Labour officials pick ‘worst-ever’ candidate for by-election

CROYDON LABOUR IN CRISIS: Emergency resolution from constituency party blames Local Campaign Forum for multiple failures in local elections.

Labour officials have hand-picked as a candidate for the South Croydon election re-run someone who three weeks ago got one of the worst results of any candidate from their party in the borough’s history.

Ben Taylor polled a measly 647 votes in New Addington South earlier this month, placing only fourth in a ward where Labour lost its two council seats to the Tories.

Taylor’s vote was less than half of the 1,306 votes accrued in 2018 by the Labour cabinet member he replaced as candidate, Ollie “Shitshow” Lewis. Given that there are 8,031 electors in New Addington South ward, it means that Taylor won the votes of only 8.06per cent of eligible residents.

Taylor has written that the reason he is seeking elected office is “because I believe now more than ever local communities need people fighting for them”.

Loser: Ben Taylor has been handed another chance to demonstrate his electoral appeal

Taylor is a resident of the swanky Cane Hill community in Coulsdon.

Having been rejected so utterly by the community of New Addington, the community of South Croydon – or, at least, the members of the Labour Party there – have now been denied any say in whether Taylor is the right candidate for them.

There has been no selection process in South Croydon. Instead, Taylor is being imposed on South Croydon by the campaign committee which made such a thorough-going mess of the 2022 elections.

The decision to avoid any democratic selection has been described by one senior party official in Croydon as “outrageous”.

Inside Croydon has discovered that Taylor, the treasurer at his Constituency Labour Party, did not even have the support of officials from his own Croydon South CLP.

“Given the way the Mayoral referendum was run and the disastrous way the elections were managed, crapping on the members in this way won’t do anything to encourage people to turn out and canvass,” one disenchanted party member told Inside Croydon.

Croydon Labour’s Local Campaign Forum claimed that it needed to step in and impose a candidate because there is not enough time for it to organise a short-listing and selection meeting before the deadline for candidate declarations ahead of the June 30 polling date.

The South Croydon ward by-election has been called to fill a vacancy caused because Jason Perry stood to be a councillor as well as being a candidate for executive Mayor. The law prevents the Mayor also being elected as a councillor.

Maria Gatland and Michael Neal both retained their council seats for the Conservatives in South Croydon ward (which until the 2018 boundary changes was known as Croham).

‘Outrageous’: how the LCF announced its imposed candidate for South Croydon

At Wednesday night’s LCF meeting, Croydon South CLP officials argued that Bridget Galloway, who stood in South Croydon ward on May 5 and polled best of the party’s three candidates there, ought to be given the opportunity to run again.

But they were out-voted by delegates from the other two CLPs and Labour’s Town Hall group leadership, including Stuart King and Louis Carserides, MP Steve Reed OBE’s Westminster aide.

Wednesday night’s LCF meeting also considered an emergency resolution passed by Taylor’s CLP earlier this week which is overtly critical of the clusterfuck of a campaign run by the campaign forum under chair Joel Bodmer, ably assisted by former councillors Nuala O’Neill and Carole Bonner.

David White, the former Labour GLC member and long-standing party official, has been outspoken in his public criticism of Bodmer’s mishandling of the 2022 campaign, calling it “the most disastrous local election campaign in Croydon Labour’s history”.

The Croydon South CLP resolution states that a promised postal delivery of leaflets in Old Coulsdon, Coulsdon Town and Waddon never happened. Volunteers were instead asked to hand-deliver the campaign leaflets. “This tied up the active membership preventing canvassing, street stalls and leafleting of key stations from taking place,” the resolution states.

‘Disastrous’: veteran campaigner David White was unimpressed by Labour’s election campaign

No leaflets were ever produced for Labour’s (albeit paper) candidates in Coulsdon, where the LibDems were resurgent.

Given that Val Shawcross lost the mayoralty by fewer than 600 votes across the whole borough, and Labour lost one of their three seats in Waddon ward, the LCF’s incompetence as highlighted by Croydon South might be seen as significant in turning what was always going to be a difficult election for the party that bankrupted the borough into an impossible one.

Not that such considerations appear to bother the Labour leadership in Croydon North. Last night Bodmer – who was in charge of the LCF throughout the campaign, who failed to call any forum meetings in the weeks before the election – was duly installed as chair in Steve Reed OBE’s CLP.

Read more: Election results leave Labour supporters angry and dismayed
Read more: No Overall Control: full election results for Croydon’s 28 wards
Read more: Tory Perry wins historic Mayor election by less than 600 votes

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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, Cane Hill Park Residents' Association, Carole Bonner, Coulsdon, Coulsdon West, Croydon North, Croydon South, David White, Fieldway, Jason Perry, Maria Gatland, Michael Neal, New Addington, Old Coulsdon, Oliver Lewis, South Croydon, Steve Reed MP, Stuart King, Waddon and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Labour officials pick ‘worst-ever’ candidate for by-election

  1. derekthrower says:

    So yet another candidate is imposed on the South Croydon Labour Party membership without any due regard to the local members candidates. The demographics of Croydon South are slowly moving Labours way you would think, but again the machinations of the centralised party system favours power over local accountability.. They can kiss this one goodbye already due to their cronyism and hopefully the local electorate are starting to see through the duopoly and get behind another candidate that can break this stranglehold.

  2. As a loyal Labour Party member who has helped with campaigns in the past, I am utterly depressed with the way Labour has gone in Croydon. It was bad enough that the Newman administration drove Croydon into serious debt, but when one adds on all the other things that have happened since such as the revelations regarding the Fairfield Halls refurbishment, the pay off to senior staff, the election count shambles, the treatment of Andrew Pelling and Jamie Audsley and David White, and the activities of the so-called Local Campaign Forum which should perhaps be called the Let the Competition Flourish Forum.

    The activities of these people betray the efforts of the many loyal foot soldiers who in all kinds of weather have gone out and knocked on doors to promote the party and carry its message to the electorate. It is not totally surprising also that there was a reluctance on Labour voters to turn out and vote in some wards. The electors want better than the group of self-serving people running the party at the moment.

    Fundamentally, there is a nasty stink hanging over Labour in Croydon.

    • James Seabrook says:

      I really don’t know what’s going on with this council. I have always been fond of labour as a party because they generally try to do what is right for the majority as opposed to some other parties which apparently don’t. However this Labour council is a disaster, to put it politely. I think they’ve such utter complacency about not being voted out because Croydon is generally Labour, but also that they are effectively untouchable, even by the government.

      To me a council should be serving the people whatever their political persuasion. It appears that Croydon Council are certainly not doing that. Whether it’s total incompetence or power’s gone to their heads and they’ve worked out how to make a quick buck, I don’t know. But as far as I’m concerned the whole borough would be far better off if they were kicked out or replaced. Hopefully enough mistakes and this will come to pass.

      I completely agree with Richard that this is an insult to ordinary people who do their best for a party they believe in. I am beginning to have my doubts that the incumbents really are Labour at all by the way they’re behaving and it was just a ruse to get elected and make some money. Sorry for my cynicism but I think it’s justified.

      • Thanks.

        I suppose what concerns me is that when councils become complacent and feel they have a guaranteed win every time they don’t feel they have to try. We have seen this in the past in other parts of the country. There is always the danger it can slide into a world of all too cosy relationships where there’s a fair degree of mutual back-scratching.

        Councillors should be the guardians of the interests of the people who vote for them, and should critically question the advice they are given, perhaps sometimes even seeking evaluation from outside of the advice they have received from officials.

  3. Susan Williams says:

    Another Labour screw-up – I sense the involvement of Steve Reed OBE CFG GDR SGFT VDFG FDJD CDDH TTSD GHSD DFDD HALFWIT MP ?

  4. Colin Cooper says:

    They haven’t got anything else right for years, why change now!

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