Our political editor, WALTER CRONXITE, on the latest moves by the borough’s Blairites and how the numptiest of Newman’s numpties is abusing the selection system
One of the Labour councillors who last week betrayed residents by abandoning their opposition to the Tories’ Council Tax hike has all the while been busy trying to further her own political career.
Manju Shahul-Hameed wasn’t around at the weekend to face the music from angry residents in Broad Green, the Croydon ward she is supposed to represent, and where Council Tax bills from April will be 15per cent higher because of her and her colleagues’ spinelessness in the Town Hall Chamber.
Because Shahul-Hameed was more than 300 miles away, in Barrow (or was it Furness?), where the numptiest of Newman’s numpties has been long-listed for selection by Labour for the Cumbrian parliamentary seat.
But Shahul-Hameed has no intention of campaigning in any seriousness to be selected for Barrow and Furness. She has told other candidates that she’s just out for the experience, before trying to get picked as Labour’s candidate in a Croydon constituency.
Barrow and Furness is an industrial northern town known for having the shipyards that built and maintain nuclear submarines. It was held by Labour from 1992 until the 2019 General Election, when they lost the seat not least because its Blairite MP, John Woodcock, set out to undermine his party leader at the time.
The Labour selection long list for Barrow (and Furness) was announced on March 5. But Shahul-Hameed kept schtum on her own social media for a week, presumably because of the budget issues being debated in her home borough.
She seems certain to make it through to the shortlist for Barrow and Furness, according to well-placed party sources in Cumbria, but only because she is the sole BAME candidate on the long list.
The Barrow and Furness Labour members are unlikely to be too impressed with Shahul-Hameed, though, when they discover her part in the collapse of Croydon Council’s finances.
An arch-self-publicist, Shahul-Hameed was among the most loyal supporters of Tony Newman and Alison Butler, the leaders of the Labour group that crashed the council’s finances. Shahul-Hameed spent much of the six years, from 2014, as a member of council cabinet, ostensibly responsible for economy and jobs.
So Shahul-Hameed will have been privy to most of the dodgy decisions that ultimately bankrupted the borough. She is also remembered for doing nothing to avoid the development blight in Croydon town centre caused by a decade of dither and delay over the Westfield non-development, and for the council’s glacially slow distribution of government covid grants to businesses during the first lockdown in 2020.
In 2021, with a typically ill-considered campaign slogan of “I can do more for the people I care about”, she was unsuccessful in her attempt to be Labour’s candidate for Croydon Mayor (local members are very well aware of her utter uselessness at the council).
Sources in Barrow say that Shahul-Hameed has actually admitted to another selection candidate that “she has no intention of winning or taking votes away from anyone (particularly him)”.
According to the source, Shahul-Hameed had said that “she only wants experience for the new Croydon seat”. Which is nice.
One of her councillor colleagues told Inside Croydon: “Perhaps she’s hoping that news of Croydon Council’s bankruptcy, and her part in it as a member of Newman’s cabinet, hasn’t made it as far as Cumbria.” Oh dear…
Another Croydon Labour figure with parliamentary ambitions, Stuart Brady, was foiled on Saturday.
The barrister and former Saracens professional rugby player, had opted against seeking selection in his Croydon South home constituency, but made it onto the shortlist for Hatfield, the seat held by Tory big-shot Grant Shapps. Or Michael Green.
But Brady’s result at the selection meeting was as underwhelming as England’s performance at Twickenham. A source close to Brady described his result as “a respectable second”. Which is more than could be said for the England rugby team.
It’s all change, too, in the Croydon North Constituency Labour Party which is so carefully controlled by Progress MP Steve Reed OBE.
Reed – or “Steve Weed”, as the Starmer front-bencher is sometimes known since his admission of having puffed on a joint once – had installed as CLP chair one of his old mates from his Streatham days, Joel Bodmer.
Bodger Bodmer then took charge of the borough-wide LCF – Local Campaign Forum – which squandered £10,000 of precious funds on an ill-considered anti-mayoral system referendum campaign, then crawled its way through the selection process for 2022 local election candidates, including picking a few choice characters without conducting any proper diligence.
When it came to running the 2022 mayoral and local election campaign, with Labour 20per cent ahead in the polls nationally and even further ahead in the rest of London, the Reed and Bodger-led campaign handed the mayoralty to Tory Jason Perry and lost control of the council, shedding council seats to the LibDems and Greens as well as the Conservatives.
Undeterred by his record of failure, the word at a recent Croydon North CLP meeting is that Bodger thinks he’s just the person to be Labour’s candidate for the very winnable Croydon West and South Norwood seat that Shahul-Hameed has her eye on. This suggests that Reed will, as has been widely expected, opt for the reconfigured Streatham and Norbury seat.
“There’s no way on earth I’d support Joel if he puts his name forward,” according to one Labour member who will be taking part in the selection meeting for the new Croydon West and Norwood.
“I would actively encourage fellow members to back another candidate… though probably not Manju.
“Joel’s chairing of the Local Campaign Forum ahead of last May’s elections, particularly his treatment of Andrew Pelling, was an electoral disaster for Labour.
“In fact, if I ever saw Joel’s name on a ballot paper as the Labour Party candidate, I’d vote for somebody else.”
Bodger has meanwhile stood down as chair of Croydon North. It is understood that he has moved out of the area, though when approached by iC, Bodger failed to respond.
He has been replaced as CLP chair by Richard Serunjogi, while an 18-year-old politics student, Subischa Thayaparan, has filled a vacancy for CLP secretary. Mick Anteney – Val Shawcross’s partner – is the CLP’s treasurer.
Read more: You can depend on Croydon Labour: they always let you down
Read more: #TheLabourFiles: MP Reed, Evans and the Croydon connection
Read more: Campaign disarray as Broad Green candidate is de-selected
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If I was still a Labour member, I would not give any support to any current or past Labour councillor to be an MP candidate, furthermore I would not support Reed either.
None are fit to represent people, they put themselves forward for their personal careers.
If Labour had any sense they would bring in someone from nearby Wandsworth or even Westminster to stand here. Clearly they have been doing something right when what we have here locally hasn’t been working.
Has she no shame or no self-awareness? Who’d vote for someone up to their neck in Croydon’s collapse?
Sunlight is the best disinfectant. Thanks Inside Croydon for helping peel back the layers of corruption and incompetence in our South London cesspit and exposing the shallow creatures running/ruining our home town.