Another former Tory councillor has quit Croydon Conservatives, launching a farewell blast at the party’s local leadership.
Tony Pearson, who was a councillor for New Addington until 2014, announced over the weekend that he was quitting the Tories, complaining that he was to be blocked from their WhatsApp discussion group.
Pearson, a member of the freemasons, was a controversial figure while elected to the Town Hall.
In 2011, when he was working as a steward at Crystal Palace football club, Pearson was accused of using abusive language and rough treatment on season ticket-holders in the Holmesdale End. He was also accused of snatching a fan’s mobile phone to prevent the incident being video’d.
After a suspension and a disciplinary hearing, Pearson escaped any sanction apart from being reassigned to duties away from the Holmesdale End “to avoid any other potential confrontation”.
Palace fans lodged a formal complaint to the Football Supporters’ Federation about Pearson’s conduct. It was not long after this that Pearson’s stewarding career came to a quiet end, though the two things may not be connected.
As an enthusiastic and busy Tory activist, Pearson was given free rein to air his ignorant and bigoted views on immigration on their local party’s website.
This was at a time when the local Conservatives were keen to win back the xenophobic and sometimes outright racist vote which deserted them for UKIP before the EU Referendum,
And as recently as little more than a month ago, Pearson was still at the heart of the Croydon Tory Party, standing as one of their candidates in his home ward of New Addington South. This is effectively the ward which Pearson had represented for four years from 2010, and was regarded as a Tory target in the election.
On this occasion, despite his many years embedded in the New Addington Pathfinders’ community organisation, Pearson finished only third in the two-seat ward and was not re-elected.
There is some suggestion that Pearson felt that, as a former councillor eager to get back on the Town Hall allowances gravy train, he deserved to be selected for another, safer Tory ward.
Then last Sunday, on Twitter, Pearson announced, somewhat melodramatically: “Today I left Croydon Tories.”
He added: “A heavy heart but locally, with its current leadership, they cannot represent me nor I be part of them.”
Croydon Conservatives say that Pearson opted not to renew his party subscription, which expired after May 3, and that he was never barred from any of their public discussion and information forums, which are open to members of the public. The WhatsApp group from which Pearson was excluded is only for paid-up activists.
There had been signs that Pearson might be about to jump ship, as he had shown support during the run-up to the Lewisham East parliamentary by-election earlier this month for a candidate from another political party, the DVP.
Sometimes known as “the Diarrhoea and Vomiting Party”, the Democrats and Veterans Party was formed earlier this year, the latest right-wing, Trump-esque splinter group which attempts to wrap some of its more unsavoury views in the Union flag, and in its declared concern for former servicemen (Pearson never misses an opportunity to remind anyone who will listen that he was once in the Army; Royal Corps of Transport, in case you were interested).
The DVP does not try hard to disguise its clearly anti-Muslim stance.
“We will fight to preserve our Judeo-Christian heritage,” the DVP says on its website.
Their other policies look uncannily familiar to some of extreme far-right groups: “Under a DVP government an approved list of countries from which we are willing to accept asylum seekers would be created, by consultation with appropriately qualified security experts and the consent of the British people.”
And this: “DVP will defend our monarchy, our ancient constitution, and will promote the uncompromising Rule of Law. There will be one Law for all, with no parallel legal systems allowed to operate. The law shall be applied equally and never play second fiddle to political correctness.”
Pearson was not available to confirm whether he has joined, or intends to join, the DVP.
Tim Pollard, the leader of the Tory opposition group at the Town Hall, told Inside Croydon, “I am saddened that Tony decided not to renew his party membership when it expired a few weeks ago and we wish him well in whatever he decides to do next.
“I cannot comment on his reasons for not renewing his membership as Tony has never asked to meet me to discuss any concerns he may have. Political parties are always contain a wide range of opinion, and I always think it is best to discuss areas where you disagree in a mature way. Sadly that didn’t happen on this occasion.”
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