Tory peer and former Croydon MP has barbed criticism for his former parliamentary colleagues
Croydon’s local election results left one prominent Tory Party grandee in something of a quandary.
“Lord” Gavin Barwell of Clarion is the former Croydon Central MP who, when he is not coining it in through his multiple directorships in the housing sector – he was one of the housing ministers who neglected to enforce safety rules before the Grenfell Tower fire – is popping up on television as some kind of unofficial opposition to Boris Johnson.
Croydon’s seemingly ever-lasting election count gave Barwell, whose media profile trades on his brief spell as Theresa May’s Chief of Staff in Downing Street, plenty of time to put the boot in on his party’s Brexit-centric party under Johnson and his assembly of clowns.
“Waking up to catastrophic results for the party in London,” Barwell tweeted bright and early on the morning after the polling day.
“Wandsworth and Westminster were flagship councils. We held them during the Blair honeymoon. We held them during austerity. We held them under Theresa May. Losing them should be a wake-up call for the Conservative Party.”
Like so many, Barwell was among those astonished at how long Croydon officials were taking over their council election count – which was being conducted in the sports halls of the £20,000 per year private school that he used to attend, and where he was once chair of the governors.
“For those who are interested in local election results, Croydon Council is still counting (which tells you something about Croydon Council),” Barwell noted, appositely.
But then came last Saturday morning and the narrow victory of his former Croydon Town Hall colleague, Jason Perry, as the first elected Mayor of Croydon.
It was a victory crafted in some part by another Croydon Conservative councillor, Jason Cummings, a former aide to Barwell during his time working at No10.
Barwell’s Twitter tack changed… “Great to see back of an awful Labour council and the election of a Conservative Mayor,” he wrote.
Then, perhaps surprisingly for a true blue peer, he added, “Also good to see two-party monopoly broken with election of Croydon LibDems and Croydon Greens.
“Real chance now to change culture of Croydon politics for the better.”
By implication, Croydon Conservatives’ part in the council’s political duopoly was at least 50per cent to blame for that toxic culture.
Barwell summarised the Croydon election outcome thus, “To win despite an incredibly difficult national backdrop is a phenomenal achievement,” he wrote, adding, “also testament to just how bad a job Croydon’s Labour Group had done.
“Now the hard work of turning Croydon Council around begins.”
By the middle of this week, and the Queen’s Speech, Barwell had a clearer line of political criticism of his former Westminster colleagues to chart. The speech was, he said, good in parts. But Barwell’s animous towards the Prime Minister and his government would not allow him to let him go without passing comment on the omission from the proposals laid out.
“…It’s biggest flaw is lack of action on the cost of living,” Barwell wrote of the Queen’s Speech.
“Both morally and politically, the government needs to do more.”
Read more: Tory Perry wins historic Mayor election by less than 600 votes
Read more: Election results leave Labour supporters angry and dismayed
Read more: From bankrupt to laughing stock as council count continues
Read more: No Overall Control: full election results for Croydon’s 28 wards
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He is showing loyalty to the woman who made him a lord, in anticipation of more rewards once the clown is toppled.
I remember when Barwell was Cabinet Member for Resources & Customer Services in 2007 and then in 2008 Community Safety & Cohesion and Resources & Customer Services. He was pleasant and easy to work with. However, I was simply agog when in 2017 he was made chief of staff. There are some seriously intelligent and knowledgeable individuals in Westminster; Gavin is not in their league. To my mind this begs the question why.
Do you get into the House of Lords for being Teresa May’s PA ?? Fuck. No way!