Former City Hall chief Shawcross enters Croydon Mayor race

By WALTER CRONXITE, political editor

Serious politician: Valerie Shawcross CBE

Valerie Shawcross, a former deputy mayor of London and widely acknowledged as one of the best leaders of the council Croydon has ever had, wants to be Labour’s candidate to run in the election for the borough’s first directly-elected mayor.

“I want to come back to this new updated role of mayor because I know I can make a difference,” Shawcross said this morning.

“There’s work to do on improving the way Croydon runs and building better relationships between the council and the community.”

Upper Norwood resident Shawcross is the first serious political figure with a London-wide profile to declare their interest in running. She is seeking election to the new office, which she says she has supported and voted for in this month’s referendum.

Shawcross was a London Assembly Member for 16 years after having been a Croydon councillor in New Addington between 1994 and 2000. She was made CBE in 2002 for services to local government.

Croydon Conservatives have named Jason Perry, the leader of the Town Hall opposition group, as their candidate for mayor.

In a statement issued by Shawcross’s campaign team this morning, they said, “Shawcross will seek the Labour nomination after decades of experience of delivery in local government and City Hall.”

It was when Shawcross was leader of the council in the late 1990s that Croydon’s tram system was delivered. Shawcross then went on to work alongside Labour Mayors of London Ken Livingstone and Sadiq Khan, becoming chair of the London Assembly’s transport committee and then Deputy Mayor of London for Transport, working up key schemes such as the Ultra-Low Emission Zone to clean up London’s air. She also spent eight years as Chair of the London Fire Brigade.

More recently,  Shawcross has worked as the chair of the Crystal Palace Park Trust.

Friends in high places: Shawcross was appointed London’s deputy mayor by Sadiq Khan

Today, she said, “As a Croydon resident who has lived here since 1985, I’m announcing my intention to seek selection as the Labour candidate at next May’s Croydon mayoral election.

“I believe the kind of experiences I’ve had being in charge of large organisations are needed in my home borough. In the recent referendum I voted for an elected mayor for this borough because it’s clear that Croydon needed to refresh its system of local government and renew its leadership. It needs to press the reset button.

“I want to come back to this new updated role of Mayor because I know I can make a difference. There’s work to do on improving the way Croydon runs and building better relationships between the Council and the community.

“A Labour council should listen to local people and create opportunities for community involvement in running local neighbourhoods and facilities like parks. We need, as a community, to start tackling the problems of the current era. People are worried about energy costs, issues like crime, fly tipping and our local and global environment.

“Incompetent decision making by Conservative national government is impacting badly on our businesses, residents and local public services.

“I believe that I’ve had enough successful political and management experience in London to make a difference to Croydon and the lives of everyone who lives here and I want a chance to bring what I’ve learned over my 25 years in public life back to Croydon. I’m committed to Croydon. It’s a great place to live and we should be moving it forwards.”

Labour’s lengthy selection process requires potential candidates to apply by next Monday, November 1, before local constituency parties nominate their preferred choices. These will then be considered by a panel of party officials before party members across the borough will get to vote during December.

Read more: Croydon votes 4-to-1 in favour of having directly elected mayor
Read more: Mayoral referendum: how Croydon voted, ward-by-ward
Read more: Labour MP Reed accused of ‘bad politics’ by Blairite peer


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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 2022 Croydon Mayor election, Ken Livingstone, London Assembly, London-wide issues, Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, Val Shawcross and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Former City Hall chief Shawcross enters Croydon Mayor race

  1. I just hope that the local party sees sense (Croydon CLP sees sense? That’s an oxymoron to beat them all).

    Their internal squabbles and unwillingness to look outside the immediate party for a Mayoral candidate will so nullify their chances of election that even the loser Barwell would stand a chance against them.

    Valerie Shawcross, with her great range of successes in a variety of posts, would make a great candidate.

  2. CentralCroydon says:

    Presumably she will be excluded from being the mayoral candidate as she voted against the official labour line of sticking with the “strong leader”.

    • Ian Kierans says:

      Strangely the official Party line is to have local Mayors so it was not those that voted for a mayor that broke official Labour Policy.

      People are excluded for other spurious reasons also and usually that they failed to adhere to covering up and then breaking ranks. This Constituency party has a lot of issues and many self interests that are not working for the good of the Borough and that is not the Councillors.
      Change does have to occur but it will be unhelpful if one group of self interest takes over from the other and still no benefit to the residents or voters.

      Perhaps Ms Shawcross can assist with that – perhaps not. But she is a more credible candidate than what was listed from the Conservative group. Nor is she sullied with the disasters of both the previous Labour and Tory administrations.

    • …..and .because she realised that the official recommendation to stick with a “strong leader” meant sticking with incompetence, vanity, arrogance, ineptness, cronyism and short sightedness?

  3. Doesn’t the Leader of Croydon Council work at City Hall too?

    Is this a stich-up?

    • Q: Is this a stitch-up? A: Only if you have any evidence to back up such an assertion.

      And to do that, you might need to check your facts.

      Val Shawcross retired from the Deputy Mayor position at City Hall in 2018.
      Hamida Ali, the leader of Croydon Council, is a middle-ranking employee of the Greater London Authority, a job she started after Shawcross stepped down.
      Ali has spent most of the past 12 months on unpaid leave. If the job has continued to be held open for her, based on information iC has received, she’ll be returning to her full-time role next May.

  4. Christopher Myers says:

    This is encouraging!

  5. Chris Flynn says:

    Top work on the photo caption.

  6. Stanley Lowy says:

    I wrote this letter to the Chairman of the DEMOC campaign but have not had a reply as yet.

    Congratulations on the outcome of the DEMOC Campaign and a sincere ‘Thank You’ for all you and your colleagues did to bring this endeavour to a successful outcome.

    I am writing as a man in my ninetieth year who has lived in Sanderstead since 1946. When I became an adult I was very active in local and national politics holding offices in the then East Surrey constituency and later as it became South Croydon.
    I am writing to you because I do not wish to see all your hard work leave Croydon governance much as before, which is what the people who live here so decisively rejected in the Referendum, or I thought we had?

    I thought that the assertion in the campaigning that a Mayor with executive powers, elected by all the citizens of Croydon, would cost no more than a Leader of the Council appointed by a cabal of his politico colleagues, no doubt after a horse-trading or back-scratching sessions, was an error if you pardon my saying so.

    I now hear that a present serving Councillor is likely to be nominated by the Conservatives as their Mayoral candidate. Is this not a perpetuation of the cabal syndrome?

    The Mayor, I would and others would like to see elected, is one who gets the nomination after an open, nationwide selection process. A person paid twice or thrice or whatever it takes to attract the right man or woman, who has a track record in business and/or politics and who can command that salary and is a public figure who can promote and manage Croydon, rooting out any inadequacies in our governance and government that contribute or perpetuate to our parlance state presently.

    We need someone who knows the working of national government and the functioning of our national bureaucracy, has leadership skills and is prepared to work hard, very hard, to save us from the disasters from which we are presently suffering.
    Frankly I wish for an unfair advantage for Croydon to make us thrive as one of the largest towns in England.
    We will not thrive if we just give a new title to one of our present councillors, hard-working as they may be.

    I am not shy to put my pittance forward in the shape of £xxxxx to a fund to appoint a well-briefed Head- Hunting firm to place before an appointments committee from Croydon suitable public figures to meet the brief. It must be at a level of remuneration that will attract a cohort of suitable persons to apply.

    But I am frightened that your hard work for Croydon will be for nought if we do the wrong thing now.
    Please continue to bring your dream of not just any Mayor but and outstanding Mayor to Croydon.

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