The fix is in: Labour excludes members from Croydon selection

Labour members in the new Croydon East constituency are furious that unelected and unidentified party officials have gone ahead and begun the selection process that potentially will be handing a job for life to the ‘lucky’ winner. By Political Editor WALTER CRONXITE

Carefully screened: ‘Bodger’ Bodmer got on to the longlist, despite being demonstrably useless

Wannabe MPs who applied to be the Labour candidate in Croydon East were forced to endure a four-day wait before they were finally advised by the party that they had made it onto the long list.

You could almost sense the massive sigh of relief as some tweeted their good news with careful, party-approved banners.

Among those to confirm that they had made it through to the next stage of selection were Natasha Irons, the Merton councillor, Olga Fitzroy, the councillor in Lambeth, and Johnson Situ, a former councillor in Southwark, as well as Joel “Bodger” Bodmer, who has never been elected to public office.

Bodger does, though, have a track record of completely fouling up an entire election campaign in Croydon last year, seeing Labour lose control of the council, lose several council seats and lose the mayoral election, too.

Bodger has chosen as his selection catch-line “Living in Croydon”, which actually wasn’t true a few months ago when he was seeking selection in Southend…

Many suspect that Bodger is the candidate favoured by London Region and Steve Reed OBE, the MP for Croydon North/Lambeth South.

The final selection meeting is to take place on November 25 – before any annual general meeting has been held in order to conduct such mundane business as to elect officials democratically in the new Croydon East Constituency Labour Party.

Party members have lodged formal complaints about the way they are being frozen out of the selection process.

Members will get to vote at the selection meeting, but by then, the carve-up of the long list and the short-list selection will have already been done, by officials that have never been elected, but were installed by London Region in September.

Unelected: Carole Bonner was rejected by CLP members on the last two occasions she tried to be elected

The “interim” officers imposed by Labour’s London region are led by chair Carole Bonner, the former councillor and loyal cheerleader for Tony Newman.

Bonner earned herself national notoriety when she was snapped in a council meeting apparently playing solitaire on her mobile phone.

On the last two occasions when she stood for official roles within her CLP, Bonner was rejected by members.

Bonner is working with Melanie Felten as CLP interim secretary and Mark Henson, the husband of another Newman Numpty, councillor Maddie Henson, as treasurer.

Croydon East is 178th on the Labour list of target seats. Made up of bits of the previously marginal Croydon Central and parts of Tory stronghold Croydon South, it is reckoned to be a 98% sure thing for Labour.

So the reality is that come the General Election sometime in the next 12 months, it won’t be the electors of Croydon East who pick their MP. It will be the 150 or so Labour Party members who bother to turn up at Ruskin House a fortnight on Saturday to scribble a name on a scrap of paper. Whoever is selected is likely to have a job for life – or for as long as they can stand the lifestyle that comes with working at the House of Commons.

And if the worst fears of rank-and-file Labour members in Croydon are confirmed, even then they won’t have a real choice, since the outcome will have already been heavily influenced by who Bonner and her mysterious selection committee allow through to the shortlist. And those who they decide to block.

Sigh of relief: Natashas Irons, from Merton, endured a four-day wait for this news

Members who have sought to be included on the shortlisting selection panel have had their applications ignored by Bonner, not even getting the courtesy of a reply.

In an email to members sent on Friday evening – more than a day after the longlisting interviews had been held – Bonner (signing herself as “Procedures Secretary – Croydon East Selection”), wrote that a selection committee chosen by an “East Croydon Labour Party” (which has never actually had its inaugural meeting), will draw up the shortlist for candidates to be interviewed this Saturday, November 11, before announcing who will go forward to face the members on November 25.

“The Croydon East Labour Party have agreed a Selection Committee for this procedure. The Selection Committee will consider all candidate applications and draw up a shortlist based on the names submitted to the longlist by the NEC,” Bonner wrote.

“The shortlist will be confirmed following interviews conducted by the Selection Committee… The final decision will be made by local members at a hustings meeting where you will be able to question candidates before casting your vote.”

But Labour members who have contacted Inside Croydon complain about the secrecy and absence of any democracy around the process.

“We’ve no idea who is even on the selection committee,” said one. “The members have not been involved whatsoever. It’s a farce.”

Another member said, “Wards have been frozen out with no time to make nominations.” Most functioning CLPs operate on a branch system, in which activists at ward level are allowed some say in such important decisions.

“Instead, we have a small clique of clowns deciding who represents Croydon.”

Others have confronted Bonner, putting questions to her in writing. “How did we go about agreeing this selection committee? Who is it? How do we scrutinise it?

“I would be very grateful for some clarity on this.”

By the time of publication, and true to Bonner’s long-established modus operandi, there had been no response from the “interim”, unelected and entirely unaccountable chair of Croydon East CLP. Maybe she was busy playing Solitaire?

Read more: Bodger’s back! Reed’s chum being lined up for Croydon East
Read more: #TheLabourFiles: MP Reed, Evans and the Croydon connection
Read more: Labour figures busy playing a game of selection musical seats

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16 Responses to The fix is in: Labour excludes members from Croydon selection

  1. JohnG says:

    Its the ways paries work to stitch up the electroate. Have a transferable vote to elect the majority candidate. But the lemmings follow the leader over the clif not thinking where they are going. If it the party it must be right even if activists lead the way. Probably why people do not bother to vote in safe seats as it will never make a difference.

  2. Peter Underwood says:

    One important point I will disagree with in this article is that, whoever Labour foist onto the ballot paper, it will still be down to the people of Croydon East to decide who represents them.

    National polling rightly shows that the Conservatives are heading for a disaster at the next election, and the performance of 15% Perry is doing them no favours here in Croydon.

    But national polling doesn’t reflect that the people of Croydon have no liking for Labour either after their trashing of our town and years of Council mismanagement.

    As a local resident and someone who has been working for years to improve our area, I am offering people a real alternative to the tired old parties. Polling currently shows the Green Party in third place across London. So if you understandably don’t want Labour or Conservative getting in, voting Green is your best chance of getting something better.

    • I’d need to check, but pretty certain that no one who’s finished third in a General Election has so become that constituency’s MP.

      • Peter Underwood says:

        The Green Party finished third in Brighton Pavillion consituency in 2005 then Caroline Lucas won in 2010. That’s what happens in a democracy, people are allowed to change who they vote for and parties that didn’t win last time could win next time.

        • So you’re planning for 2029? Impressive!

          • Peter Underwood says:

            If you want Labour to win, then you are welcome to carry on telling people that there isn’t any choice. I believe we deserve better, and I believe people do have a choice, so I’m going to carry on offering people that option.

            Given the cost-of-living crisis, the climate crisis, and the moral crisis in politics, it’s clear we need change, and we need it as quickly as possible. That’s why I stand for election, so I can do even more to help make those changes happen. If you are happy to wait until 2029 for things to get better, that’s up to you, but there are millions of people who can’t wait that long.

            No one with any sense is saying that change will be easy. But change certainly won’t happen if people carry on doing what they’ve always done. So I will keep trying to change people’s minds and keep hoping that this time I’ve done enough to convince enough people that voting Green is their best option.

            You can support that, you can oppose that, or you can just sit on the sidelines – that’s your choice.

          • Peter, this has nothing to do with what we may want or not. We are simply reporting what’s going on.

            And if Electoral Calculus says that the Green Party has 0% chance of winning Croydon East, then we think that is worthy of consideration however disappointing you may find that news.

            The reality is that it doesn’t matter how many times you repeat your carefully considered campaign mantras about old and new parties. You are in a rigged system. 0% chance.

            And yes, it does start to appear a little desperate if, when we report on how a bunch of people who have been repeatedly exposed as inept, incompetent and dishonest are conducting themselves ineptly, incompetently and dishonestly in order to rig that already rigged system, that you jump in to repeat your campaign mantras. 0% chance.

            Over time, such repeated interventions might even work against you, and reduce your chances of winning Croydon East. If that were possible.

      • Eileen Gale says:

        That is because our first past the post system encourages non committed voters to vote to get one out or keep one out.

  3. Ken Towl says:

    I am one of the unfortunate members of the newly created Croydon East. I haven’t made a formal complaint yet but I may do so. I tried to get answers internally but my emails to the (unelected) “Procedures Secretary” have, like others, it seems, gone unanswered.

    It appears that the “long” list comprises the four mentioned above, all of whom have tweeted their status, and no one else. It will be interesting to see what the shady anonymous/unelected Selection Committee (not only did we not choose them, we don’t know who they are) does on Saturday 11th.

    They surely won’t discard both Olga and Natasha, because that would leave an all-male shortlist which would look unrepresentative. They surely won’t discard both Johnson and Natasha because that would leave an all-white shortlist and that would look unrepresentative, so perhaps they will discard just one of them. They won’t discard Joel because their job appears to be to get him selected.

    The only honest, fair, democratic move at this stage, would be to leave a shortlist of four and, in the spirit, at least, of the rules of a democratic organisation, let the members decide.

    • Mathew Hill says:

      I sympathise with your concerns Ken (although, conversely, if the process does manage to proceed democratically and transparently, you and your fellow Croydon East members will possess a great deal of power, seeing how the selected Labour candidate is practically guaranteed to be elected to Parliament).

      I simply want to add my thoughts, for whatever they’re worth (probably not a lot), with respect to Olga and Natasha. I don’t know Joel or Johnson, so I can’t speak either for or against them, but I will say that based on my personal experience over the last four years, both Olga and Natasha are two of the most hard-working, conscientious, dedicated, thoughtful, approachable and committed people I’ve met within the London Labour Party, and Croydon East constituents will be lucky to have either of them represent them at Parliament.

  4. James Smyth says:

    For Gods sake Peter give your posturing a rest, no one is likely to vote for your party especially if they look at the mess your party have made in Scotland!

  5. Carl Lucas says:

    I don’t want that Bodmer clown as my MP, will probably be even worse than Jones, who originally campaigned to solve knife crime, only to see it surge on her watch. The Tory Cummings looks like he’s trying to strip Croydon of its assets on the cheap. Got the bloke who’ll end up third begging for votes here, it’s really not looking good!!

  6. Tom Friedman says:

    The whole selection is rigged to anoint Bodmer. The Newman-Reed mafia strikes again with the full backing of Labour’s London region.

    The corrupt mafia that wields the influence – Newman-Bonner and Henson – continue with their shenanigans. The ‘chosen’ one is already preordained as a lead by the local ‘UNELECTED’ procedural secretary. May I ask who appointed Bonner to such a position? Why were the CLP members not consulted or indeed given an opportunity to elect someone more competent to oversee such an important appointment?

    It is the same old corrupt mafia that wields the influence in Croydon – Newman-Bonner – Henson shit show that keeps decent members away from the corrupt politics. All dissenting voices are muted. Steve Reed must be rubbing his hands to see his mate Bodmer in pole position. Let’s hope the turn out at Ruskin House will prove him wrong.

  7. It’s good that in these times of woke political correctness and all this talk about equality and diversity that a white bloke with a beard and no qualifications and few abilities is going to become a Croydon MP. Proof that it’s not what you know, it’s who you know that counts. Right Steve?

  8. Anthony Miller says:

    As I remember the Croydon Central selection…. There were two viable candidates …a couple of no hopers and one not that bothered ot bought off? … It went to the wire with 1 vote in it. I’m not sure who made the long list but there were probably some proper no hoper whatsoeverers…… Making a successful run isn’t just about making the shortlist… you’ve got to have backers and …erm a … scheme?… I’ve always thought that if you can’t fix an internal selection you don’t deserve to be an MP… Seriously though … I imagine the long overdue redrawing of Constituency boundaries is Christmas come early for very many… Imagine, this must be being replayed all over the country… Further advice is available in my upcoming book – “How to Get a career that I wouldn’t want – 20 years of watching internal selections from the back row”

    Ps please don’t ring me about how great you are. I’m now in Croydon South. Tinkerty Tonk!

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