Spooky! Ghost of council’s past returns in time for Halloween

It must be Halloween. A ghost of Croydon Council’s past has turned up to haunt a mayoral event.

Haunting presence: (from left) Tony Newman together with Humayun Kabir and Rahena Chowdhury Kabir and Stuart Collins

A year since Croydon Council went bankrupt, and nine months since he was forced to resign as a councillor after having been suspended from the Labour Party, Tony Newman, the discredited former council leader, was spotted last night at a fund-raising event for the charities supported by Sherwan Chowdhury, the ceremonial Mayor of Croydon.

One of Chowdhury’s predecessors as mayor, Humayun Kabir, helpfully included a photograph of himself alongside his former Town Hall boss on his social media. It represents a rare sighting of Newman, who looked as if he’s never really gone away.

Newman, when trousering 55 grand a year as council leader, was an inveterate selfie-taker, his gurning mug appearing in every possible situation.

But since March, consummate self-publicist Newman has been very quiet, with no activity on his previously hyper-active Twitter account until one solitary re-Tweet a fortnight ago. He has updated his profile, however, and is apparently studying at the Open University, so there’s a chance that Newman might not remain completely unqualified for everything for too much longer.

Last night’s photo was taken at the Farleigh Golf Club in Selsdon.

The picture also includes Stuart Collins, Newman’s long-time deputy leader. Collins was one of the leading lights in Croydon Labour’s doomed effort to block the move to the council having an executive mayor, elected by the whole borough.

Overt influence: Newman, suspended by the Labour Party, met new councillor Mike Bonello straight after May’s Woodside ward by-election

The clamour for an elected mayor, which attracted 20,000 signatures to a petition, was widely acknowledged as being a response to Newman’s disastrous time in charge at the Town Hall.

The picture, together with one taken back in May with his successor as councillor for Woodside ward, Mike Bonello, also goes some way to reinforce the suspicion that Newman continues to exert some influence over his old cabal at the Town Hall.

“Perhaps it’s time to call in Ghostbusters?” one Katharine Street source said.

“Either that, or we need to perform the equivalent of a Town Hall exorcism and publish and act upon the findings of the Penn Report that looked into possible wrong-doing at the council.”

Read more: The Audit Report: ‘Tony Newman always has been a coward’
Read more: Officials to investigate possible wrong-doing at council
Read more: Conflicts of interest, incomplete contracts, unlawful payments

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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
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