Political editor WALTER CRONXITE on the inevitable outcome of Labour’s highly controlling mayoral selection process
Val Shawcross has been selected as Labour’s candidate in the Croydon Mayoral contest next May, after polling 76.5 per cent of the vote.
The laborious Labour Party process of nominations and then three weeks of voting among members saw Shawcross, the former council leader, London Assembly Member and deputy mayor of London, poll 844 votes from the 1,103 cast by today’s noon deadline.
Councillor Callton Young, the only other runner allowed to be short-listed by party officials – even though others, such as Jamie Audsley, received many more nominations from members – achieved just 259 votes from an official total Croydon Labour membership of 2,578.
Croydon residents voted in a referendum held at the start of October to change the system of governance at the Town Hall from the current “strong leader” version, to having a directly elected mayor. The election for Croydon’s first executive Mayor is due to be held on Thursday May 5, 2022, alongside the election of the borough’s 70 councillors across 28 wards.
Given Christmas and covid, there’s unlikely to be much campaign activity before the New Year.
Shawcross will now go up against Jason Perry, the deeply dull choice of local Tories as their mayoral candidate, and Green candidate Peter Underwood, while Richard Howard is expected to be the LibDems’ runner (they are due to hold their meeting in an Old Coulsdon phone box in January to confirm their selection).
Inside Croydon also understands that there is now a very high likelihood of at least one high-ish profile and well-funded independent candidate being announced within days.
But likely to be the greatest obstacle to overcome for Shawcross’s hopes of becoming Croydon’s first elected Mayor will be the toxicity surrounding the council created by the discredited administration of former council leader Tony Newman and his numpties, many of whom still retain positions in the cabinet or other influence at the Town Hall and in the local party.
Shawcross issued a statement tonight: “Over the coming months I want to campaign to change Croydon for the better, I want to do three vital things across the whole of the borough – Clean up our environment; Reduce crime; and Revitalise our borough and town centre – recreate Croydon as a ‘Start Up City’, a place for entrepreneurs and creative young business people.
“We need a council that listens to residents and gets the basics right for the whole of Croydon.
“I believe that I’ve had enough successful political and management experience in London to make a difference to Croydon, bring it through its current difficulties and improve the lives of everyone who lives here.
“I want a chance to bring what I’ve learned over my 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.”
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