Home South London Vote swings to Tories could see Labour lose 15 council seats

Vote swings to Tories could see Labour lose 15 council seats


NOT-SO-SPECIAL ELECTION SPECIAL: The poisonous legacy of Tony Newman and his cabal on the Town Hall could see the ex-leader’s former occasion worn out if this week’s by-election outcomes are repeated in 2022.
By WALTER CRONXITE, political editor

Narrowed margin: Labour’s Kola Agboola on the consequence declaration held at Olympia. He received in New Addington North by simply 229 votes

If Croydon Conservatives handle to repeat this week’s efficiency in Labour-held wards at subsequent 12 months’s borough-wide native elections, they could win an additional 15 council seats, and management of the Town Hall for the primary time since 2014.

It would additionally give the Conservatives the type of majority on the Town Hall that hasn’t been seen in Croydon for 35 years.

The final result of the 5 ward by-elections staged in Croydon on Thursday noticed no instant modifications for the borough’s political duopoly.

But the outcomes, revealed over the course of an election depend staged yesterday at Olympia in west London, will put additional stress on Hamida Ali, the Labour chief of Croydon’s bankrupt council.

The election outcomes needs to be very regarding for Ali and whoever it’s advising her, as they got here barely 24 hours after the publication of a damning report over the neglect, incompetence and lack of respect proven by her council to residents over at the least a four-year interval.

The voting swings to the Conservatives in Labour-held New Addington North, South Norwood and Ali’s personal Woodside wards have been large.

One consequence, in Woodside the place Mike Bonello received for Labour, was greeted with a tweet from the brand new councillor’s church, who stated that their congregant could be of their prayers. Woodside occurs to be the previous ward of Tony Newman, the discredited former chief of the council who was suspended by the Labour Party for his half in Croydon’s monetary collapse.

“Mike may want greater than prayers if he’s to clear up the mess left behind by Newman and his mates,” one occasion colleague famous cynically.

The voting swings within the Croydon by-elections have been notably completely different from the consequence within the Croydon and Sutton London Assembly seat, the place there was solely a modest shift away from Labour.

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Swings and roundabouts: Tory Party worker Jade Appleton held Park Hill and Whitgift for the Conservatives

But even there, as Sutton Tory councillor Neil Garratt beat Patsy Cummings, Labour had its worst London Assembly consequence on this south London constituency for 13 years.

In the council by-elections, New Addington North noticed the largest swing from Labour to Conservatives – 15.75 per cent in contrast to 2018’s native election consequence.

Labour’s Kola Agboola held on by 1,214 votes to 985 Tory backers in a by-election which, it’s value remembering, was known as following the resignation of Simon Hall, the previous cupboard member for finance who, like Newman, was suspended by the Labour Party.

A 15.75 per cent swing to the Tories, if repeated boroughwide in May 2022, would see them acquire 15 seats from Labour and have a crushing majority within the Town Hall chamber of 44 to 26. That could be the most important majority of any occasion in Croydon Council since 1986, on the peak of Thatcherism.

Wards that will flip blue with that type of swing could embrace Addiscombe East, Addiscombe West, New Addington South, Waddon, Fairfield, Norbury Park and maybe even one seat in Crystal Palace and Upper Norwood.

Gone from the council could be Labour big-hitters equivalent to scrutiny chair Sean Fitzsimons, cupboard members Patricia Hay-Justice, Oliver Lewis and Alisa Flemming, the chair of planning “Thirsty” Chris Clark, plus the chair of the Labour group, Joy Prince and the previous Tory MP-turned-Labour councillor, Andrew Pelling.

The motive the end in New Addington North appears to be like fairly so unhealthy is that the outcomes from Labour’s two different wards weren’t a lot better.

There was a 14.8 per cent swing to the Tories in South Norwood, the place native MP Steve Reed OBE had made certain {that a} member of his Westminster employees, Loizos Carserides, was on the poll paper for Labour, whereas in Woodside, Bonello was returned regardless of the 11.3 per cent swing to the Tories.

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Sean Fitzsimons: one among 15 Labour councillors whose seats are in danger if Thursday’s voting is repeated in 2022

Only as a result of Labour had huge leads from 2018 of between 40.6 and 54.8 per cent have been they ready to keep away from electoral meltdown this time spherical.

There could be little doubt that these outcomes present Croydon voters drifting away from Labour out of disaffection, and a few disgust, over Newman and Hall’s conduct when in command of the cash-strapped council, and the scandal over the state of council houses.

The swings away from Labour have been by no means close to repeated elsewhere in London in different elections staged on the identical day.

“Those are actually unhealthy figures,” a senior Croydon Labour official instructed Inside Croydon right now after reviewing the election outcomes.

“Will Croydon Labour members study the teachings from this week? I concern not.”

But the fickle nature of the voters additionally noticed swings to Labour in (*15*)-held and extra affluent wards, Kenley (3.15 per cent swing to Labour) and Park Hill and Whitgift (2.1 per cent), which have been nonetheless held for the Tories by Ola Kolade and Jade Appleton respectively.

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Picking up the items: Mike Bonello has inherited Tony Newman’s council seat

Perhaps most exceptional in regards to the swing to Labour in Kenley was that it was achieved with less-than-minimal campaigning.

The full-time, “skilled” native organiser for the native Labour Party by no means even bothered issuing a tweet on their official account to announce who was chosen because the candidate, and native officers struggled to discover anyone prepared to volunteer to act because the election agent – one other signal of the disaffection over the best way the council has been run.

With only a 12 months to go to the 2022 native elections, Labour appears to be like set to lose management of the council.

Leader Hamida Ali and her not-so-new cupboard, which contains a number of former favourites of Newman, have little time to retrieve the council’s dire monetary scenario that they themselves helped to create, and are left with little to supply the voters.

A Labour activist instructed Inside Croydon that, “The swing away from Labour within the three secure Labour wards displays what I used to be listening to on the doorstep. Voters have been sticking with Sadiq Khan for London Mayor however an alarming quantity have misplaced confidence in Croydon’s Labour-controlled council and can not vote Labour domestically.

“Next May’s council elections could be a massacre for Croydon Labour – particularly with so many brutal spending cuts to council providers nonetheless to be made within the subsequent 12 months.

“It additionally raises fascinating questions for each Labour and the Tories about what their positions could be for the referendum this autumn on whether or not Croydon ought to have a immediately elected Mayor.”

Read extra: Candidates’ robust job to shake off Labour repute
Read extra: Newman and Hall are ‘administratively suspended’ by Labour
Read extra: Council compelled to declare itself bankrupt
Read extra: Aide to MP Reed chosen for South Norwood by-election

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