Newman orders investigation into his Labour colleagues

Our political editor, WALTER CRONXITE, on the latest rant from Our Great Leader

Tony Newman: ridiculous

The increasingly erratic Tony Newman, who was elected as leader of Croydon’s Labour group by no more than 40 people in a virtual behind-closed-doors meeting a week ago, has ordered a witch-hunt among his party councillor colleagues to discover “the person” who has been providing information to Inside Croydon.

This follows our breaking the news last week of Newman’s ridiculous ban on the borough’s Labour councillors from “liking” or re-tweeting links to Inside Croydon’s reports and political coverage.

Newman has recently taken to adding the hashtag of #BringItOn to his tweets, understood to be a reference to his being willing to contest a borough-wide referendum to decide whether his £56,000 per year cushty position as council leader should be replaced by a democratically-elected mayor. DEMOC, a campaign run by residents’ associations and backed by a Tory MP and a Labour Constituency Labour Party, has so far collected 14,000 signatures on a petition to trigger such a referendum.

Yesterday afternoon, ahead of the second part of the Croydon Labour group’s annual meeting this evening, Newman emailed his 40 councillor colleagues, writing in his own, barely literate style.

In his email, Newman seeks to use Inside Croydon as his excuse for his own failure to advise colleague councillors of the appointments to deputy cabinet and other positions before they were announced. All Newman’s grace and favour appointments – most of which carry generous, five-figure allowance payments – are expected to be passed on the nod at tonight’s virtual meeting.

Erratic: Newman has a new hashtag

“Comrades,” the uncomradely Newman wrote in his email, which he had given the heading “Confidential”.

Newman wrote, “A couple of colleagues have asked why we didn’t call people ahead of some of the decisions taken re part 2 of the AGM. The simple answer is, following this weeks [sic] horrific blog post abusing numerous group colleagues & as we now seek to find the person probably recording, or taking verbatim notes of everything said within our Group meetings & passing this directly to IC we have erred on the side of caution.

“Every change made, especially in part 2 of the AGM has for obvious reasons knock on [sic] consequences across a range of other areas and responsibilities, & in the current intolerable situation, lto [sic] protect everyone we wanted to ensure comrades heard at least directly from officers of the group re any changes & not read about them elsewhere.

 

“In response to the well intended [sic] comment from a colleague that we shouldn’t let IC dictate how we behave, 99% of the time I would agree, but as this hate blog has now made colleagues mental health and well-being a target, along with repeating statements they know to be unlawful, we are having to take extra precautions.”

“Repeating statements they know to be unlawful” is thought to be a reference to Newman and his nark, chief whip Clive Fraser, failing to report to the police a serious incident of domestic violence. Newman’s grasp of libel laws appears to be as flimsy as his grip on the council’s finances.

Failed legal threat: Steve Reed OBE

Solicitors acting on behalf of Newman have written to Inside Croydon three times in the six months in an effort to have the website remove its reports of Newman’s conduct last October, over the abrupt resignation of one of Councillor Niro Sirisena (one of those councillors who, a year ago, Newman was rewarded with lavish council allowances).

Inside Croydon has robustly rejected the approach by Newman’s lawyers. We maintain that our reports are entirely accurate – indeed, Newman has himself has confirmed the details.

In launching a witch-hunt against his own councillors, Newman appears to be following in the footsteps of another Blairite council leader, Steve Reed OBE, who before he became MP for Croydon North, was the leader of Lambeth Council.

There, it was revealed that Reed used council staff at Brixton Town Hall to spy on his own Labour colleagues, trawling through council email accounts in a vain attempt to discover who may have been leaking information against him.

When Inside Croydon reported this, Reed demanded that we remove our report from the website or he would sue. That report remains available on the internet to this day – it is based on an official council report – and Reed’s bluster and threats came to nothing.

Probably a bit like Newman’s new #BringItOn hashtag.


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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
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6 Responses to Newman orders investigation into his Labour colleagues

  1. Oh dear me. He must finally be feeling quite insecure.

  2. Infamy! Infamy! They’ve all got it in for me!

    Just because he’s paranoid doesn’t mean we’re not out to get him. He’s becoming unhealthily obsessed with keeping his dirty deeds secret, and with good reason. The more people know how badly he runs things, the more his chances of clinging to power will fade. He’s become a liability rather than an asset to Croydon Labour Party now that the referendum for a Democratically Elected Mayor of Croydon is just 46 weeks away. Those in favour of this huge change are going to win, meaning that Tony’s councillors have the choice of lining up loyally but stupidly behind an obvious loser of a leader, or dumping him now and finding a winning Mayoral candidate.

    • It really would be quite unwise for Tony to stand as Mayor if the outcome of the forthcoming vote is that we should have an elected Mayor.

      There have been one or two successes during his reign but the litany of failures vastly outnumbers them: Westfield, Brick by Brick, Fairfield Halls, Surrey Street market, planning, the Hotel, Social Services, finances.

      Circumstances had some part to play in these but the majority have been caused by a mixture of vaunted and unmerited ambition, inept personnel choices, misperceptions, insensitivity, a high degree of unselective political nepotism and an inability to share and to trust political colleagues.

      They will all come up to bite him from behind as soon as there is an election.

      If he were to say now that he will not be standing that would be a clever and sensible move and allow the Labour Councillors who are currently suppressed, to begin to plan a campaign. Among them are more than a few able, articulate and principled individuals whose voice no one has been allowed to hear.

  3. sebastian tillinger says:

    I don’t think Croydon residents particularly care when or how they learn about Newman’s antics in his privately run cabinet club because the truth will always out.

    Enough, please, of the whinging about his cabinet’s plans games being made public – it’s quite pathetic: Cllr Newman is an elected official and should be regularly communicating with the electorate – the technology is there but he shirks it. Why doesn’t he do an online broadcast every two weeks to engage residents and inform them of what the council is up to and more specifically how they are addressing the very real crisis we are in now. This is no more than an elected Mayor will be expected to do.

    If Cllr Tony Newman wants to have a little taste of ‘horrific’ and ‘detrimental effects on mental health and well being’, I suggest he attends one of his paid cabinet mate’s planning meetings where he will see Croydon residents treated like second class citizens. After the punitive 3 minute clock has struck, their worries and concerns, always based on current planning policy and guidance, is swept aside by Cllr Scott like some unelected tin-pot-dictator. Scott has bullied officers into acquiescing to his world-view of planning and residents are disempowered and disenfranchised.

    Sort this out and the half dozen other car-crashes happening in Croydon as well as the £1.5billion debt we’ve been landed with and you might find, Mr Newman, the Croydon electorate have a bit more respect for your administration.

    Ps – Inside Croydon is the only credible local news source that is used by the residents of Croydon, RAs, developers, Councillors, Council employees and other news organisations. Everyone but Mr Newman, it would appear.

  4. Alan Stanton says:

    I don’t live in Croydon, don’t know Mr Newman, and am unfamiliar with his political record – good or bad. But even a quick search on freedom of speech will turn up inspiring quotations from a very wide range of people. For example from Rosa Parks to Rosa Luxemburg. From George Orwell to Robert Burns.
    Perhaps Mr Newman and his allies should think about Martin Luther King’s saying: “A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true.”
    If even a significant number of Inside Croydon’s reports are accurate, Mr Newman should back away from any moves to secrecy, to gagging elected councillors and from increasing autocracy. If he believes the website contains falsehood then – as Louis Brandeis once wrote: “the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.”

    I’m certain Mr Newman knows that: “If Liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”

    And perhaps:
    “Here’s freedom to them that wad read,
    Here’s freedom to them that wad write,
    There’s nane ever fear’d
    that the truth should be heard,
    But they whom the truth would indite.”

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