Dewey pleads guilty to possessing indecent images of children

Serious questions over safeguarding raised as Labour Party election candidate now faces sentencing

On bail: former Croydon Labour staffer Tom Dewey

The Labour Party’s former borough organiser for Croydon has admitted serious charges of possessing indecent images of children.

Tom Dewey appeared at Uxbridge Magistrates Court yesterday, where he pleaded guilty to five separate charges.

He admitted a charge of making five Category A indecent images of children on April 29, 2022 in Hackney, a further charge of making four Category B indecent images on the same date, as well as making 203 Category C indecent images of children on the same date.

Dewey also admitted a charge of possessing 78 extreme pornographic images of children on April 29, 2022, and having 1,523 prohibited images of children in his possession on or before January 20, 2022.

The dates entered with the charges are key in the case of Dewey and the manner it has been handled by senior figures in the Labour Party, including the Mayor of Hackney, a local MP, a parliamentary candidate and even David Evans, the party’s General Secretary.

In April 2022, Dewey’s home in Hackney was raided by officers from the National Crime Agency, who seized Dewey’s computers and other devices. At the time, Dewey was sharing the house with Phil Glanville, the Labour Mayor of Hackney.

Six days after the police raid and his arrest, Dewey stood as a Labour Party election candidate in De Beauvoir ward in Hackney in the council elections.

Glanville has claimed that he had no idea about Dewey’s arrest, nor the nature of the investigation, until after the local elections, when he says he was told by the council.

“I have not seen or spoken to Mr Dewey since I became aware of the investigation,” Glanville said earlier this month. It is unclear how long Dewey remained living in Glanviille’s house after his arrest.

Dewey was elected as a Labour councillor, but he resigned 11 days later, triggering a by-election.

Not a clue: Phil Glanville, Mayor of Hackney, says he had no idea that someone living in his house was arrested for possession of indecent images of children

Political rivals, and some Hackney Labour members, are now demanding to know why, given the nature of the offences involved, Dewey was not suspended as a party member immediately following his arrest – as has occurred in other cases – and withdrawn by the party as a candidate.

The arrest occurred too late for Labour to nominate an alternative candidate in the local elections, meaning that if they had withdrawn Dewey, they will have lost one of the 50 seats that the party holds on the 57-seat Hackney council.

By allowing Dewey to remain a candidate, standing down after the election, Labour was able to field another candidate in the subsequent by-election, which they won.

Labour members are becoming angry at what one called a “cynical and sickening cover-up” by the party for more than a year, possibly to protect the reputations of Glanville, local MP Meg Hillier, for whom Dewey worked as an assistant for a spell, and Polly Billington.

Billington is the former BBC broadcast journalist and aide to Ed Miliband who has recently been selected as Labour’s parliamentary candidate for South Thanet. She was Labour’s other candidate, alongside Dewey, in De Beauvoir in those 2022 local elections.

Sources in Hackney Labour suggest that the party’s London region officials stepped in last week to take charge of aspects of local management after some members had begun to question serious issues around safeguarding that the Dewey case had raised.

Dewey, who is now 36, worked in Croydon in 2014, mainly to prepare for the next year’s General Election campaign, where Sarah Jones was to challenge Conservative Gavin Barwell in Croydon Central. Dewey will have worked with senior figures within the local Labour Party at the time, including council leader Tony Newman and David Evans, now General Secretary in Keir Starmer’s Labour Party.

Dewey left his job in Croydon abruptly in December 2014. No one in Croydon Labour has been prepared to explain why Dewey left his job so soon.

Dewey has been on bail since his arrest last year. Yesterday, he was committed to Isleworth Crown Court for sentencing on August 15.

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2 Responses to Dewey pleads guilty to possessing indecent images of children

  1. derek thrower says:

    There is something very wrong with London Labour when it can allow a situation like this to occur without any thought about how this will look outside it’s echo chamber.
    There is a reason why we never hear Labour talk about the desperate reforms needed for this country and it seems to be a systemic problem with itself.

  2. dave says:

    It’s reasonable to ask if they knew enough to suspend Dewey from the party but the timing of just a few days was not helpful. They couldn’t have withdrawn him from the ballot.
    You will probably see a statement by the council after the sentencing in August.
    Something you could do if you haven’t is report on Croydon’s policy on DBS checks for councillors, if any, as I believe this isn’t yet mandatory. But Dewey would have passed a DBS check if not caught.

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