Labour attack ads score yet another embarrassing own goal

‘Smear campaign’ which started with ad backed by Croydon North’s MP has managed to draw even more attention to how his mates bankrupted the borough. By WALTER CRONXITE, political editor

Own goal: the only council with a 15% Council Tax hike was Croydon, bankrupted under Labour, and where the party’s councillors ultimately failed to oppose the tax hike

Labour’s controversial attack ads, which started with a racist dog whistle that tried to brand Tory Prime Minister Rishi Sunak as some kind of apologist for paedophiles, have landed another embarrassing own goal by highlighting how in Croydon, Steve Reed’s mates bankrupted the borough.

Ahead of the next month’s local elections being held around the rest of the country (but, apart from the occasional by-election, not in Croydon or London), the now-familiar Labour attack ad format turned its attention over the weekend to Council Tax.

“Do you think your Council Tax should be 15% higher?” the brains trust running the Labour campaign asked this time.

“Rishi Sunak does,” the Croydon cabal running Labour’s campaign said in answering their own question.

There is only one council in the whole country where Council Tax has gone up by 15per cent, and that’s in Croydon. For residents in most of England and Wales, Council Tax has risen by just under 5per cent.

Council Tax increased by 15per cent in Croydon because the borough’s Mayor, Jason Perry, elected in May 2022, has failed to find a way to fix the council’s finances, after inheriting “unsustainable” debts of £1.6billion from the previous Labour administration.

And when it came to a vote on Mayor Perry’s 15per cent Council Tax hike, after much huffing and puffing beforehand, 33 of Croydon’s Labour councillors all failed to oppose it, abstaining to allow the budget. The abstaining Labour councillors included one whose day job is working in Steve Reed’s Westminster office.

A real vote-winner: Labour have opened themselves up to parody

The multiple and significant failings of the previous Labour council, led by Tony Newman, a colleague of Croydon North MP Reed and a friend of David Evans, the Labour Party’s General Secretary, should be well-known to Inside Croydon’s loyal reader.

Just as they should be to Reed, Evans and Morgan McSweeney, Labour’s campaign director. Which makes their choice of attack target here particularly dim, even by recent Labour standards.

“Must admit I’m surprised they want to draw attention to this,” Croydon South Conservative MP Chris Philp, who knows a thing or three about political own goals, tweeted this morning.

As Andrew Fisher wrote for Inside Croydon last week, the responsibility for the attack ads appears to lie with McSweeney, a former employee of Evans’s Croydon-based public relations company, while Reed deliberately sidelined his departmental colleague, Yvetter Cooper, the shadow Home Secretary, from the previous paedophile attack ads.

Keith Starmer, the Labour leader, chose the Daily Mail, of all newspapers, to double-down on the attack ads last week, stating he stood by every word. Which was another own-goal, because Starmer, when Director of Public Prosecutions, had had an influential part in setting the sentencing guidelines for convicted paedophiles.

It is becoming increasingly clear that Labour’s attack ads are the product of a power struggle within Labour headquarters.

As Kevin Maguire, the Mirror’s political editor, wrote last week, “Labour’s smear machine branding Rishi Sunak a paedophile’s friend unintentionally illuminated worsening tensions between Yvette Cooper and Steve Reed, who wants her job.

“No squeamish softy on crime herself, the shadow Home Secretary didn’t retweet the offending ad that was shared five times by Reed, the shadow justice secretary, who is behind the brutal strategy.

“’Steve increasingly sounds like an avenging Charles Bronson in Death Wish trying to paint Yvette as a do-gooding Lord Longford,’ opined a bemused Labour MP.”

What’s good for the goose: MP Reed’s record is far from unblemished

And there’s a Labour reshuffle expected, the other side of May’s local elections, probably the last before the next General Election, and therefore likely to instal Starmer’s loyalists in the posts that they will hope to hold if, or when, Labour forms the next Government.

The attack ads have spawned their own parodies in the past few days, including one which highlights Reed’s silence over the catastophic management of Croydon Council’s finances by his mates Newman, Simon Hall and Alison Butler.

“Steve Weed”, as he has become known since his admissions over his past use of marijuana, might attract closer investigation of his own part in the unlawful hacking of this website in February 2021, with more people questioning whether he really is fit to hold high office, such as Home Secretary, with ultimate responsibility over policing in England and Wales.

Read more:You can depend on Croydon Labour: they always let you down
Read more:
‘Anarchy in Croydon’ fears as Mayor axes 22 safety officer jobs


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  • ROTTEN BOROUGH AWARDS: Croydon was named among the country’s rottenest boroughs for a SIXTH successive year in 2022 in the annual round-up of civic cock-ups in Private Eye magazine

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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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7 Responses to Labour attack ads score yet another embarrassing own goal

  1. Wayne says:

    When do we get to vote that prick out as hes a complete asshole why are we listening to him

  2. Angie Evans says:

    Reed is a fuck-wit.

  3. Some countries and US states have decriminalised or even legalised marijuana. However, it’s clear that they’ve made a mistake. Take Steve Reed. In his youth he was undoubtedly a level-headed, kind-hearted soul but one whiff of mary jane has turned him into the power-mad ruthless politician we see today

  4. This ‘council tax’ advert merely gives the Tories the chance in response the ad to say it was under Labour that the Council’s finances were run into the ground.

    What the electorate wants is to be given a hope for better future – something to vote FOR, not ads which merely slag off the other side and don’t say what a party will do.

    • Ian Kierans says:

      I agree with the sentiment but to be accurate it was both Conservative and Labour administrations along with the cuts by central governemnt along with little oversight that caused the debt.
      The Ad does state what Labour would do in the small print.
      Perhaps the ad would be more accurate in saying Borrow and be Disenfranchised
      Tory15% and denial of a vote = Conservative style Democracy

  5. So many powerful issues to hit the Tories with, so why pick this?

  6. Anthony Miller says:

    It’s a fair point. I wouldn’t be surprised if Croydon was a guinea pig for how much Council Tax people will swallow just as Scotland was the guinea pig for the poll tax

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