A Strong Voice for Croydon Central - Gavin Barwell MP
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Apology accepted
22/05/2011 22:45:00

Earlier today, Inside Croydon posted a response to my post of yesterday morning.

I am happy accept the gracious apology that has been offered - and the offer of a pint of ale in a Croydon public house - and so far as I am concerned, the matter is now closed. I also acknowledge that - the claims I referred to in my last post apart - the coverage of my work on Inside Croydon has been perfectly reasonable: sometimes the site has criticised me and sometimes it has praised me. On this occasion, I felt a line had been crossed - a number of claims were being made that were factually untrue and, if not withdrawn, very damaging to my reputation (I was being accused of having committed a criminal offence). But unless such a line is crossed, it is important for politicians to have a thick skin. Freedom to disagree, to criticize, even to ridicule are important elements of our democracy.

I am also happy to accept Steven’s word that he is not an activist for any political party and to apologise for any offence this may have caused to him or the Labour Party and for the mis-spelling of his name.

He asks for clarification on one point: he accepts that my campaign didn’t receive any donations from Lord Ashcroft personally or from any company in which he has an interest but asks whether we received any money from any funds established by Lord Ashcroft specifically to assist Tory candidates standing in marginal seats? The answer in relation to the General Election campaign ie the period from 1st January 2010 to polling day is no. We did receive some money from Conservative Campaign Headquarters shortly after my selection in early 2008. Since Lord Ashcroft donated money to the Conservative Party during this period, you could argue that on a pro rata basis £30-40 of this money came from him. That’s the limit of it.

Steven may also wish to be aware that the accounts of local political parties are publicly available on the Electoral Commission’s website.

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Readers' Comments

On 24/05/2011 15:50:00 Anthony Miller wrote:
The local Labour party does not put your minor overspend down to anything other than a cock-up, Gavin. If it had wanted to it could have complained at the time at which you sought relief. It did not - as it is not that petty. Fortunately the local Labour party were unable to get another £10,000 out of the central kitty during the general election so we are unable to find out if Gerry Ryan is as equally as bad as maths as you are but one does still feel an frisson of there-for-the-grace-of-God-go-I even though clearly we can't afford to go there.

I have to say we did find it slightly ironic that having outspent us by 10 grand you then had to spend another 10 grand seeking relief because you went over by 10p by mistake or something silly and we would encourage you to learn from these mistakes by repeating them exactly so we can all have a good laugh in 2015 too. Maybe you should have just spent 10 grand less in the first place...? It would've been cheaper.

There is no doubt hard cash helps win elections but it is easy to blame lack of finance for election losses as a substitute for self analysis or questioning policy. For example I believe the Yes to AV campaign vastly outspent the No to AV campaign. Didn't do them any good did it? And Andrew Pelling spent about as much as Gerry Ryan. He just about got his deposit back. Although the ceiling on election spending is an important element to democracy I do think some people underestimate how much money can buy.

The one thing that I did think was wrong (even from your own point of view) was that you spend so much money on getting people to the polling stations and then as little as possible staffing them. It doesn't seem to make much sense to me...




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Gavin Barwell, 133 Wickham Road, CR0 8TE, Tel  020 8663 8741      © Gavin Barwell  2019       Promoted by Ian Parker on behalf of Gavin Barwell, both at 36 Brighton Road, Purley, CR8 2LG