Jewitt sacked while Newman Numpties scramble back to power

CROYDON IN CRISIS: ‘Lazy’ Clive Fraser and Sean Fitzsimons, long-time loyal supporters of the Labour leadership which crashed the council’s finances, did not have to wait too long before being handed jobs under new(ish) leader Stuart King. EXCLUSIVE by STEVEN DOWNES

Dropped: Karen Jewitt has been sacked from her licensing and general purposes committee roles

Karen Jewitt, one of Croydon Labour’s longest-serving councillors, has been sacked as chair of the council’s licensing committee in response to her recent speech that claimed there was “no wrong-doing” by Tony Newman and Simon Hall in the bankrupting of the borough.

Stuart King, who took over as leader of the Labour group at the Town Hall 12 months ago, has made the move in a minor reshuffle of his shadow cabinet ahead of next week’s council annual meeting.

Two shadow cabinet members and Labour’s Chief Whip are standing down, apparently due to the pressure of work outside their council roles, while two leading Newman Numpties – “Lazy” Clive Fraser and Sean Fitzsimons – have been recalled from their short-lived exiles from senior roles.

Labour is the largest group of councillors on Croydon Council (34, to the Tories’ 33, with Greens and LibDems holding three seats), which has been in “no overall control” since local elections in May 2022 saw Conservative Jason Perry installed as Mayor. The Labour reshuffle is expected to be confirmed in council agenda papers ahead of the next Town Hall Chamber meeting, on Wednesday, May 17.

Jewitt, a councillor for Thornton Heath ward, was first elected to the Town Hall in 1994.

‘Steve’s snitch’: Louis Carserides (right) with his boss, MP Weed

Last week, Inside Croydon reported how, based on the amount of casework carried out, Jewitt is among the hardest-working of Croydon’s 70 councillors.

But that hasn’t stopped her losing her £8,246.40 SRA, or special responsibility allowance, that she has been paid over the past year, in addition to her basic councillor allowance of £11,691.96, for chairing the licensing committee.

Patsy Cummings will take the licensing role, and the extra allowances that go with it.

The move comes just weeks after Jewitt demonstrated what colleagues described as “incredibly poor judgement” with an “ill-considered” speech in which she actually defended Newman, the discredited former council leader, and Hall, the cabinet member for finances in the six years leading to the borough’s bankruptcy in November 2020.

In her speech in the Chamber in April, Jewitt claimed, to the bafflement even of Labour colleagues, that there were no lessons to be learned from the Penn Report and she suggested that the Fairfield Halls fraud report was a waste of time and public money.

Councillor Jewitt chose not to comment when contacted by Inside Croydon.

While the council itself remains under strict control from central government, Croydon’s Labour group is also under a form of “special measures”, or what Keith Starmer’s party calls a “campaign improvement board”. This means that Jewitt’s sacking will probably have had the approval of Labour’s London regional party.

Trebles all-round: ‘Lazy’ Clive Fraser is back among the Labour group’s movers and shakers

And London region will have probably also approved the re-appointment of two of the numptiest of Newman’s Numpties, Fraser and Fitzsimons.

Fraser, officially the laziest of all Croydon councillors, gets recalled just 12 months after he was dropped from King’s first shadow team, to take on the Labour lead on the planning committee. Fraser replaces Leila Ben-Hassel, the Norbury and Pollards Hill councillor, who is moved to group Whip in place of Louis Carserides.

Carserides’ day job is as a parliamentary assistant to Croydon North MP Steve Weed OBE.

“At least it means that Steve’s snitch is no longer running group affairs from his boss’s office in Westminster,” a Katharine Street source told Inside Croydon.

Ben-Hassel will also chair the council’s ethics committee.

Fitzsimons, who for six years as chair of the council’s scrutiny committee failed to clock that there was much amiss with the Town Hall finances, Brick by Brick, the Fairfield Halls, the state of council housing or the council’s much-reduced reserves, gets the opportunity to take over as the vice-chair of the general purpose committee.

Pompous figure: Christopher Herman

As part of the post-bankruptcy reforms of the council, that committee has an independent chair, Dr Olu Olasode (who is paid £8,000), and exists to hold the council executive, therefore Mayor Jason Perry, to account.

It is a role not dissimilar to that of the scrutiny committee when Fitzsimons was so spectacularly useless as its chair.

Stepping down from King’s shadow cabinet are Mike Bonello (children and young people) and Brigitte Graham (communities and culture), to be replaced by the ludicrously pompous figure of Christopher Herman and the very earnest Amy Foster.

Also of note is that, after a year draped in Trumptonesque scarlet and ermine robes as the borough’s ceremonial mayor (for which “job” she received almost 16 grand in SRAs), there is no shadow cabinet job for Alisa Flemming.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Town Hall Chamber, according to Conservative sources, Mayor Perry and the Tories are making no changes to their cabinet “for now”.

As it is the Tories’ turn in the Buggin’s Turn system of ceremonial Mayor, permanent backbencher and racist Tony Pearson (just 12 pieces of casework for the people of New Addington in a 10-month period) is to be installed as the borough’s ceremonial Mayor next week, at the same event where the Freedom of the Borough is to be awarded to Stormzy. Should be interesting…

Read more: Jewitt says there was no wrong-doing – by her charity’s boss
Read more: Making the case for councillors’ casework to be made public
Read more: #TheLabourFiles: Whip letters prove they knew hack was illegal
Read more: Fix! Internal Labour inquiry confirms selection stitch-up

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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 Alisa Flemming, Amy Foster, Brigitte Graham, Christopher Herman, Clive Fraser, Croydon Council, Croydon North, Karen Jewitt, Leila Ben-Hassel, Louis Carserides, Mayor Jason Perry, Mike Bonello, Patsy Cummings, Sean Fitzsimons, Simon Hall, Steve Reed MP, Stuart King, Tony Newman, Tony Pearson and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Jewitt sacked while Newman Numpties scramble back to power

  1. Leslie Parry says:

    The reshuffle of Labours Shadow Cabinet was long overdue and I could point the finger at many of those appointments.

    But one very good appointment is Amy Foster, one of the few local councillors who really cares about representing people and issues.

    However I am really surprised at Councillor Herman’s appointment, a parachuted-in candidate a year ago by the LCF, bypassing local members. Has a record of not representing community issues from at least one residents association, fails to represent a Regina Road residents case in various housing issues, yet given such responsibility. This is a questionable appointment to this shadow portfolio.

  2. Please tell us how you photographed Clive Fraser enjoying a snifter in his bath!!!!!!!!!!! Can we see more? On second thoughts …

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