Political editor WALTER CRONXITE on the latest egregious breach of his employment contract by the Tories’ desperately ambitious parliamentary candidate for Croydon Central
On the day when his boss at No10 seems set to suffer one of the worst defeats by a Prime Minister in House of Commons history, there are calls for Mario Creatura to be sacked from his £80,000 per year job as a special adviser to Theresa Mayhem.
Park Hill resident Creatura, a Conservative councillor for Coulsdon Town, was hired by Downing Street just over a year ago to take charge of the PM’s Twitter activity. As a member of the Civil Service, Creatura is supposed to be subject to its strict code of conduct, and the special rules for SPADs over their public conduct.
But since being selected last month as the Tories’ prospective parliamentary candidate for Croydon Central – the seat held, until the 2017, by his mate, gaffe-prone Gavin Barwell – Creatura has pushed the bounds of what is acceptable conduct for a civil servant, even one working at the heart of this crumbling Government.
Creatura has already attracted formal complaints for the manner in which he had illegally sought to data-scrape Croydon residents’ personal details in a round-robin email sent at Christmas time which broke a number of Data Protection laws.
But last week, a letter ostensibly addressed to Sarah Jones, the Labour MP for Croydon Central, was published widely on social media by social media “expert” Creatura, as he sought to grandstand his position on Brexit (in favour, and against a second referendum, in case you are interested).
The letter has seen him reported to senior officials in the Cabinet Office. Some think he should be sacked from his cushty job.
“Mario seems to think he does not have to fulfil his responsibilities to the rules and Code of Conduct as a civil servant,” one Labour figure at Westminster told Inside Croydon today.
“The fact is, when Barwell recruited him for his job in Downing Street, as well as the Official Secrets Act, Mario will have signed the SPADs Code of Conduct and his Civil Service contract, and they explicitly spell out that he is not allowed to make any public statements in the area of responsibility of the minister to whom he is assigned. Since Mario works for Theresa May, that pretty well cuts him off from making any public comment.
“And it must certainly apply to Mario when it comes to Brexit.”
Another senior political figure in Croydon said today, “As a prospective parliamentary candidate, of course Mario needs to campaign in an attempt to win support. But as a SPAD working for the Prime Minister, he is pretty much banned from doing that.
“Creatura has a clear choice: he can continue to trouser his very generous Civil Service salary, or he can play at running for Parliament. He can’t do both. He should resign from his job immediately.”
A Croydon Central constituent who has asked not to be named has written a formal letter of complaint to Helen MacNamara, the Cabinet Office’s director of propriety (hey Mario, you should get someone to explain to you what it means) and ethics, asking her to investigate this as a breach of the special advisers’ code of conduct, and his employment contract.
The letter of complaint to the Cabinet Office states that “Creatura set out a series of strongly worded positions on Brexit”.
The complainant writes: “By making such strongly worded public pronouncements on this topic, Mr Creatura therefore appears to be in breach of Section 20 of the Code of Conduct for Special Advisers.”
Section 20 of the Code of Conduct was flagged up by Inside Croydon in 2017, shortly after Creatura eagerly accepted Barwell’s offer to take the public-funded job in No10. Reconciling S20’s demands with Creatura’s desperate political ambitions was always likely to prove impossible.
The section in the Code of Conduct states that special advisers “should not speak publicly or in the Council, or vote, on matters for which their Minister has direct responsibility.”
And Creatura is employed at No10, where his minister is the Prime Minister, who has responsibility for… everything in Government.
Or at least he does until later today.
It might just be that Creatura’s breach of his Civil Service contract becomes entirely academic if, as seems possible, the Prime Minister herself chooses to resign following the predicted Commons defeat this afternoon.
After all, whoever takes over from Mayhem would be unlikely to want to continue with gaffe-prone Gav as their chief of staff. And if Barwell goes (off to the Lords, perhaps, or a job as a waiter in the new Croydon branch of Nando’s?), then so too, surely, will his Croydon cronies in Downing Street, including Creatura.
Which would make Creatura a prospective parliamentary candidate without much in the way of job prospects.
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Creatura thinks that “ethics” is a county that borders the north side of the River Thames.