Yesterday’s 12 month suspension of Cllr Chris Joannides from the Conservative Party may have looked like a decisive act. In reality it was the latest chapter in an internal turf war that saw him kicked out of the Council group but not the party itself. He was then re-selected as a Conservative candidate despite sitting as an independent.
For months the Leadership of the Council Group have locked horns with local party bosses over the issue and in the end the Conservative Party National Board of Directors was called to rule. The problem for both sides is that a Conservative can be stripped of their party whip by the Council but then re-selected for their seat by the local party.
When Joannides was reselected, the Council Group were outraged and called in the national party. This resulted in the Councillor’s suspension from the party, which makes it impossible for him to run as a Conservative.
The local party appear to have been keen to keep Cllr Joannides on side because he was a big player in the Greek Cypriot community, which is a large voting bloc in North London. He was also a major donor to the local party.
Now ordinary members are threatening to apply to have Enfield Southgate Conservative Association taken into ‘special measures’. This process gives the national party the right to sack all the officers, and replace them with people deemed more competent.
Cllr Joannides shared an image on Facebook of a woman and child dressed in burkas standing next to two bin bags. His comment under the photo was “I saw her standing there and I told her she had three beautiful children. She didn’t have to get all p***ed off and threaten me. It was an honest mistake!”
Joannides firstly claimed his Facebook account had been hacked and later dismissed the post as “blokeish banter”.
Breitbart London spoke exclusively to a former Enfield party member who had been outraged by the actions of the local party: “This man had been accused of distributing racist material whilst holding public office but the local party did everything they could to keep him in power.”
“He did nothing for his residents as a Councillor other than cause embarrassment by his Facebook antics. It’s disgraceful that the Council Group was forced to call in the National Party. It serves as further evidence that we should shut the local party down and start again. They are actively damaging our chances in May.”
“Only today, Labour in Enfield pledged to spend £100m on Social Housing, funded by an enormous tax rise. It’s vital that we stop this by winning at the locals in three months’ time.”
Cllr Tom Waterhouse, Conservative Whip at Enfield Council, said: “Cllr Joannides has never apologised for the offensive comments on his Facebook page.”
“He might just say it’s “banter”, but the fact is when you hold public office, people hold you to a higher standard and rightly so.”
“The Conservative Group on Enfield Council were therefore right to withdraw the Whip from Cllr Joannides last year, and the Conservative Party has acted proportionately in expelling him for a period of 12 months”.