Shawcross leads the way in first Labour Mayor nominations

WALTER CRONXITE, political editor, on a night of embarrassing snubs for the three Newman’s numpties who are seeking selection to be their party’s candidate in next year’s mayoral election

Val Shawcross: convincing

Val Shawcross last night stormed to a decisive victory at the first constituency nomination meeting held to help determine who could be the Labour Party’s candidate to become Croydon’s first elected Mayor next May.

Shawcross got the backing of nearly two-thirds of the Croydon Central CLP members attending the special meeting and therefore will have one of their two nominations going forward to the selection panel.

But officials could yet face some awkward deliberations, as for their second nominee, Croydon Central members preferred the candidacy case of Jamie Audsley, the councillor who has been blocked by the party machine from seeking re-election next year’s Town Hall elections.

Three senior Croydon councillors – Alisa Flemming, Manju Shahul-Hameed and Callton Young, all of whom served in the council cabinet under discredited former leader Tony Newman which bankrupted the borough – had their candidacies firmly rejected by the members, with only one of them, over four rounds of voting, managing to muster more than 20 votes in one of the ballots.

Nominated: Jamie Audsley

The lengthy meeting – it began at 4pm and dragged on for more than three hours, only finishing just in time for the Strictly Come Dancing results show – is just the first step in Labour’s tortuously long selection process.

There are to be similar nomination meetings for Croydon South CLP (tomorrow, Nov 9) and Croydon North (Wednesday, Nov 10) and also for the relatively small local Co-operative Party (Thursday, Nov 11), at which the candidates’ carefully – or not-so-carefully – drafted pitches of what they think it is that makes them best-suited to be Labour’s candidate will again be considered, like a less-entertaining version of The Apprentice.

If there had been an Alan Sugar figure around last night, he will have quickly pointed his finger at the Newman numpties and local activist Donna Murray-Turner and declared, “You’re fired!”

As is Labour Party practice, the first selection was a women-only vote, to ensure that at least one nominee from Croydon Central would be female.

Shawcross, the former council leader, London Assembly Member and deputy mayor to Sadiq Khan, won hands down, with 58 out of 91 members’ votes.

A campaign slogan written by Alan Partridge: ‘I can do more for the people I care about’

The distant runner-up was Shahul-Hameed (with a campaign slogan which was surely drafted by Alan Partridge: “I can do more for the people I care about”), with just 14.

With an outright majority secured, Shawcross, thus, was nominated.

The meeting then held another ballot, this time including the men candidates, and using a transferable voting system which eliminated those with the least support until one candidate had more than 50 per cent of the votes.

This process required three rounds of voting, with Audsley top of the poll on each occasion.

Murray-Turner, who back in the summer was described as having “bragged” about having the support of the borough’s two MPs for the mayoral candidacy, was first eliminated after accruing just two votes. Callton Young was the next to go.

Audsley finally secured a majority when he polled 41 votes in the fourth round of voting, with Flemming getting just 25 to Shahul-Hameed’s 12.

The votes are in: round by round from Croydon Central

Sources at the meeting suggested that Audsley’s nomination was very much a “sympathy vote” from members who disagreed with the manner in which he was blocked from standing as a councillor again because he had openly advocated that the council should switch to the directly elected mayor system.

Once the CLP nominations are done, things could get a little messy as far as Audsley’s candidacy is concerned.

Before the candidate is chosen by a borough-wide vote of Labour members in December, the nominations are to be reviewed by a panel dominated by officials from Labour’s  London Region organisation – the very people who blocked Audsley from standing again as a councillor.

Party members in the South and North CLPs, meanwhile, are hoping that some of the other candidates take the hint after last night’s drubbings and withdraw, thereby shortening the convoluted voting process.

As one Labour member told Inside Croydon, “It’s Bake Off tomorrow night, right in the middle of Croydon South’s Zoom meeting.

“Do they really think members are going to be paying attention to all the speeches, especially from some people who failed the borough, and the party, over the council’s financial collapse, and who spent most of the last six months telling everyone how they were utterly opposed to Croydon having an executive mayor?

“The Tories have got their candidate. We need to get on with it and pick ours. It’s obvious who it needs to be.”

Read more: Former City Hall chief Shawcross enters Croydon Mayor race
Read more: Newman backers say they want to be Labour’s Mayor candidate
Read more: Croydon votes 4-to-1 in favour of having directly elected mayor

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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, Alisa Flemming, Callton Young, Croydon Central, Jamie Audsley, Manju Shahul Hameed, Sarah Jones MP, Val Shawcross and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Shawcross leads the way in first Labour Mayor nominations

  1. Blimey, what a shambles.

    Steve Reed OBE MP has the political instinct of a ham sandwich. Labour party Members have disregarded his attempts to steer events and surprise surprise, Jamie Audsley was the other credible Labour candidate.

    And Reed was one of the twits who got him deselected.

    If Val Shawcross decides against standing as Mayor, I’d suggest she’d have a very good chance in the Croydon North parliamentary seat; current incumbent last seen charging a windmill in Shirley.

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