Jack Buck, the Labour Party employee who last month was at the centre of a candidate selection fix for the Fairfield by-election, has ordered party members in the borough to ignore that scandal and to turn out for canvassing sessions.
The Fairfield council by-election is next Thursday, November 7.
The by-election has been called after one of Buck’s friends in the party, Niro Sirisena, suddenly resigned as a councillor following what has been described as “a serious incident”.
The matter is now subject to a police investigation.
Buck, as Labour’s paid borough organiser, had a significant part in organising the candidate selection for Fairfield.
There is to be no immediate local inquest into Buck’s part in the selection fix that got Skipper on to the ballot paper: as suggested by Inside Croydon yesterday, the next meeting of Labour’s Local Campaign Forum, the body which is supposed to oversee the handling of selections and organisation of campaigns, due to be held on November 11, has been cancelled. Conveniently so for Buck and the council leader, Tony Newman.
Faced with hundreds of youngsters, many from the cult-like SPAC Nation church, out canvassing for the Tory candidate Jayde Edwards, the Labour leadership has been growing increasingly concerned about the possibility of losing what is supposed to be a safe council seat.
So Buck has decided to use the General Election to help sweep away all possible scandal – what he dismisses as mere “internal quibbles” – over his handling of the anti-democratic Fairfield nomination.
In a campaign message sent to Labour activists this week, Buck wrote: “The very best way we can start this general election bid is to *SMASH THE FAIRFIEILD [sic] BY ELECTION* the time for internal quibbles is over, if we return anything other than a stonking win in Fairfield not only will it give the Tories momentum in Croydon Central, it will also be a national story that none of us want!!
“Time for each & every one of us to step up and do their utmost before now and Nov 7th. General election canvassing will be going ahead with Fairfield canvassing running alongside – get along to both!”
Buck works from the constituency office of MP Sarah Jones, who won the Croydon Central seat in 2017 from Tory Gavin Barwell.
Many see the Conservative campaign in Fairfield as a proxy battle for the Tory candidate in Croydon Central, Brexiteer Mario Creatura, who has clearly been pulling the strings on Edwards’ ward campaign.
The General Election has been called for December 12.
Jones is delaying her own election campaign launch (described by Buck as “big-time”) until after next Thursday’s Fairfield by-election.
Buck is clearly very animated by all this.
“Comrades, Jeremy was right yesterday, this is once a lifetime opportunity for us to change this country forever,” wrote Buck, clearly on first-name terms with his party leader.
“In the next five weeks it’s on all of us to do our bit!
“So excuse my language but let’s fucking do it!!!!!!!!!,” wrote the elected Labour councillor for Faraday ward in Southwark.
Labour council figures are less than impressed with their local party’s employee.
“So he now wants to use the General Election to cover-up his own part in the stitch-up of Jose Joseph?” one said last night. “How very convenient.”
A boycott of the Skipper campaign continues by many Croydon Labour members, and some have contacted Labour MPs – John Healey, Dawn Butler and Marsha De Cordova – asking them to show solidarity for Joseph and to support the campaign boycott.
“We’re not going to just let this matter go away,” one determined activist said. “If people want to campaign to return Sarah Jones to parliament, and I very much hope that they will, then they can do so elsewhere in the constituency.”
Another Katharine Street source reflected the concerns over the Fairfield campaign. They said, “If you excuse my language, it’s looking like another huge, unholy Buck up.”
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