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Negrini bans use of words ‘Tory’, ‘Barwell’ and ‘May’ at council

Inside Croydon

Croydon, where a constituency Labour meeting last summer banned the use of the word “Blairite”, this week saw the words and phrases “Tory government”, “Barwell”, “Conservative”, “Labour”, “Reed” and “May” all proscribed from use by councillors at a full council meeting at the Town Hall.

Election purdah, the period in which council activities have to be strictly neutral to avoid any accusations of partisanship, does not begin until May 5. But Jo Negrini, the council chief executive, was adamant that she had received legal advice that meant that there was to be no political debate in the council chamber.

George Orwell would have been so proud of Negrini’s bizarre interpretation of the rules, which left the leaders of both the Labour and Tory groups on the council looking more confused than usual, and saw councillors tongue-tied as they tried to ask questions of cabinet members without mentioning… well, the…

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