WALTER CRONXITE reports from the Town Hall on a controversial figure’s long-term absence
When Matt Hancock pissed off to the jungle for a few weeks, the MP had the Conservative whip removed in parliament for his unauthorised absence. Much the same happened to Nadine Dorries when she pulled the same kangaroo testicle munching stunt.
But here in Croydon, there’s been no disciplinary action taken against Labour councillor Clive Fraser, who has been away on holiday in Brazil for at least six weeks.
“Thirsty” Fraser was absent from the last meeting of full council, on December 14. A lack of numbers meant that the Labour group lost a vote on a key motion that night.
Since last May, Croydon Council has been officially “no overall control”, but with Labour having 34 of the 70 councillors, more than any other single group (the Conservatives have 33, plus the Misinformed Mayor Jason Perry).
In theory, with two Green and one LibDem councillor in the Chamber, it ought to be routine for the opposition to vote down any Conservative motion.
But when push came to shove at that December meeting on Mayor Perry’s business plan for 2022 to 2026, the Tories won the vote by 30 to 29 (with one LibDem abstention)…
Fraser is understood to have continued to pocket his council allowances during his long holiday in Brazil, amounting to more than £1,400. Councillors receive allowances, rather than “pay”, and there is a presumption that any holidays will usually be taken during the lengthy recesses in the council’s timetable of meetings.
It is not known what arrangements Fraser made with his colleague councillors for handling residents’ casework during his prolonged absence.
One Katharine Street source suggested indignantly, “He might have been doing some of the casework remotely, from a beach bar at the Copacabana.”
Fraser has, at least, been busy on social media, posting postcards from his travels in the tropics. “It’s as if he’s rubbing our noses in it,” another councillor observed.
Fraser was elected to represent the people of Addiscombe West last May, although only after the Labour Party members in his home ward, South Norwood, kicked him out and de-selected him.
Fraser is a former Labour chief whip at the Town Hall, appointed by discredited former leader Tony Newman, so he should be well aware of the group’s standing orders regarding absences from meetings.
As Newman’s nark, Fraser made himself a controversial figure, including playing a part in the cover-up of a violent sexual assault against a woman conducted by erstwhile Labour councillor Niro Sirisena. Fraser also carried out a witch-hunt against whistleblowers in the Labour group, and even boasted of how he had received stolen documents obtained in the illegal hack attack of this website.
Sources within the Labour group have asked why Fraser has been allowed so much leeway over his Brazilian sojourn.
“It’s a matter for the whip – but the whip is Louis [Carserides], and we all know that Louis’s day job is in the Westminster office of the Croydon North MP, Steve Reed.
“So it appears that Clive has some kind of ‘protected status’.
“Not that the residents will have noticed his absence. Clive’s never been known for being the hardest working of councillors.”
Read more: Stripped of powers, absentee councillors still getting paid
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The problem with Mr Fraser is when he comes back and does apparently perform as a Councillor that the sum result of his efforts seem to be far worse than if he would have just stayed away and been absent. Another sad sign of the malaise of the main parties that dominate Croydon Council.
Croydon Labour have expelled members for lesser offences and indeed for baseless charges, with judgments made behind closed doors by kangaroo courts.
That Fraser can continue to take the piss with impunity (whatever happened about that Inside Croydon data theft, apart from SFA?) shows their double standards.
No doubt the good councillor is actually on a secret mission, and definitely fully “on duty”, researching ways to bring the vibrance of Rio Carnival back home with him, to help make Croydon the pre-eminent “London Borough of Culture”.
Street parades from South Croydon Bus garage, via the revitalised restaurant quarter of South End, pedestrianised High Street, North End and London Road, up to Mayday, and open top buses, with bands and samba-ing dancers gyrating on the top decks, giant figures on floats, drumming, and the conversion of the closed-off section of the High Street between Katharine Street and George Street to become our very own Copacabana beach. Wow!
Council Tax payers should certainly not begrudge this selfless working visit to a place which may well be uncomfortably hot for someone plucked suddenly out of the cold of wintertime South London.
To be kicked out and deselected from your home ward because you are no good at being a councillor is pathetic.
But then this greedy little character has the temerity to pop up somewhere else.
Fraser personifies the rot in local government.
A bit like the rot in the public housing units in South Norwood which Fraser singularly failed to sort out despite being implored to do so by his constituents.
What an utterly useless councillor he is.