Labour candidate in South Norwood quits over abusive tweets

CROYDON LABOUR IN CRISIS: Calls for the resignations of party officials after a second failure to properly conduct background checks, as election campaign staggers through its latest controversy.
EXCLUSIVE by STEVEN DOWNES

Chaos: Labour official Joel Bodmer’s campaign committee has blundered again

There are mounting calls from Labour members in Croydon for the immediate resignation of the chair and key officials of the Local Campaign Forum after another of the party’s approved candidates for the Town Hall elections on May 5 stood down following widespread criticism of their abusive, sexist and homophobic social media posts.

On Tuesday, this website reported how 24-year-old Elliott-Jay Munroop had tried to cover-up his use of vile racist abuse and expressions such as “batty boy” by deleting his Twitter account soon after he was selected to be a Labour candidate in South Norwood.

After trying to claim that the tweets had been from his “youth” (some had been posted as recently as last year), he finally issued an apology on Thursday night.

Then, just before 8pm last night, Munroop announced (via his latest Twitter account) that he was withdrawing as a candidate for the council elections.

“Politics can never just be about having ideals, but has to be about living those ideals,” Munroop wrote.

Munroop’s status as a candidate had become untenable among fellow members.

Pile on: Munroop’s Twitter history attracted complaints from Conservative councillors

“Some LGBTQ members were very hurt,” according to one source. Asked whether Munroop’s defence that his abusive tweets were from his youth, the Labour source said, “No one bought that.”

The issue of Munroop’s abusive comments were also seen as a growing problem for the mayoral campaign of Val Shawcross. When a gay Tory activist sought to ask questions about the issue at hustings this week, they were shouted down by Labour supporters.

Another young Conservative, Kofi Frimpong, who is standing in the elections in Norbury Park, tweeted a response to Munroop’s online “apology”: “We grew up in the same area around the same people,” Frimpong wrote.

“I would understand if the tweets were that of a 13-year-old influenced by ‘negative influences’. But you weren’t. When you sent some of those tweets you were older than I am now!

“Growing up in a rough area is not an excuse!”

Labour members in South Norwood would normally expect to hold a meeting to democratically select a candidate to represent them in the elections. But that won’t be happening this time, as the Local Campaign Forum says that it will choose the replacement candidate.

Standing down: ex-candidate Elliott-Jay Munroop

The LCF officials – chair Joel “Bodger” Bodmer, secretary Nuala O’Neill and treasurer Carole Bonner – say that this is because the deadline for nominations is too close. Nominations for the election open at the Town Hall on Monday.

This move to effectively hand-pick a replacement candidate for a safe Labour ward, which apparently has the backing of Labour’s London region office, will be regarded as unsatisfactory and looked upon with great suspicion by many in the party.

“They’re making it up as they go along,” one senior party figure told Inside Croydon this morning.

Despite the shambles surrounding their oversight of the selection process, complaints about “Orwellian” deselections of sitting councillors, allegations of “stitch-ups” in some wards and the rapidly approaching election day, Bodmer has failed to call a meeting of the LCF – the borough-wide committee supposedly running Labour’s stuttering campaign – since February.

A meeting that was arranged for last night was cancelled at short notice, with no reason given.

Bodmer is a recent arrival in Croydon, and is known to be a close ally of Croydon North MP Steve Reed OBE. Before moving to Croydon, Bodmer had been chair of the LCF in Lambeth, which had approved the selection as a candidate of Philip Normal who in January was forced to quit as a councillor after his own history of racist and abusive tweets was uncovered.

Munroop is the second Croydon Labour 2022 election candidate to have come through the whole of the LCF’s interview and approval process only later to be exposed as having some past conduct that probably would not impress the electorate.

Earlier this month, one of the selected candidates in Broad Green, Ramaraj Rajagopal, was de-selected.

Bodmer and the LCF acted against Rajagopal only after an investigation published by Inside Croydon in January showed how the candidate had breezed through his party’s so-called “due diligence” without anyone noticing that he had been the subject of a High Court judgement that declared his conduct on behalf of a Thornton Heath-based charity was “wholly incompatible with his duties as a Trustee, being a blatant breach of trust”.

Inside Croydon has since been made aware of allegations that a member of the Labour-controlled council cabinet had full knowledge of the High Court judgement at the time of Rajagopal’s selection, but opted to do nothing about it.

Stand down: How Munroop announced his decision on Twitter last night

In the latest case of Munroop, there have been some sympathy for the ex-candidate’s plight, and respect for his eventual, if somewhat belated, apology and decision to stand down.

“I’m very disappointed,” said another senior party figure this morning.

“The LCF has failed to organise the panel in a professional way. The chair should resign. I would say that the LCF have failed to give Munroop any sort of duty of care.”

In his tweeted statement last night, Munroop wrote, “I have reflected on how important it is that our elected representatives lead by example and take responsibility for their actions.

“I have caused hurt and upset and I need to take responsibility for my actions.

“I do not want fellow young people in our community to look at me and conclude that the language I used in my previous social media posts are acceptable. Politics can never just be about having ideals but has to be about living those ideals.

“Therefore I am withdrawing as a council candidate in May’s elections.”

The LCF has never responded to Inside Croydon’s questions about their conduct over Munroop’s selection.

Read more: No apology from candidate for abusive and homophobic tweets
Read more: ‘It’s an utter joke’: councillors unhappy at selection stitch-ups
Read more: Labour councillor submits bullying complaint to Labour Party
Read more: The Buck stops here: Labour campaign disarray after fixer quits

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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 inside.croydon@btinternet.com
This entry was posted in 2022 council elections, 2022 Croydon Mayor election, Broad Green, Croydon North, Elliott-Jay Munroop, Ramaraj Rajagopal, South Norwood, Steve Reed MP and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Labour candidate in South Norwood quits over abusive tweets

  1. I am so pleased that Mr Munroop had the decency to stand down as a candidate, and appreciate the words he used to express his regret. It is a thoughtful apology and perhaps those who vetted his nomination could also explain whether this was not vetted properly or if it was something they chose to overlook?

  2. Ken Towl says:

    Yet again, the Local Campaign Forum show us that they are not fit for purpose.

  3. I expect to find out soon that Bodger is in fact a Tory infiltrator, sent to destroy Croydon Labour party. After so many balls ups, what other explanation could there be?

  4. Peter Gentleman says:

    Labour HQ are worried about how their own Local Campaign Forums, in some constituencies, can skew local opinion and fail to represent local opinion and values. This is clearly the case in Croydon under activist and ex-union employee Joel Bodmer who’s being given the blind support of the useless Steve Reed MP.

    Lefties like Joel are the kind of people who like to sup from the cup of membership fees. They’re not keen on performance strategies or precise job descriptions or having to do the same thing every day which most of us have to do. It’s also an opportunity to eat hummus and pitta bread with people who define themselves as ‘intelligent’ and be enlightened with their deeply thought-out political theories which have to bearing on everyday life.

    Joel sits on committees that appear to make decisions but they don’t – I guess that’s socialism for you. Weak management means there is a complete lack of consistency in the decision making processes and bring Reed into the equation and before you know it, everyone seems to be working on their own pet project rather than doing anything together as a team in the lead up to the May elections.

    No sooner are Joel and his committee member’s ideas implemented, they are cast aside again or someone’s found to be a possible social media racist – all this often happens on the same day. That’s why Labour’s membership is crumbling; they now lose many members every month at local level but this never gets addressed by the Joels and Reeds.

    What attracts Joel to this role when his contemporaries are working in an un-subsidised real world? We’ll, there’s the benefits – really short hours (and no one would dream of doing overtime), ample holiday, ok salary (especially considering the amount of work you have to do), a great pension and being able to attend any training course you wish.

    As a result at local party level you have a jaded workforce with no fresh ideas. Pale, male and stale sums it up.

    The waste of members’ subscription fees is scandalous. Croydon Labour are scratching around for candidates at the eleventh hour!

  5. Anthony Miller says:

    He’s not the only young person to freely throw around words like batty man without considering that in many Caribbean countries where such phrases originated its still illegal to be gay. Also there are some people who, absorbing views such as Pat Bidol’s that racism is “prejudice plus power”, mistakenly believe that it is impossible for one to be racist if one is BAME. An idiosyncratic stance that is unlikely to travel far amongst most voters… None of these are excuses. But perhaps all we need to step back and look at the bigger picture of how such behaviour propagates? as that might be a better use of time than expecting selection committees to micromanage candidates social media footprints. That’s treating the symptom. Not the disease. Not that I wouldn’t throw the first stone but I’m making room for people without sin.

    • Peter Gentleman says:

      Not wanting to get into a debate about reparations, the candidate himself admitted he was not suitable for the role. Do you want to disagree with that too?

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