Scott and Butler to be snubbed by Town Hall honours system

By our Town Hall reporter, KEN LEE

Left out: Alison Butler and Paul Scott, the husband and wife team who helped bankrupt the borough

Alison Butler and Paul Scott, half of the Labour “Gang of Four” that bankrupted Croydon Council, will not be offered the traditional, post-council career honour of being made honorary alderwoman and alderman of the borough, Inside Croydon understands.

The husband and wife double act were in charge of housing and planning during the Labour administration from 2014, with Butler also being deputy council leader.

Scott was, notoriously, the chair and deputy chair of the council’s planning committee for six years, yet for all that time he had a special dispensation that meant he never once had to declare an interest, even though he works in the building industry as an architect.

Tony Newman, the Labour council leader who presided over massive levels of borrowing, the stalled redevelopment of the Whitgift Centre, and the disaster that was Brick by Brick, stood down from the council in 2021, as did his cabinet member for finance, Simon Hall. Newman and Hall have both been under administrative suspension as members of the Labour Party for two years, ever since the Penn Report was first delivered to the council.

Since announcing the suspensions, the Labour Party has refused to comment further on the status of Newman and Hall.

Suspended: Tony Newman

Scott and Butler appear to have sailed through the council’s financial collapse relatively unscathed, effectively “retiring” from the council by not seeking re-election at last May’s local elections. Butler had been a councillor for Bensham Manor continuously since winning a ward by-election in 2007, while Scott had been a councillor since 2002.

Both remain Labour members, although party sources suggest that they have not been active in any canvassing or attending any fund-raisers recently.

Becoming an alderman or alderwoman of Croydon is seen as an acknowledgement of long service by councillors, usually those who have held elected office for 12 years or longer. Being offered the honour is usually almost automatic, although it does usually require some form of nomination by the ex-councillor’s former colleagues.

In the case of Butler and Scott, no such recommendation has been made.

The “Civic Mayoralty and Honorary Freedom Selection Committee”, where decisions on such matters are made, was due to have held a meeting in the past fortnight, but that got postponed because of all the other business going through the council. The committee will now sit on March 21.

The agenda also has to consider who will serve as the borough’s ceremonial mayor, all togged up in red robes, ermine and the Dick Turpin hat, for the 2023-2024 council year.

With the council being under no overall control since last May, Labour’s Alisa Flemming has been in the chair for council meetings as civic mayor, while the Tories’ Sue Bennett has deputised.

Inside Croydon has been told that for 2023-2024, Bennett does not want to take up the ceremonial mayor’s duties, and the Shirley North councillor is expected to return to the quiet life as backbench Tory lobby fodder. So the Conservatives will need to nominate another councillor for the round of school fete-openings and WI cake judging.

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
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10 Responses to Scott and Butler to be snubbed by Town Hall honours system

  1. I think they thoroughly deserve the titles of Awefulman and Awefulwoman of the Borough.

  2. Robert Smith says:

    It’s long established Croydon Tory policy to not have the deputy Mayor become Mayor the next year. Would likely have been known to Cllr. Bennett when she accepted the role of deputy.

    By contrast, Labour’s deputy has always become Mayor. Will be interesting to see if this continues when they only hold the post every other year.

  3. Sue says:

    Let’s not forget the damage these two have done along with Tony Newman. Their ignorant hate fuelled practice contributed to the bankruptcy of the council and breaking of the planning department that still has not recovered. Their legacy in Croydon is appalling.

  4. Butler first became a councillor in the 2002 council elections, when the blow-in from somewhere else in the borough inflicted herself on the people of Waddon.

    Her domineering self-serving nature at the neighbourhood partnership meetings quickly destroyed any illusion that Hugh Malyan’s Labour council was being truly consultative. It was the public’s job to turn up, shut up and listen to their masters. No wonder they fell apart.

    Malyan saw the writing on the wall, and in September 2004, announced his resignation as party leader. Deputy Leader Tony Newman took over from Malyan and Butler was given Newman’s old job of Cabinet Member for Housing. Not bad for someone who’d left school without any qualifications other than studying ceilings.

    By 2006 Waddon voters decided they’d had enough of her and her kind, and she was one of several scalps that Mike Fisher’s Tories claimed that year as Newman led Labour to defeat.

    Like the turd that wouldn’t flush, she resurfaced in the Bensham Manor by-election of 2007 caused by Deputy Leader Paula Shaw’s resignation for reasons unknown.

    This time she’s gone for good

  5. derekthrower says:

    This pair must think they have got out of this Scot free, but surely their example must make any future reforms of local government consider the return of surcharging of Councillors and making sure such expenditure of huge resources in Local Government are made on the basis of explicit legal guidance, effective cost control of valuable investment resources and basic record keeping of who authorised decisions.. The memory of her blithering incompetence and his egocentric narcissism issues must never be forgotten.

  6. John Gallagher says:

    The public need legislative protection when Councils decide to make capital investment decisions, form wholly owned Companies and make investments. We cannot ever have Councils do what this bunch did to Croydon ever again leaving no or little evidence to lock them up.

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