WALTER CRONXITE reports that it is not just the Prime Minister who likes to use public money to bribe or coerce Labour politicians
Whatever the weather this weekend, the people of Croydon can look forward in eager anticipation to the knock on the door, a cheery chat on the doorstep and to have another piece of bright scarlet literature thrust into their hands.
Croydon’s Labour councillors are out canvassing again.
It’s not because they want to necessarily. It’s because they have been warned that unless they are seen to carry out a minimum of a couple of hours leaflet delivering per month, they will have their precious SRAs, Special Responsibility Allowance payments, withdrawn.
That was the stark warning issued at a Labour group meeting last month by chief whip Clive Fraser.
With Croydon Conservatives already on a war footing for a possible snap General Election called by, and caused by, Prime Minister Theresa Mayhem and her gaffe-prone chief of staff, Gavin Barwell, it appears that Labour doesn’t want to leave anything to chance.
This Saturday will be the second in which Labour councillors have been out canvassing on behalf of MP Sarah Jones in Croydon Central.
There’s no Labour canvassing going on south of the Croydon equivalent of the Mason-Dixon line, because Croydon South is dismissed as being unwinnable. And there’s no one bothering in Croydon North, either, because it is regarded as unlose-able.
Labour in Croydon is employing a similar tactic to Mayhem, of utilising other people’s money in order to get politicians to toe the line.
For the Prime Minister, she’s been waving tax-payers’ money at Leave-supporting Labour MPs, offering “investments” in their constituencies to buy their votes in parliament in upcoming Brexit divisions.
For Croydon Labour leader Tony Newman, patronage with council cash is his stock in trade when it comes to managing and manipulating his 40 councillor colleagues at the Town Hall. With more than 20 council cabinet jobs at his disposal – many worth more than £30,000 in extra payments per year to the favoured recipients – Newman has in effect bought the loyalty of more than half of Croydon’s Labour councillors. It’s one way of avoiding any leadership challenges.
But this latest overt threat to withdraw allowances from any Labour councillors who don’t turn out to deliver leaflets is a new move, and one which Town Hall insiders suggest is not only questionable morally, but may not be legal.
Croydon Council Tax-payers provide £1.6million every year to pay the borough’s 70 Labour and Tory councillors, with Newman getting the biggest individual chunk of allowances at £53,223.
The SRAs are paid by Croydon Council, to the councillors. But that hasn’t stopped Newman behaving as if the cash is entirely in his gift and brandishing the threat of withdrawal to his colleagues.
“What Tony gives, Tony can take away is the message here,” one Town Hall figure said.
“If the leader appoints the SRA-holder to a post, he’s probably within his rights to say ‘Fulfil expectations on party work or you will get the sack’.
“Thing is, after years of doing everything that Newman tells them too, I can’t see any of the Labour councillors putting the threat of losing their allowances to the test.”
- Please support Inside Croydon’s award-winning, news-breaking local journalism. It’s just £4 per month, and you qualify for special discounts and offers. Click here to sign-up as a donor
- Inside Croydon is a member of the Independent Community News Network
- Inside Croydon works together with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and BBC London News
- Inside Croydon named Journalist of the Year at 2018 Anna Kennedy Online Autism Heroes Awards
- ROTTEN BOROUGH AWARDS: For two consecutive years, 2017 and 2018, Inside Croydon has been the source for two award-winning nominations in Private Eye magazine’s annual celebration of civic cock-ups
- In 2018, Inside Croydon had 1.6million pages viewed by more than half a million unique visitors
- If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, or what to publicise your residents’ association or business, or if you have a local event to promote, please email us with full details at firstname.lastname@example.org