CROYDON LABOUR IN CRISIS: Slack diligence by the Local Campaign Forum missed vile racial slurs, sexist language and homophobic abuse on a wannabe councillor’s social media account.
EXCLUSIVE by STEVEN DOWNES
The committee that is supposed to be running Labour’s local election campaign in Croydon has come in for a new wave of criticism after it endorsed the selection of a candidate despite their record of posting racially abusive, homophobic and sexist remarks on social media.
Elliott-Jay Munroop is one of three candidates selected by Labour to stand in South Norwood ward in the local elections being held on May 5.
An investigation by Inside Croydon has discovered that shortly after Munroop was selected as an approved candidate by Croydon Labour’s Local Campaign Forum, he deleted his Twitter account, @elliottjay_.
That account included repeated references to the homophobic slur “batty boy” and a vile four-letter “C” word which ends with “N”, which he used as an insult to certain high-profile black men.
One Labour councillor, with whom we shared our complete file of Munroop’s questionable messages, told Inside Croydon, “I haven’t heard that word spoken since Alf Garnett was still on the television. You’d hope we had moved on from that.
“The homophobic slur is also the kind of thing that, thankfully, is just not acceptable now. And it’s certainly not the kind of language that is acceptable from a Labour election candidate.”
Another local party official winced when we asked them to view our file of Munroop’s tweets.
“Did they really post that?” they asked.
“OK, he is only young, but if they really thought like that at all, or ever thought it was appropriate to post such comments, then they really need to have a long hard think about whether they should be seeking public office.”
The source also suggested that the mere act of deleting the old account showed that Munroop was keenly aware that he needed to avoid his past comments coming to light.
Among a range of offensive content on his deleted account, Munroop had posted his apparent approval for the views expressed by a controversial African-American psychologist who had criticised inter-racial relationships between white women, to whom he referred to disparagingly as “snow bunnies”, and black men.
And Munroop’s account also contained a tweet at a Caribbean restaurant chain, asking the owner’s nationality. “I am just genuinely interested to know,” Munroop wrote on his September 2019 tweet.
Munroop is 24 years old, among the younger candidates to be handed the responsibility of contesting a safe Labour ward.
The deleted tweets that Inside Croydon has on file (only a small selection are being published today) were posted by him between 2018 and last year.
Abusive conduct on social media is something that can end the careers of local politicians.
In January this year, a Labour councillor in Lambeth, Philip Normal, a former mayor of that borough, resigned when his Twitter history came to light, with questionable comments mocking “hairy Arabs, Muslim women and big black men”.
Croydon Labour figures approached by Inside Croydon for their reaction to Munroop’s Twitter history all raised questions about the ineffectiveness of the vetting process conducted by the LCF – the Local Campaign Forum.
The LCF has already had to de-select another candidate, Ramaraj Rajagopal, who was to have stood in Broad Green ward despite having a High Court judgement that declared his conduct on behalf of a Thornton Heath-based charity to be “wholly incompatible with his duties as a Trustee, being a blatant breach of trust”.
It is understood that Rajagopal never declared the High Court judgement when applying to be a Labour candidate, although Katharine Street sources have since suggested that the existence of the court ruling was known by at least one member of the current council cabinet.
“It’s beginning to look as if the LCF officers have been spending rather too much time hounding out respected sitting councillors, and no time at all checking out what prospective candidates have been up to before they decided they wanted to become Labour councillors,” one of our sources said.
The LCF is chaired by Joel “Bodger” Bodmer, known to be a big fan of Croydon North MP Steve Reed, with former councillor Carole Bonner, a Tony Newman loyalist, as its treasurer and Nuala O’Neill as secretary.
All three are members of the campaign committee for Val Shawcross, Labour’s candidate for Mayor.
It is known that Shawcross, for her part, has been made aware of Munroop’s abusive and offensive tweets. Shawcross has made no public statement to condemn the abusive language used by Munroop.
Despite the many issues confronting the Labour selection process in Croydon, with three selection re-runs being staged in the past week, with widespread complaints that the outcomes have been “stitched-up” to favour particular candidates, and with local election day less than two months away, Bodger, Bonner and O’Neill have not bothered calling a meeting of the LCF since February.
The submission of candidate nominations opens next Monday, March 28.
Inside Croydon asked the LCF what due diligence they had done on Munroop’s publicly available social media accounts.
We also asked if Munroop declared in his application to be a Labour candidate that he had ever used expressions such as “batty boy” or the “C” word.
We asked whether any suspicions were raised among party officials when the Twitter account @elliottjay_ was deleted within days of Munroop being selected, or whether anyone in the LCF bothered to ask the candidate why they had suddenly deleted their Twitter account.
And we asked whether the Croydon LCF will now be deselecting Elliott-Jay Munroop as a Labour candidate for the forthcoming local elections.
By the time of publication, we had received no acknowledgement nor response from the LCF.
When Inside Croydon contacted Munroop, he expressed no regret nor apology for his past social media comments.
24-year-old Munroop appears to be claiming that tweets posted by him, some as recently as 12 months ago, were done “in my youth”.
The prospective councillor did, however, confirm that he had sent the abusive tweets and that he had deleted the account once he was selected as a candidate.
He told Inside Croydon, “For the record I am against racism, homophobia and prejudice in all forms.
“I do intend to be a councillor and represent all my residents to the best of my ability.
“I deleted a Twitter account that I used in my youth which would contain language that I definitely wouldn’t support by [sic] as an adult.”
So that’s alright then…
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