Newman feels pressure as Fairfield selection referred for review

Political editor WALTER CRONXITE on how an internal party scandal is about to cause more discomfort for the Croydon council leader

Tony Newman: lost key votes at local campaign committee

As council leader Tony Newman comes under increasing pressure over a range of policy failures, while the Democratically Elected Mayor of Croydon campaign closes in on the signatures it needs to force a borough-wide referendum, news emerges that the veteran Labour politician is also losing his grip on power within his own party.

Last month, Newman was thwarted twice on key votes at a meeting of the Local Campaign Forum, the internal Labour committee made up of representatives from the borough’s three parliamentary constituency parties.

In the past, Newman has always held the balance of power on this committee, as he has been able to attend with two other, hand-picked “representatives” from Labour’s council group, councillors who benefit from patronage doled out by the leader.

At last month’s LCF, Newman rolled up with his henchman Clive Fraser (£26,316.96 per year in council “allowances” as the group chief whip) and the increasingly fraught Alisa Flemming (the cabinet member whose “loyalty bonus” amounts to £45,168 of public money in council allowances awarded to her by Newman).

Despite such backing, Newman’s writ was overturned, right from the very first item on the agenda.

That was to elect a chair of the LCF.

David White: author of the damning report

“Thirsty” Fraser nominated Yvonne Green, a past favourite of Newman’s regime who has the dubious claim to fame that the last time she held office, she managed to ensure that the LCF went an entire 12 months without meeting…

Delegates from the left managed to put forward the local campaigner Joyce Reid, and she was duly elected as chair when it came to a vote.

Newman and his chums ought to have got the hint. They didn’t.

Newman had set the toxic tone for the meeting by demanding a declaration from all those attending to say whether they had been guilty of leaking a report from the LCF’s previous meeting to Inside Croydon. Oddly, Newman never did discover who the source was. Nor did it occur to him how stupid a move this will have been.



That report, on the mishandling of the candidate selection for November’s Fairfield ward by-election, was drafted by David White, a retired solicitor and former CLP secretary in Croydon Central. The findings of White’s report were critical of the manner in which the candidate’s nomination had been handled, in what amounted to a conspiracy among senior Croydon Labour figures to get one of their mates on to the council.

White’s carefully researched and detailed document was later publicly derided by Newman, in an email to councillor colleagues that has also been seen by Inside Croydon. Newman characterised the report as “defamatory smears… as a result of David Whites [sic] nasty fantasies”.

Best mates: Caragh Skipper was elected to the council after a internal Labour stitch-up involving Newman and Chris Clark (centre)

White reported that LCF officials and members had been fed inaccurate information about the eligibility to stand for the council of Jose Joseph, the Surrey Street market trader who Fairfield Labour members had selected as their candidate. White’s report includes confirmation of this interpretation from council’s most senior solicitor.

Despite Newman’s grandstanding claim to party members that Inside Croydon’s reporting was in some way “defamatory”, he has taken no action to seek a correction or apology.

Newman’s missive to councillors went on, at some length, repeating the false claims about Joseph, which were used to railroad through Caragh Skipper as the Labour candidate.

At February’s LCF meeting, despite all Newman and his clique’s best efforts to cover-up the selection scandal, when the committee, chaired by Reid, moved on to item (4) on its agenda, they duly passed a motion that will see the conduct of the candidate selection for the Fairfield by-election referred to an independent review, conducted by party members from outside Croydon.

Just the sort of scrutiny which Newman really never expected, nor wanted.


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 inside.croydon@btinternet.com
This entry was posted in Caragh Skipper, Chris Clark, Clive Fraser, Croydon Central, Croydon Council, David White, Fairfield, Jose Joseph, Tony Newman and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Newman feels pressure as Fairfield selection referred for review

  1. sebastiantillinger7694 says:

    ‘In the past, Newman has always held the balance of power on this committee, as he has been able to attend with two other, hand-picked “representatives” from Labour’s council group, councillors who benefit from patronage doled out by the leader”

    I find it reprehensible that Newman is in power not because of his prowess as a 2020 politician, but because of how much and to whom he doles out expenses. And then he increases his support by proposing cabinet job-share roles whereby two people, not one are beholden to him. Case in point is Scott who wanted to carry on ruining planning in Croydon and be paid for his time doing it. Paid by you and I.

    Expenses were first made available to local politicians in the 1970s as allowances to reimburse local councillors for their time. But the effect has been to produce a generation of professional town hall politicians who use the money to supplement mediocre ‘careers’ elsewhere. I don’t think the irony of this is lost on many people; someone who is mediocre enough to need their salary supplemented by the public purse are not the sort of people we want in local government.

    I’m sure Clive Fraser is a lovely guy to have a drink with, but I’ve seen him perform on the Planning Committee and fail to understand what he could do in Cabinet and on other committees that would justify his £26.3k ‘salary’. The only justification is he knows Tony Newman and backs him up at every opportunity. Hardly a free thinker.

    Councillors say they work to serve the community. Why not do just that? Forget your allowance and live off your salary like everyone else does. And then let the allowance money go to frontline services for the most vulnerable people in Croydon that are being affected by the cuts. The impact for those who depend on these cut services are devastating.

    And the likes of Clive Fraser can still claim his bus fair, a boots sandwich or the occasional Uber home, but not the £26k he trousers every year. That is £700 for every week in which he’s in attendance at the odd evening meeting. This is how Newman buys his power. And this is why we need an elected Mayor.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Colin Cooper says:

    It’s about time that Tony’s behavior was investigated, hopefully the truth will come out and we can be rid of this poor excuse of a “leader” a.s.a.p. closely followed by the rest of the clique! Maybe whilst their at it they can get our money back and reduce the debt of £1.5 billion this motley crew have created by misspending our hard earned money on vanity projects and lining their own pockets, like Brick by Bricking it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. RJ Newman says:

    It is beyond belief that this debacle has been dragged out for so long. It is inarguable that Labour Party employee Jack Buck conspired to get Jose Joseph improperly removed as candidate. A significant number of Fairfield Ward party members have walked away as a result of this corruption. It has left an ever-growing stain on the party. We know Buck was involved but Fat Tony has refused to act. Why?

    Like

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