Croydon elects first ever Tory mayor Jason Perry as council's financial woes take toll on Labour

New Croydon Mayor Jason Perry
Croydon Conservatives
New Croydon mayor Jason Perry has been a Croydon Councillor since 1994. Credit: Croydon Conservatives

Croydon has bucked the trend across London by electing a Conservative Mayor.

Jason Perry has become Croydon’s first directly elected Mayor after beating Labour’s Val Shawcross by fewer than 600 votes.

The count wasn’t completed until 5am on Saturday as second preference votes were re-allocated.

During campaigning both candidates had tried to distance themselves from criticism of their own parties.

Jason Perry told me that ‘Partygate’ had come up on the doorstep, whilst Val Shawcross was keen to push the message she was different to the previous local Labour leadership who had overseen the borough going bust.

It appears it was local issues not the national narrative which swung this vote.

In 2020, the Labour run council issued a section 114 order - essentially admitting they had gone bankrupt.

They blamed years of Tory austerity cutbacks but their own investments in real estate failed to return a profit and tipped finances into the red.

A report by their own auditors found there had been “collective corporate blindness” about the seriousness of the situation.

The upshot of the financial woes is that (unlike the grass verges) services have been cut and many living in the borough are not happy.

They’ve certainly made their frustrations clear at the ballot box.

Mr Perry was clearly emotional when victory was announced. He now faces the challenge of delivery on his promises with very little money to play with.