party more into disrepute than anything ‘Inside Croydon’ has ever written about them.

  8. Nick Davies says:

    “Don’t talk about it. If you must talk about it, don’t talk about it in the bar. If you must talk about it in the bar, don’t talk about it if the editor of *** is in there.” – something I was told by the president of the students’ union about the student rag editor 40 years ago. And it’ll be exactly the same in another 40 years. That’s they way petty (and indeed not so petty) officialdom works.

  9. David Mogoh says:

    The credibility of this site has just gone up up up!

    Get some T-shirts made with “I read Inside Croydon” on them….

    We can all buy them and go to some public meetings wearing them with Mr Newman in attendance.

  10. Alan Stanton says:

    I take it that Tony Newman is an enthusiastic if secret fan of Inside Croydon. After all why else would any Council leader wish to draw attention to a news website by imposing a gag on councillors speaking to people there?
    Words like “ban” “secret” “exempt” “prescribed” and so on, are like a giant arrow encouraging people to take a close look. Just as most people know that “Move Along”; or “Nothing to see here”; mean somebody has something to hide.
    The best way for local councils to build trust and support is to commit themselves to openness and transparency.

    This reminds me of a painting by an official artist (during the First World War) which I saw at the Imperial War Museum last year. The artist Christopher Nevinson painted “Paths of Glory” and showed corpses of British soldiers. It was censored. His response was to show the painting in an exhibition in London, but he covered part of it with brown paper on which he wrote ‘censored’.

    It’s now famous. View it on Wikpedia.

  11. Helen Benjamins says:

    Article 10 of the EUROPEAN CONVENTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS states:-

    Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas WITHOUT INTERFERENCE BY PUBLIC AUTHORITY and regardless of frontiers.

    Basically this means you have a right To hold and express opinions
    To receive and share information and ideas
    To express opinions which others might find offensive
    or shocking.

    This right can only be lawfully interfered with if it is in the interests of, for example, public safety, or the protection of rights and freedoms of others. Not, as in this instance, because the truth is a bitter pill to swallow and can’t be brushed under the carpet, so to speak, once it becomes public knowledge.

    This Tony Newman chap obviously is deluded. It would seem that far from thinking he is a law unto himself, he actually believes it.

    • Alan Stanton says:

      Helen Benjamins, thank you for that useful point.
      But I’m sorry to have to tell you that *if* the Labour councillors speaking-out have accurately described goings-on in Croydon – then Mr Newman is not alone in this apparent need for gagged flunkies.
      Over in Haringey where I live and used to be a councillor – we have Cllr Claire Kober. An example of a Council Leader who, in my opinion anyway, is deeply reluctant to share information freely. A Leader who has recently described the expression of dissent as “bullying” and sees any disagreement with her own wonderful policies as “sexism”.

      In fact I wonder whether – regardless of which Party is in control – this type of behaviour may be a consequence of the so-called Leader/cabinet model of running local councils.

      I have no idea whether or not Mr Newman follows this model, with flattering courtiers eager to tell emperors that their clothing is of the finest. Leaders who surround themselves with “cabinet” colleagues like Magic Mirrors; assuring Party leaders they are the fairest, strongest and most far-seeing of us all.

      What I do know for certain is that a healthy local democracy requires openness and honesty. And people prepared to “Speak Truth To Power”. The shrinking and dying of traditional local newspapers does not in any way lessen the vital need for independent local journalism and journalists.

      Near the BBC there’s now a statue honouring George Orwell. It shows his words: “If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” Wonderful and inspiring. But that was all in the past. That George is safely dead and can be ignored by today’s high and mighty.

      Today’s establishment journalists too are expected to report the wise words of Leaders as they fawn over them in TV and radio studios.
      Independent journalists? Who needs ’em? Speaking Truth to Power? That’s so old-fashioned.
      Politicians who know something? Sshh. Keep it in the family.

  12. Helen Benjamins says:

    Once elevated to an authorative position, the lack of oxygen, at such a height, played havoc with his mind and he forgot just what he was there for. Not to worry though, lucky him in choosing all of his best friends and paying them all so handsomely, they would look after him now.

  13. Nick Davies says:

    Well whatever they do I doubt they’ll better Westminster’s achievement in making the front page of The Grauniad. Will they?

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