Bodger busted as Labour’s Croydon East selection resumes

LABOUR SELECTION SCANDAL: Controversial figure dropped from contest to be Starmer’s party’s nominee for safe seat.
EXCLUSIVE b
y STEVEN DOWNES

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Making a dog’s dinner of elections: Steve Weed and Joel ‘Bodger’ Bodmer

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Making a meal of selection: colleagues MP Steve Reed and Joel ‘Bodger’ Bodmer

Joel “Bodger” Bodmer, a political ally of MP Steve Reed, has been eliminated from Labour’s selection for the new Croydon East constituency.

London Labour revealed the bombshell in an email to members tonight – ending six months of controversy over a selection for what should be a safe-ish seat at the General Election later this year.

The selection was halted abruptly in November after mounting complaints that membership data had been tampered with and that lists provided to some candidates had had vital details altered.

It was alleged that Bodger – the chair of Croydon Labour’s Local Campaign Forum which lost the 2022 Croydon Mayoralty and local elections – had somehow been given early access to the vital membership lists to begin canvassing members for their support, while other candidates filed formal objections when it emerged that the members’ data that they were provided with was full of errors.

On one list, 71 members had their home address changed compared to a list from earlier in 2023; 26 had their phone number changed; 40 members had been given a “new” email addresses – potentially very handy when it comes to remote voting in a tightly contested selection…

Last week, Labour confirmed that an internal investigation had found that there had been an attempt at electoral fraud in Croydon East.

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No one’s choice: Joel Bodmer is thought unlikely to have survived any selection process involving local members who have witnessed him operate

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No one’s choice: Bodmer was unlikely to survive any selection process involving members who have witnessed him operate

Labour has reported itself to the Information Commissioner over the compromising of the personal data of around 600 members in the constituency.

Tonight, party members received an email from Labour officials which confirmed that only Olga Fitzroy, Natasha Irons and Johnson Situ would be on the ballot for members when the selection meeting is held on March 23.

“Joel Bodmer has withdrawn from the process,” the notice from London Labour stated.

“That’s a shabby euphemism for ‘busted’,” said one long-suffering grassroots member.

The email to members made no reference to the tampering with their data, nor to what measures the party may be taking with those found to be responsible or complicit.

The voting scandal is a huge embarrassment for Keir Starmer’s Labour Party, not only as a disappointment for Croydon North MP Reed, but also for the party’s General Secretary David Evans, whose old home patch is Croydon.

Despite being formed in October 2023, with three interim officers imposed by the party’s regional executive, Croydon East CLP has never yet held a meeting, either in-person or via Zoom. For some members, that there is to be a proper selection process, albeit long-delayed, is a welcome development, as many feared that the party hierarchy might impose a candidate on the constituency.

Labour’s latest email to Croydon East members tonight states: “Following on from last week’s communication about the resumption of certain selection processes, the Croydon East selection is now set to resume.”

Labour say that they conducted additional checks on members’ personal details “to ensure they were legitimate”.

The party will be conducting “virtual postal ballots” – meaning using Anonyvoter with a deadline for voting of 5pm on March 22 – and holding a selection hustings meeting the following day.

In the Croydon East parliamentary election, the Tories – with Jason Cummings, the Conservative councillor who helped push through last year’s 15% Council Tax hike – and the Greens – Peter Underwood – have already chosen their candidates.

Read more: Labour admits serious breach of private data in Croydon East
Read more: #TheLabourFiles: MP Reed, Evans and the Croydon connection
Read more: Croydon Labour’s ‘hidden primary’ will choose a new MP


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