Relic of Newman regime to face Labour confidence vote

Pat Ryan, the veteran councillor for Crystal Palace and Upper Norwood, tonight faces a confidence motion at a meeting of his Labour Party branch.

Pat Ryan: a relic of the Newman regime

Ryan is a relic of the Labour regime under Tony Newman which bankrupted the borough. He is going into tonight’s meeting apparently with the backing of “a significant number of members” of the Open Our Rat Runs group, who campaigned against the council’s introduction of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods in the area.

Last month, Ryan voted with the Conservatives at a meeting to determine the future of the LTNs. He was subsequently removed from the Traffic Management Advisory Committee, but he has avoided taking part in a meeting with the Labour chief whip at the Town Hall,  on grounds of ill health.

Ryan had previously shown support for acts of vandalism against the council CCTV cameras installed at a bus gate on Auckland Road.

The agenda for tonight’s Labour ward meeting includes item 5.1: “This Branch has confidence in Cllr Pat Ryan”. 

Local Labour members who support the Open Our Rat Runs group are also calling for the creation of an unelected talking shop – a “citizens’ assembly”, as advocated by Progress MP Steve Reed OBE – intended to delay or disrupt the council’s plans for CCTV to control road use in the side streets around Crystal Palace.

Eliska Finlay, the leader of OOR, has been conducting some conspicuous lobbying on behalf of Ryan on social media in recent weeks, including getting “paid-up Labour members” to direct message her, and distributing a message under a heading, “Cllr Pat Ryan is not retiring or leaving”.

Eliska Finlay’s appeal on behalf of Pat Ryan. Party embers suggest that the local Labour group has been ‘infiltrated’

Finlay’s message included an appeal, “To show our gratitude and solidarity”, for members of Open Our Rat Runs to post messages.

“It’s clear that OOR is trying to infiltrate the party,” one branch member told Inside Croydon last night.

“Whether Pat Ryan is retiring or standing down is not a matter for OOR. It is a matter for the councillor and the Labour Party. And there will be a selection process in the ward to choose candidates for the 2022 local elections later this year.”

Septuagenarian Ryan has been a councillor in the area since 1992, but in recent years has increasingly courted controversy at the Town Hall and within the local Labour group. The chair and the secretary of the ward branch, both women, resigned last year in protest at Ryan’s conduct towards them at a meeting, where he was accused of having “an embarrassing outburst” over the choice of speaker at a meeting.

The Crystal Palace branch chair, Sue Dzendzera, and secretary, Christina Brandenburg, quit after Ryan “went off on one” because he opposed allowing the meeting to hear a talk from local environmental activist Tom Chance about the community land trust which the (Labour-run) council had helped to establish in the area.

Ryan’s behaviour at that meeting is subject to investigation within the local party.

It has been suggested that the party officers were furious with Ryan after he obtained a ward members’ email address list – potentially breaking several party rules and the law on data protection in the process.

One of the other motions put forward to tonight’s branch meeting. Labour members who support LTNs suggest that MP Reed has been working with the Open Our Rat Runs group, too

Prominent in his support for Ryan through this episode was Tony Newman, the now-disgraced former leader of the Labour group in Croydon. Newman sent a message of support for Ryan to all members in Crystal Palace and Upper Norwood.

Last week, Newman was suspended from the Labour Party for his part in the financial collapse of Croydon Council.

Read more: Veteran councillor Ryan under investigation over ‘outburst’

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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1 Response to Relic of Newman regime to face Labour confidence vote

  1. Tony Newman is a meddler. Why has his council security pass not been revoked?

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