CROYDON IN CRISIS: An elected councillor has described his party’s local election selection process as ‘flawed and corrupt’, as it emerges that Mary Croos has joined Jamie Audsley in being rejected as a candidate for 2022.
EXCLUSIVE by STEVEN DOWNES
Mary Croos, who has been an elected representative for Fairfield ward since 2018, did not pass the interview for prospective candidates.
“To some extent, it is hardly surprising,” according to our source in the local party.
“She’s not known as ‘Silent Mary’ for nothing. We’ve heard hardly a peep from her in almost four years as a councillor.”
In 2018, when helping to win the re-configured town centre Fairfield ward from the Tories, Croos became the first woman with a Tamil heritage to be elected on to Croydon Council.
It is understood that Croos has appealed against the decision of her interview panel that she should not be endorsed as a Labour candidate in next year’s elections.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, given her “Silent Mary” nickname, Croos had not responded to Inside Croydon’s request for a comment by the time of publication.
What makes the Labour officials’ judgement on a sitting Labour councillor seem quite so odd is that the party in Croydon has been crying out for potential women candidates.
Labour’s gender balance rules makes it a requirement that every ward in the borough should have at least one woman among the party’s candidates. Croydon has 28 wards, but Labour received only 29 candidate applications from women.
Applications were re-opened to try to encourage more women to apply: just 10 did so.
Despite this paucity of Croydon women wanting to stand for election as Labour candidates, Inside Croydon understands that the interview panel – made up of senior Labour councillors from elsewhere in London – not only rejected Councillor Croos’ application, but also that of her daughter, who is also called Mary.
It may be that Councillor Croos’ contribution to the council’s work during her three years at the Town Hall was not considered strong enough.
But given the “achievements” of a large proportion of the Labour group on the council in bankrupting the borough and exhibiting “corporate blindness” over the authority’s financial failings, questions are being asked how several other sitting councillors have possibly survived the selection process.
If Croos’s appeal is unsuccessful, she will become the second Labour backbench councillor to have been rejected by the party’s selection process, following Jamie Audsley.
Today, one of Labour’s 41 councillors told Inside Croydon on condition of anonymity, “I think Jamie has been treated disgracefully by the Labour Party.
“There is absolutely nothing to justify his deselection – especially when compared to the highly dubious conduct of some other Labour councillors who did get through the panel.”
The councillor highlighted instances of a veteran colleague – and former chief whip – actually breaking the Town Hall whip and voting with the Tories and against party policy.
“If Jamie Audsley and others have been unsuccessful for no apparent reason, it beggars belief that Pat Ryan should get through when he openly voted with the Tories in the Traffic Management Advisory Committee to block his own party’s proposals for the Crystal Palace and Upper Norwood Low Traffic Neighbourhoods,” the councillor said.
“It’s difficult to reach any conclusion other than the selection process is flawed and corrupt.”
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