|Croydon Radio: Newman (Left) Fisher (Right)|
Croydon Labour Leader Tony Newman repeatedly stumbled in the first Radio debate ahead of the Croydon Local Elections 2014. In the live interview on the In the Loop show hosted by Bieneosa Ebite, Newman went head-to-head against current Conservative Leader Mike Fisher in the first in a string of debates that will decide who governs Croydon for the next four years.
Labour’s Newman focussed the debate around Labour’s pocket manifesto entitled ‘Ambitious for Croydon’ but Fisher hit back claiming the document should be called ‘Ambivalent for Croydon’. On the attack, Fisher then said that the Labour leader makes a detailed pitch on what he wants to do for Croydon, but nowhere in the document does he explain how he is going to pay for it, accusing Labour of being dishonest with the people of Croydon.
Fisher then moved the debate onto Council Tax attacking Labour for increasing Council Tax by 27% and 36% when they were last in the Town Hall. Newman responded by saying that the Tories were obsessed with things that happened ten years ago, Fisher reminded Newman that the reason for this is that it was then that Labour were last in power.
Newman ended the debate by plugging his best friend Andrew Pelling, with Fisher saying “Let’s talk about Andrew Pelling shall we…” before the presenter cut the interview short.
The lacklustre performance from the usually booming and passionate Labour leader has underlined fears within the Labour group that its personal attack campaign is beginning to backfire badly in swing seats such as Waddon and New Addington.
Polling shows a close race in both seats with everything left to play for, but voters have become disenchanted with Labour due to its repeated attacks on the private lives, character and families of Conservative candidates via sites such as the Inside Croydon Blog, which Newman regularly writes for.
In one post, Local New Addington resident Tony Pearson is branded a ‘Pillock’, a fact that has not gone down well with local people in the marginal ward. “Conservative Councillor Tony Pearson is a decent, local family man who has lived in New Addington all his life and does not deserve this kind of personal abuse from Labour,” said one source.
*Listen to the show by clicking here