De-selected councillor Pelling: ‘This is damaging my health’

CROYDON LABOUR IN CRISIS: The target of an anti-democratic disciplinary process has made it clear that his party’s pursuit of him is damaging him, while further de-selections of council candidates are threatened. EXCLUSIVE by STEVEN DOWNES

Under pressure: Andrew Pelling

Andrew Pelling, the Labour councillor threatened with deselection for the apparently heinous crime of having been in contact with Inside Croydon, says that the bitter recriminations and disruption caused by the party’s disciplinary process has had a damaging impact on his health.

And Inside Croydon has learned that there could be at least two other party members, both democratically selected to stand as candidates at the May 2022 Town Hall elections, who are now being subjected to similar “double jeopardy” reviews by Labour officials.

Pelling is in his second spell as a local councillor, representing Waddon which together with Robert Canning and Joy Prince they won from the Tories in 2014. Waddon is the only ward in the whole of the Croydon South constituency to have Labour councillors.

Pelling joined Labour in 2011 after previously having been the Conservative MP for Croydon Central between 2005 and 2010, as well as the borough’s first member of the London Assembly, and serving as a Tory councillor for 24 years, including a spell as the leader of their Town Hall group.

It is widely known that Pelling suffered with mental health issues following the end of his parliamentary career, which was ended in controversial circumstances.

Calling the shots: Steve Reed stooge Joel Bodmer

In a comment posted on this website, Pelling says that this latest threat of de-selection, “impacts on me personally, too”.

Pelling writes, “Actually getting rather serious, it’s damaged my health.”

He adds, “I have been subjected to Orwellian investigations into my relations with iC. It still goes on.

“It’s just an Alice in Wonderland world where my candidature for Labour has been rescinded based on ‘evidence’ of five openly available free press articles in iC themselves openly penned by other people. The Labour party locally seems to be doing a poor Alyaksandr Lukashenka impression…

“It’s just peculiar that I am recalled from my Labour candidature in Waddon for allegedly talking to iC. I confess that I do speak to iC. Talking to the media is what politicians do.

“Banning those who talk to iC is more vital apparently than being a good councillor putting Waddon and its residents first. More important than asking pertinent questions at scrutiny. Of greater concern, too, than [the] serious money that comes from chairing a Croydon Pension Fund that’s outperformed local government pension funds by making one good call after another and made £787.9million (up 93 per cent) since I started chairing it. £390,000 a day made, every single day, since March 2016.

“The reality is that Inside Croydon is the only body reporting on the council and Croydon public life in detail. It’s also the only Croydon organisation actually consistently holding the council to account.

“Freedom of speech should be what we stand for as British people. We should value the press.

“I kind of presumed when I joined Labour over 10 years ago that Labour was a party with liberal values. In Croydon, though, the Labour Party can, on occasion, betray a nasty authoritarian, intolerant streak in its makeup.

Cuts: Croydon Council leader Hamida Ali

“The infantile formal boycotting of iC continues by Labour, the council leader and the council’s press office.”

Pelling used his comment to make another money-saving suggestion for the council, as a means to avoid removing Council Tax Support from thousands of the borough’s most vulnerable households, as the Labour-run council under leader Hamida Ali seems determined to do next year.

Pelling describes the continuing generous spend on the council’s propaganda department as “a pathetic, sad tragedy”.

“There is hardly any other local press for the council press office to talk with,” Pelling writes, “so it’s just odd how there are not cuts [in the press office] when the council is axing services and hacking away at benefits for those in need. That’s an easy early saving for an incoming Mayor.

“If you are employing someone to talk to the local press who is doing that job by resolutely not speaking to the press and just issuing press releases that aren’t sent to the press, that person is frankly redundant.

“It’s a pathetic, sad tragedy that that money is not being used to pay for benefits for the needy of Croydon instead. The council intends from April 1 to axe £5.7million a year going to needy council taxpayers. An example of this would be a young lower-paid carer of a long-term sick parent seeing a £120 a month cut in support.

“For Labour Croydon, paying someone to boycott iC is a higher priority.”

Pelling reveals that the Labour group at the Town Hall under the discredited former leader Tony Newman passed a number of motions in private condemning “the misogynistic hate site”.

Ban: Tony Newman, the discredited former Labour leader, started the ban

Pelling asks, “What good does that do?”

And Labour councillors have been ordered not to retweet Inside Croydon content. “This ban on retweeting has generally been observed on pain of party discipline,” Pelling says.

“However we are very encouragingly seeing people break that line, including the chief whip [Clive Fraser]. I think this comes from the good influence of Val Shawcross.” Shawcross was named earlier this month as Labour’s candidate in next May’s Croydon Mayoral election.

Pelling describes Shawcross as “one other professional politician in Croydon who talks to iC openly”.

Pelling refused to attend the kangaroo court of a re-panelling interview which was arranged earlier this month by Labour’s Local Campaign Forum, ostensibly to look into allegations that he had been involved in five articles published on this website.

He has since then been told that the LCF may review the process, but not until after January 1 – providing a sort of “Christmas truce” over the dispute.

Sources close to Pelling suggest that he has received further warnings from Joel Bodmer, the chair of the LCF and stooge of Progress MP Steve Reed OBE, instructing him not to make further public comments about his situation.

The attempt to gag Pelling included notification that officials will scroll through his social media looking for references to Pelling’s preferred description, “rescinded”. Pelling has continued to tweet using the hashtag #rescinded.

Serious politician: Valerie Shawcross supported the change to Mayor and speaks to iC

But Bodmer and his party officials may yet be creating even more re-selection work for themselves.

Back in the summer Jamie Audsley, the Bensham Manor councillor and, like Pelling, a strong supporter of a switch to the Mayoral system, was blocked from being re-selected to stand next May on the basis that his blatant support for a change in the way the council is run was not made obvious enough.

Now,  party sources suggest that Bodmer and his LCF thought police are also rowing back on the selections as candidates of other Labour members who publicly supported the campaign to switch to a Mayoral system.

With Labour’s selection process effectively stalled because they have run out of women candidates, and 24 out of their 41 councillors from January 2020 having already quit, are standing down or having been de-selected, Bodmer could face a busy few weeks finding suitably convincing replacement candidates who all meet Blairite Reed’s apparently rigorous demands.

Read more: Labour members angry over ‘Orwellian’ deselection of Pelling
Read more: Pelling banned by Labour for daring to speak to Inside Croydon

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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 council elections, 2022 Croydon Mayor election, Andrew Pelling, Hamida Ali, Jamie Audsley, Tony Newman, Val Shawcross, Waddon and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to De-selected councillor Pelling: ‘This is damaging my health’

  1. Bodger and Weed should be charged with harassment, intimidation and bringing their party into disrepute

  2. Jim Bush says:

    I don’t know if the first (elected) Croydon Mayor is allowed a Chief of Staff, but if Val Shawcross is elected next year, perhaps Turncoat Pelling could become her Chief of Staff (?). This would be similar to his successor as (Tory) Croydon Central MP, Gavin Barwell, becoming Teresa May’s Chief of Staff when she was PM ! But I suspect that Val Shawcross would not be able to nominate her Chief of Staff from promotion to the House of Lords, as the (undeserving) Baron Barwell was, when he had run out of cushy jobs in the Tory party.

  3. Anthony Miller says:

    “I kind of presumed when I joined Labour over 10 years ago that Labour was a party with liberal values”

    It was before Keir got there. Now it feels like almost everyone in Labour is suspended or sanctioned these days. Who would have thought that hiring an ex Director of Public Prosecutions as leader would end in…? Say what you like about Mr Blair and Mr Corbyn but one thing both understood is that Labour is at its most effective when it is a broad church. Starmer on the other hand seems to regard all his grass roots as weeds to be pulled up. I know this is about the local party but they take their cues from their leader who let’s face it is so vindictive he had to withdraw the whip from his predecessor. Bizarre really when Corbyn hasn’t been thrown out the party or sanctioned by the NEC… Where will it end…?

  4. Sallym says:

    “The reality is that Inside Croydon is the only body reporting on the council and Croydon public life in detail. It’s also the only Croydon organisation actually consistently holding the council to account”. So very very true. The LGO is toothless and our MPs seem powerless. Thank you IC.

  5. So Joel Bodmer, the tool owned by Steve Reed MP OBE, is able to tell an elected representative of considerably more value than the aforementioned puppet master, which parts of the media can be spoken to and about what?

    Who is this little wet marshmallow, Joel Bodmer?

  6. Paul says:

    Croydon’s Labour Party seems hellbent on handing the borough on a plate to the Tories come the next local elections in 2022.

  7. What the hell is wrong with these people ? Do they want a Labour presence in Croydon or is all to be sacrificed in favour of toeing a specific line ? Let’s just get Val Shawcross in as an elected Mayor and allow her to pick a competent team, including Cllr Pelling, instead of the bunch of incompetent muppets who are hanging on to power by the skin of their teeth.

  8. moyagordon says:

    Silencing elected representatives is very worrying. Summons comparisons with what’s happening in Hong Kong at the moment, where people are being denied freedom of speech.

  9. Anita Smith says:

    If Valerie Shawcross wants to establish her credentials with Croydon voters, she needs to call out the rotten behaviour of the local Labour party and put distance between herself and them. Until she does, she runs the risk of being branded just more of the same.

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