Party chaos as candidate starts Mayor run as independent

Croydon Conservatives’ campaign plans have been thrown into some minor disarray, after one of their candidates selected to stand in May’s Town Hall elections as a potential ward councillor has now announced himself as an independent candidate for Croydon Mayor.

Croydon Tories announced their 70 councillor candidates for the May 2022 local elections nice and promptly back in September, before the borough-wide referendum that voted overwhelmingly in favour of having a directly-elected Mayor.

Gavin FL Palmer (the FL stands for Francis and Luffa) had been named as one of the Tories’ three hopefuls in Woodside, a Labour stronghold ward which was previously represented by the discredited former council leader Tony Newman, and where his successor, Hamida Ali, is standing for re-election in 101 days’ time.

At a by-election in the ward in May 2021 to contest the seat vacated by Newman, Mike Bonello won with a majority of more than 1,000 votes from Conservative Michelle Kazi. Third, a further 500 votes back, was the Greens’ Peter Underwood.

The Conservative candidate for Croydon Mayor on May 5 is the leader of their opposition group at the Town Hall, the deeply dull Jason Perry.

But now one of Perry’s willing foot-soldiers in the local elections, Palmer, has declared that he wants to run against his own party’s candidate for Mayor.

It is the sort of move that gets people thrown out of political parties – ask Peter Morgan.

Palmer, 49, who lives close to Shirley Hills, is the director of four property and investment companies and is a former London region chair of the UK Shareholders Association.

He is also listed as an “ambassador” for the UK Transparency Taskforce, alongside the likes of Ghislaine Maxwell’s PR advisor, Brian Basham.

Palmer has described the task of restoring Croydon’s finances and reputation as “very daunting”, but adds, “However I do have a track record of causing positive change and straight-talking problem-solving.” Which is nice.

Palmer claims to have “several initiatives and plans” which extend over 10 years, far longer than the Mayor’s mere four-year term of office.

Mayor candidate: Gavin Palmer,  recommended by his wife

But he comes highly recommended, apparently, by his wife. Which is nice.

“My wife and several close friends think I would be good as an independent Mayor of Croydon,” he has said. His wife has apparently told friends, “Gavin needs a new challenge.”

Palmer’s mayoral cover was blown when he was included in a list of five fringe candidates (from parties as obscure as the Christian People’s Alliance, the Heritage Party and the SDP…, though none from what would be recognised as the political mainstream) who have agreed to attend hustings being organised by the far-right, anti-vax Kippers who operate under the cover of the Croydon Constitutionalists. Some of the founders of the “Constitutionalists” quit UKIP because it wasn’t racist enough for them.

Our mole in the lawn of Croydon Tories’ Purley headquarters relates that on hearing the news of Palmer’s indiscretion, Perry “was more exasperated than angry”.

“The reality is that we’re not going to win any council seats in Woodside,” our Tory mole said this morning. “Palmer obviously believes he deserves a bigger stage for his as-yet-unseen talents.

“We’ll just have to find a replacement candidate for Woodside now.”

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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
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1 Response to Party chaos as candidate starts Mayor run as independent

  1. I enjoyed this ‘mild disarray’ shock-horror news story. I’m also wondering what would happen if Andrew Pelling put himself forward as mayoral candidate – Independent Labour, perhaps. An ex-Tory (ex) Labour candidate might appeal to Croydon’s demographic.

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