Labour to sack councillor who voted against benefit cuts

CROYDON LABOUR IN CRISIS: The Tony Newman-led vendetta against one of his own council group seems set to reach a bitter conclusion this week when Andrew Pelling looks likely to have the whip removed for daring to vote in the interests of some of the poorest people in the borough.

On the record: Andrew Pelling voting against the benefit cuts, the only Labour councillor to do so

The unrepentant right-wing rump of third-rate Labour politicians who crashed the council’s finances with dodgy deals and crass incompetence have really gone into Alice Through The Looking-Glass territory, with a move to expel from their Town Hall group one of their members for the heinous act of voting to protect the poorest and most vulnerable in the borough.

An eight-year campaign of vilification instigated by the disgraced former council leader, Tony Newman, against one of his own Labour councillors looks set to reach a conclusion later this week when there is a vote to remove the Town Hall whip from Andrew Pelling.

The move looks likely to push Pelling into running as an independent candidate to be Croydon’s first elected, executive Mayor.

Pelling was the only Labour councillor to vote against cuts to Council Tax Support, a “Dickensian” proposal which will hit 20,000 households across the borough, including many single parents and carers.

The vote over whether Pelling should have the Labour whip removed will take place on Friday, and will see the 39 remaining Labour councillors – including the likes of Newman numpties Paul Scott, Alison Butler and Stooge Collins – plus members of the Local Campaign Forum, determine Pelling’s fate.

There have been other Labour councillors who have voted against the whip in recent times, most notably Pat Ryan. But there was never even a suggestion of sanction for Ryan. Ryan is a pal of Steve Reed and was a long-time member of Newman’s clique.

Separately, the LCF, chaired by Steve Reed groupie Joel Bodmer. has been trying to get Pelling deselected as a candidate for Waddon ward, on dubious grounds and with little evidence, with the principal accusation being that Pelling dared to speak to the media (namely, Inside Croydon).

On a mission: Reed apparatchik Joel Bodmer, campaigning last year against an elected mayor

Pelling has been forced to attend an interview where two of the three party officials on the panel just happened to be councillors from Lambeth – where Reed was once council leader and where, until recently, Bodmer was a party apparatchik.

Inside Croydon understands that two weeks ago the interview panel recommended that Pelling should be withdrawn as an approved candidate, despite his having been selected to stand again by an overwhelming majority of local members. Pelling is appealing against the decision, though without any hope of success.

He has told friends that he is being persecuted for daring to support the principle of having an elected mayor, a move which Newman regarded as a personal affront to his leadership (which it was, with good reason, as we now all know).

Another Labour councillor who championed the idea of an elected mayor, Jamie Audsley, was deselected as a vindictive consequence.

Newman’s mates in Croydon Labour, including past and present cabinet members such as Hamida Ali, Stuart King and Stooge Collins, last year squandered £10,000 in campaign funds attacking “fat cat mayors” with leaflets showing 10-pound notes being burned. The campaign was such a success that all 28 wards in Croydon rejected the Labour proposition and voted for a change to an elected mayor.

Pelling has been a Labour councillor since 2014, when with Robert Canning and Joy Prince, they won Waddon ward from the Tories, helping Newman and his numpties take control of the Town Hall. Pelling and his colleagues held Waddon again in 2018, the only red ward in the whole of the true-blue Croydon South parliamentary constituency.

Waddon councillors Canning, Prince and Pelling

Winning team: Pelling (right) with his Waddon Labour colleagues Robert Canning and Joy Prince

Pelling had previously been a Conservative councillor, first elected in 1982, going on to become leader of the Tory group, and Croydon and Sutton’s first London Assembly Member, and he was Tory MP for Croydon Central from 2005 to 2010. He lost the seat after having the Conservative whip at Westminster withdrawn after he suffered a mental health crisis.

In the 2010 General Election, he stood for parliament as an independent, but lost to his former council colleague, Gavin Barwell.

Pelling’s reinvention as a Labour councillor has not been a happy one, as he was cold-shouldered by Newman, who ignored the ex-Tory’s experience and qualifications. Pelling was marginalised to such an extent that Newman prevented him from speaking at council meetings for more than a year after he was elected.

Newman, of course, was forced to resign from the council last year and remains, technically at least, under investigation by the Labour Party for his part in the council’s financial collapse. Yet Newman’s influence in Croydon Labour remains, through old mates including Reed, Butler and Scott, and party officials like former councillor Carole Bonner.

The persecution of Pelling appears to be one last act of petty revenge from the Newman clique which bankrupted the borough, the impact of which is still being felt today through massive cuts to the council budgets, hundreds of job losses and the axing of benefits which Pelling opposed.

Waddon councillor Canning has filed a formal complaint to the Labour Party over the treatment of Pelling, including accusations of bullying, while the Croydon South constituency party has withheld thousands of pounds of campaign funds in protest at the persecution of Pelling. Disillusioned grassroots members are refusing to canvass.

In perhaps one last act of defiance by Waddon’s Labour councillors, including Pelling, last week submitted a stinging criticism of the latest version of the Labour council’s Local Plan, which they suggest is being imposed on residents unlawfully, with too many late and ill-considered changes.

Bullying: Tony Newman

The left-leaning website Skwawkbox yesterday reported the decision to remove the whip from Pelling saying, “Former Tory knows more about defending poor people than ‘Labour’.”

And they add: “Croydon is, of course, a stronghold of the Labour right and home to both Keir Starmer’s general secretary David Evans and MP Steve ‘Corbyn was soft on criminals’ bollocks Reed.”

Pelling has posted on social media that the vote will take place this Friday “on whether I should be removed from council Labour party for voting against Council Tax benefit cuts”.

Pelling wrote, “These cuts will lead to the council spending more money, not less. People will get evicted for not paying the rent and end up being a big financial cost to the council with high temporary housing costs.

“People will try to get extra jobs to cover the up to £129 less a month benefit and then will struggle on their caring roles for older residents leading to the important provision of increased care packages.”

Read more: Labour council passes £5.7m cuts to benefits for vulnerable
Read more: Local Labour party withholds campaign funds in Pelling dispute
Read more:
Labour members angry over ‘Orwellian’ deselection of Pelling
Read more:
£67m fraud at Fairfield: Town Hall row over calling in police
Read more: Conflicts of interest, incomplete contracts, unlawful payments

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About insidecroydon

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
This entry was posted in 2022 council elections, 2022 Croydon Mayor election, Alison Butler, Andrew Pelling, Hamida Ali, Joy Prince, Paul Scott, Robert Canning, Stuart Collins, Stuart King, Tony Newman, Waddon and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Labour to sack councillor who voted against benefit cuts

  1. With a ruling cabal like this, how can anyone in Waddon Ward vote Labour any more?

    We have watched 3 brilliant ward Councillors being attacked, ignored and undermined for the last 3 years by an incompetent local leadership whose sole achievement seems to have been to promote the Borough to a prime position on Private Eye’s Rotten Borough’s list.

    Now it seems the long knives have come out to back stab what seems to be the sole Councillor who is speaking out on behalf of his constituents.

    The only conclusion I can reach is that they are agents of the Tory party, looking to disenchant Labour voters.

  2. Anita Smith says:

    If Andrew is truly unable to stand as a Labour Councillor in Waddon at the next election, then he should stand as an Independent. Who knows, if he did this it might start a trend in local politics!

  3. Not sure about Labour’s strategy. If they sack Pelling and he stands as an Independent for Mayor he will most probably split the Labour vote and let the Tories in. However he might win. Either way it would not be good for Labour. This has be touched on before but Labour don’t look at this site?

    • Strategy? There isn’t one,. It seems they just want to remove people who don’t agree with them.

    • Ian Kierans says:

      Perhaps that is what that group want? After all those that follow Labour campaign for elected Mayors like Khan and Burnham. Yet not in Croydon – go figure. Perhaps in the interests of fairness and equality the Party will be seeking to deselect both Mr Khan and Mr Burnham and all other Councillors that support elected Mayor campaigns.

      But I very much doubt it. It is about time that Labour was better served by its elected and non elected officials. As Ms Shawcross has stated about Nolan principles this should now apply to those working in the background also.

  4. Dan Maertens says:

    This appalling behavior just goes on and on. Andrew Pelling needs support and if he has to be an independent so be it.
    And,he’d make a brilliant Mayor!

  5. Reasons for being sacked by Croydon Labour:

    1. Talking to Inside Croydon (unless your name is Val Shawcross)
    2. Being in favour of a Mayor (see above)
    3. Opposing measures that will exacerbate poverty (unless it’s caused by the Tories)
    4. Understanding the difference between “knowing your shit” and “knowing you’re shit”

    Reasons for not being sacked by Croydon Labour:

    1. Bankrupting the borough
    2. Cutting back public services
    3. Removing support for the vulnerable
    4. Making the poor pay for your mistakes
    5. Using public money to buy the silence of a failed CEO
    6. Blighting Croydon with the worst “architecture” since Legoland
    7. Paying through the nose for an overpriced repair job and not keeping any records
    8. Being very thirsty in charge of a position of responsibility
    9. Being out of your depth and still taking money for a job you clearly can’t do
    10. Being taken for a ride by contractors who fail to deliver what they’re paid to
    11. Not understanding the difference between “knowing your shit” and “knowing you’re shit”
    12. Making a prat of yourself on TV
    13. Ballsing up the planning policy review
    14. Allowing a failed architect to act out his fantasies
    15. Hiring a snake oil salesman to deliver a regeneration programme then give him another project to mess up despite evidence that he couldn’t run a bath

    etc, etc, ad nauseam

  6. I really enjoy David Wickens’ comments on iC. In fact, if I do run for Mayor, I would not split anyone’s votes as it’s not a First Past the Post election. It’s a Supplementary Vote election.

    You have a 1st preference and 2nd preference vote.

    It’s the same voting as when you vote for the London Mayor.

    So you could use your 1st preference for the best individual candidate and your second preference for a party if you are worried about vote splitting.

    • Ian Kierans says:

      I think Andrew may miss the salient point unspoken. If he stands it will not be a first pass the post issue – it will be anything but Labour, due to the behaviors he has had visited on him.

      So it would be 1. Pelling. 2. Anyone else but Labour.

      This would be unfair to both Mr Pelling and Ms Shawcross, who are both strong candidates albeit only one is currently standing.

      I personally would like Mr Pelling to stand for MP again, but being a selfish croydonian am happy to have him as a candidate in North Croydon, Waddon or in fact any ward or any party.

      I have no qualms about giving my full support to Ms Shawcross as she is standing and is the best candidate to sort out the chaos and reputational damage being done daily to Croydon.

      But if Mr Pelling was de-selected it would make that a very difficult decision.

  7. Thanks Inside Croydon for continuing to cover this attack on democracy. It sickens me that Tony Newman is still destroying Croydon outside the Town Hall

  8. Colin Cooper says:

    Be fair, the Labour Party doesn’t want nasty things like democracy and fair practice creeping in and spoiling their Putin-esque leadership model!

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