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Steve Cllr Steve O'Connell, a Croydon councillor and member of the London Assembly, reports from the front line.

In London’s biggest Borough, after umpteen months of shadow boxing, the Tory Party can now let loose the dogs of War on Labour. And it is only Labour, as we ran the last Liberal out of Town 4 years ago. Part and parcel of course is ensuring those brutish types from the BNP gain no foothold anywhere in London’s Third City. I trust in the good sense of Croydonions to ignore their lies and send them scurrying back to whichever cave they emerged from.

We have enjoyed four years of Tory Administration after 12 long years of Labour mismanagement of the Town Hall. I always say that it takes 2 terms of any Administration to embed real improvements for our people. But led by Mike Fisher we have now got the finances under control and are delivering on our promises around low Council Tax, great recycling, building shiny new Council Houses, protecting our lush greenland and getting more Uniforms on the streets.

In 2006 we gained four seats in the North of the Borough and I don’t doubt that the Tory Standard will be planted even more firmly in the North, with more seats falling to us. An enormous amount of work is
going into the seats that we hold, led by the legendary Phil Thomas. So without being complacent I am anticipating a mouth watering increase in our majority to over 20 seats.

It would be remiss of me at this stage not to mention the passing of Councillor Lindsay Frost. Lindsay was a fantastic campaigner, a great colleague, family man, and all round good guy. He will be sorely missed.

Turning to the Parliamentary fray. Richard Ottaway in the South of the Borough is surely anticipating an increase in his already significant majority, as befits an excellent MP. In the North, the Labour incumbent Malcolm Wicks is being pushed hard by the tenacious Jason Haddon. It is of tribute to Jason that Malcolm has felt the need to get off his backside and actually do some campaigning.

The main battleground will be in the Centre, where my friend and colleague Gavin Barwell will be seeking to hold the seat for the Tories. Labour’s opponent Gerry Ryan, a nice guy, but out of his depth, should be seen off. Gavin’s Team is working incredibly hard. The potential fly in the Ointment of course is the declaration by former MP Andrew Pelling that he will stand as an Independent. As a former colleague of Andrew’s and as someone who has much benefited from his guidance it saddens me that it has come to this. However the Force is with us, and Gavin is such a super candidate I am confident that Croydon will return definitely two Conservative MPs.

It’s a family affair this year as I am standing for Council in Kenley whilst the present Mrs O’Connell, Michele one of our candidates in Thornton Heath and is hoping for a big swing.

Obviously it’s two years until the mayoral and GLA elections, when I hope again to be representing Croydon and Sutton, but for the moment it’s all hands on deck for May 6th.

3 comments for: The battle for Croydon

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