WALTER CRONXITE, our political editor, on further last-minute candidate shuffling
It is not just Labour who seem to have difficulties with selecting their candidates for the Town Hall elections on May 3.
Croydon Tories have discovered commitment issues.
In New Addington North – what has been known until these elections as Fieldway ward – one of the Tory candidates, Neville Dick, has pulled out somewhat suddenly.
The Tory High Command, from the bunker at their Purley HQ, deny that there’s anything remotely odd about this late change, with an eager true-blue youngster, Philip Sheppard, being plucked from their list of rejected candidates to have his name on the ballot papers for the Conservatives in eight weeks’ time alongside sometime UKIPper Ace Nnorom.
“Neville concluded a few months after his selection that it was better if he stood down, because he was concerned that he could not give the people of New Addington North the time and commitment he felt they deserved,” Tim Pollard, the leader of the Tory opposition on Croydon Council, told Inside Croydon. “We respected that and were quickly able to select an alternative in Phil Sheppard, who has been working hard ever since in New Addington.”
So it must be mere coincidence that Dick discovered that he had “commitment issues” shortly after Inside Croydon highlighted how he had been busy on social media supportively retweeting the general secretary of the Unison union over the Tories’ NHS bursery cuts, backing (Labour) MP Sarah Jones’s calls for action over fat-cat business pay and criticisms of the Tory Universal Credit, and starting a petition critical of former Croydon Central MP Gavin Barwell over the NHS.
Mere coincidence, clearly.
Poor Red Nev. Since having his political career cut short before it began, he has now made his Twitter account “protected”, so that his musings on the state of the nation can’t be seen by a wider public. Or the local Tory leadership.Pollard, though, still denies that he forced Dick to pull out.
“Unlike Labour leader Tony Newman I have not felt the need to deselect anyone from their position as a validly selected candidate for the 2018 elections,” Pollard said..
“It is worth noting that we concluded our selection process early in the new year, unlike Labour. We have a full slate of 70 candidates working hard up and down the borough, from Coulsdon to Norbury.
“I am still waiting to find out whether Labour is even able to field a full slate, let alone who will be contesting Sanderstead against me.”
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Red Tory Dick runs out of viagra?
Neville’s crimes were having a social conscience and thinking for himself outside the party political box. Tim Pollard and the Tory High Command, like their Labour counterparts, want candidates who will toe the party line, follow orders and, if elected, not question their bosses or defy the party whips.
Or pose any sort of challenge to them.