PM’s chief of staff helps to lose Tory council seat in Woking

Oh dear.

With friends like these…

Gavin Barwell tweeting yesterday, during the local elections. He is the author of How To Lose A Marginal Seat, and has been advising Theresa Mayhem since 2017

Gavin Barwell, as Inside Croydon’s loyal reader will know, is the former MP for Croydon Central. After writing the book How To Lose A Marginal Seat, Barwell duly lost his parliamentary seat in 2017.

Since then, he has been in a £150,000 per year job in Downing Street, advising the Prime Minister, Theresa Mayhem, as her chief of staff. And haven’t they been doing a real bang-up job?

It appears he has not lost his touch.

Look at these local election results:
2015 Goldsworth East ward, Woking
1, Conservative 1,592 votes ELECTED
2, Liberal Democrats 859 votes

and then yesterday, in a reconfigured ward after boundary changes (and with a much lower turn-out; 2015 was held on the day of a General Election):
2019 Goldsworth Park ward, Woking
1, Liberal Democrats 1,032 ELECTED
2, J Cope, Conservative 755 UNELECTED


Clearly, having the PM’s chief of staff canvassing for him proved to be a bit of a liability for Jonny Cope.

And having his old mucker, Mario Creatura, the Tory councillor for Coulsdon Town, also knocking on doors was probably too much for the voters of Woking to stomach.

Rather than spending his time on local issues in Coulsdon, dealing with residents’ problems or speaking to council officials in Fisher’s Folly – for which he is paid £18,344 per year in council allowances by Croydon Council Tax-payers – Creatura chose to take at least one day out in the past week to do political work on behalf of the Conservative Party in Woking.

Presumably (hopefully?), Creatura was on leave from his £80,000 per year civil service job, in which he is employed as a “special adviser” to the Prime Minister.

Woking appears to have been oblivious to the underwhelming charms of Mario Creatura (right) and candidate Jonny Cope

Inside Croydon’s loyal reader may recall that, before he moved to the leafy Surrey suburbs of Woking, Jonny Cope would regularly pledge his undying devotion to Croydon on behalf of Barwell and the local Conservatives.

He tried to get elected in Croydon’s local elections in 2014, but failed. Then, as yesterday, he attracted the votes of fewer than a thousand people in the ward Cope was standing in (South Norwood).

He was appointed recruitment officer for Croydon Tories, too, and made such a fine job of that that, in the end, the local Conservatives actively offered money for someone to do the job properly.

As the local election results dripped through last night, a disappointing one for Labour and Conservative parties alike, those that tended to prosper yesterday were the Remain-supporting LibDems and Greens.

Today, Creatura chose to parrot the Prime Minister’s party line to suggest somehow that the Tories, by losing more than 1,200 council seats around England, had in some way been given a message to “deliver Brexit”.

Mario Creatura, a civil servant employed in Downing Street, parroting his boss’s warped logic after a night when the Conservatives lost 1,100 council seats

It is, of course, a ridiculous, distorted and perverse position to hold, but somehow typical of the self-harming administration that has been in charge at No10 since the 2016 Referendum.

As the Croydon-based comedian Mark Steel pointed out, “Wonderful analysis from Theresa May, that the reason so many people voted for anti-Brexit parties is they ‘want us to get on and deliver Brexit’.

“If she stood in the Kop, she’d say, ‘They’re all cheering for Liverpool because they want Spurs to get on and win’.”

Barwell, as a keen Liverpool fan, should understand that analogy.

And unlike Barwell, Mayhem and the Tory government, Liverpool could be out of Europe by the end of next week.

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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