ELECTION COUNTDOWN: Our political staffer, BERTIE WORCESTER-PARK, on how the Tories have loaded their candidate lists for the Town Hall elections with their nearest and dearest
Residents of Sutton have heard a lot about “Better for Families” from the Tories. But whose families do the Tories have in mind?
Sutton Conservatives’ campaign slogan is “Unlocking Sutton’s Potential”, though a cursory look at the runners and riders for Thursday’s local elections suggests that the Tories’ priority is to unlock the potential of Sutton’s council allowances for their own families.
Following in the footsteps of former LibDem MP Paul Burstow of getting his wife, Mary, on to the council, Paul Scully, the current Tory MP for Sutton and Cheam, will doubtless be out delivering leaflets over the next 48 hours or so on behalf of Emma Scully, his wife, who is standing in Sutton North ward.
The Shields family, with existing Tory councillor, Tony (Sutton South), are even more ambitious, trying to get another two family members on to the council gravy train, with Vikki Shields (like Emma Scully, standing in Sutton North) and Millie Shields (The Wrythe).
In the last year of published figures (2016-2017) Tony Shields raked in £19,855 (£10,624 plus £9,231 “special responsibility allowance”) in taxpayer-funded wages for being an elected councillor. If elected, Vikki and Millie Shields, even as backbench councillors, could receive a minimum of £10,730 per year, each, in allowances.
Under the allowances system, Conservatives Eric Allen (Cheam) and his wife Martina (Nonsuch), would immediately net in excess of £21,000 basic. Another Tory duo, Hilary Wortley (Wallington South) and Chris Wortley (Wallington North), would pocket the same.
It is all very public spirited, of course.
But it does raise the question of why, out of an electorate of 140,000 people, the Tories have so many members of their own families standing for elected office. Indeed, the Conservatives appear to have struggled so much to find viable candidates across the borough that in Worcester Park, they resorted to putting up a candidate who is already a councillor on a different local authority.
The Conservatives go into the election with a grand total of eight councillors. If these Tories all get elected, then just four families will have eight out of 54 council seats between them.
It brings a whole new meaning to keeping it in the family.
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1. I know all of these people and in all these case the family members are just as driven to sort Sutton out as those who are already elected.
2. Anyone is welcome to join the local Conservatives and if you show an aptitude for wanting to help your local community and do the work that would be required if you were to be elected, then you too can stand as a Conservative candidate. I am standing as one myself in St Helier ward so I know from experience what is required.
3. The Conservative party expects much more from candidates than the Lib Dems who current hold the council. The Lib Dems actively look for people who will support whatever nutty policies they may happen to support at any time (like the waste incinerator and those leading to #SuttonBinShame). The Conservatives require an active involvement in the community and people who are prepared to do what it takes to really make a positive difference to the local area. If those people happen to be related to those already working hard in the local area, is it really such a problem?
1, Simon says they’re all nice, so it must be ok then.
2, Simon is a Tory candidate, but unrelated to any other Tory candidates, so that’s not so bad.
3, The Tories expect no more from their paper, tokenistic, candidates in wards that they decide are “unwinnable” than any of the other major parties.
4, But the Tories in Sutton do allow councillors in other local authorities to put themselves up for election in their borough, and second-helpings from the allowances gravy train
5, The Tories expect their candidates to support “nutty policies”, to use Simon’s terminology, such as signing up Veolia to do the bin contract (it was a Tory administration in Croydon that agreed that), or to lie about an incinerator and then approve one (Croydon Tories did that), or to try to deport British citizens, and then when caught out keep any investigation secret (Windrush, anyone).
6, It is the Tory Government, since 2010, which has removed 20,000 police officers from the beat, leading to cuts in the Met which has seen the merger of the borough commands in Sutton, Croydon and Bromley.
7, It was a Tory council in London where the Grenfell Tower fire happened last year. The Tory government has yet to re-home all the survivors, or compensate them, and has refused to intervene to pay for the removal of dangerous, flammable cladding on other tower blocks in Croydon, Sutton and across the country.
8, The Tory Party was once described as the Nasty Party. By Theresa May.
Sutton glad i got out of there, i found there is not one party there fit for office. Its a closed club and looks like always will be. Dont mater whos in power its a cub lof friends of friends