Croydon Central

2015 Result:
Conservative: 22753 (43%)
Labour: 22588 (42.7%)
Lib Dem: 1152 (2.2%)
Green: 1454 (2.7%)
UKIP: 4810 (9.1%)
TUSC: 127 (0.2%)
Others: 57 (0.1%)
MAJORITY: 165 (0.3%)

Category: Ultra-marginal Conservative seat

Geography: Greater London. Part of the Croydon council area.

Main population centres: Croydon, New Addington.

Profile: While Croydon Central contains the commercial and shopping centre of Croydon, it is really the eastern part of the borough. Most of the seat is semi-detached, middle-of-the-road suburbia, places like Shirley and Heathfield, although to the north of the constituency is more ethnically mixed. At the southern end of the constituency is the large council estate of New Addington, a somewhat isolated development on the very edge of London that that has traditionally provided Labour with the core of their support in this seat.

Politics: Croydon Central may not really be central geographically (it is more the east of the brough), but it certainly is political, halfway between the safe Tory Croydon South and safely Labour Croydon North. It was held by Labour between 1997 and 2005 before being won by the Conservatives on a wafer thin minority. The new Conservative MP Andrew Pelling was subsequetly suspended from the party following his arrest on an allegation of assault. No charges were pressed and Pelling sued the Mail on Sunday successfully for libel. He contested the 2010 election as an Independent (one of four MPs at the election who stood against their former parties as independents), finishing fourth but saving his deposit, and was replaced by Conservative Gavin Barwell. The Conservatives narrowly retained it in 2015 on the smallest majority in London.

Current MP
GAVIN BARWELL (Conservative) Born 1972, Cuckfield. Educated at Trinity School of John Whitgift and Cambridge University. Former Conservative party director of operations and head of the party`s target seats campaign. Croydon councillor 1998-2010. First elected as MP for Croydon Central in 2010. PPS to Greg Clark 2011-12, PPS to Michael Gove 2012-2013. Government whip since 2013. Selected for Sutton and Cheam prior to the 2005 election, but withdrew due to family illness.
Past Results
Con: 19567 (39%)
Lab: 16688 (34%)
LDem: 6553 (13%)
BNP: 1448 (3%)
Oth: 5411 (11%)
MAJ: 2879 (6%)
Con: 19974 (41%)
Lab: 19899 (41%)
LDem: 6384 (13%)
UKIP: 1066 (2%)
Oth: 1634 (3%)
MAJ: 75 (0%)
Con: 17659 (39%)
Lab: 21643 (47%)
LDem: 5156 (11%)
UKIP: 545 (1%)
Oth: 857 (2%)
MAJ: 3984 (9%)
Con: 21535 (39%)
Lab: 25432 (46%)
LDem: 6061 (11%)
Oth: 885 (2%)
MAJ: 3897 (7%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
GAVIN BARWELL (Conservative) See above.
SARAH JONES (Labour) Campaigns and policy director.
JAMES FEARNLEY (Liberal Democrat) Educated at LSE. Communications consultant.
PETER STAVELEY (UKIP) Born 1962, Crawley. Educated at St Wilfreds and Polytechnic of Central London. Transport planning consultant. Contested Lewisham West and Penge 2010.
ESTHER SUTTON (Green) Educated at Winchester School of Art. Publican.
MARTIN CAMDEN (UK Progressive Democracy)
Comments - 746 Responses on “Croydon Central”
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  1. John Cartwright, resident of this constituency and OMRLP candidate at the recent Croydon North by-election, announced his defection to the Conservative Party on April Fool’s Day.

  2. Labour will take this seat. My bet is on Louisa Woodley becoming the Labour candidate for this seat.

  3. Labour won’t take this seat – unless their candidate is absolutely amazing.

  4. Both of you are wrong to be so certain. This is likely to be a very close contest, in my opinion.

  5. This is one of 8 seats in Greater London I have down as Labour gains on my current prediction.

    The others are;

    Hornsey and Wood Green
    Brent Central
    Ealing Central and Acton
    Brentford and Isleworth
    Harrow East
    Enfield North

  6. I think a lot depends on how Andrew Pellings 2010 vote would have gone. If that mostly tories then we are probably favourites.

    I agree with Barnaby. It will likely be close. Id estimate 60:40 in our favour at this point.

  7. For the Tories to hold onto this seat then they will have to take Corby. People are forgetting that the Labour lead in London, is much, much, much higher that in the rest of the country. Barwell might be able to fight a tough fight but all he will be doing is making the majority of his Labour predecessor lower than the national swing would have it.

  8. Lord Ashcroft’s mega-poll is showing a 5% swing from Con to Lab in London, which means (according to his report) that Labour would win Brentford, Croydon Central, Ealing Central, Enfield North, Harrow East, Hendon. The Tories would hold Battersea, Enfield Southgate, Finchley, Ilford North.

  9. I’m not sure Labour is doing much much better in London.
    It could be quite a static area with solid blocks of support.
    It depends on which day you look at the polls – sometimes it’s very close, even at the moment.
    Sub samples.

  10. Joe James B, of course Labour is doing well in London, London is a notionally centre-left city. Why on earth do you think Boris kept on talking up immigration and diversity as well as campaigning for gay marriage? Labour performs very well in London and Croydon Central is for the taking. A strong Labour campaign here will unseat him, especially looking at the swing shown in Croydon North.

  11. Exactly. The GLA list vote last year wasn’t that bad for the Tories in Croydon Central – they were only slightly behind Labour. I think they have a good chance of just about holding on. UKIP won’t have any traction here.

  12. Enfield North is going to be lost very sadly though – even if the Tories improve on last time.

  13. GLA list vote, May 2012
    Croydon Central
    (not including postal votes)

    Lab 37.7%
    Con 36.0%
    Grn 6.8%
    UKIP 6.4%
    LD 4.7%
    BNP 3.2%
    CPA 2.4%
    Eng Dem 1.1%

  14. Could I say thanks to Andy for posting the 1981 GLC programme. It’s a superb bit of history.

  15. It is – Sir Horace Cutler.
    I think we should have retained some form of London Government, although not a 92 seat monster.

    It was a very curious period where although the SDP existed, there was a kind of complacency that the Tories were so unpopular (although actually not all that unpopular except for the frenzy around late 81)
    that it didn’t matter if the loony left took over.

    I don’t think people were quite ready to abandon 2 party politics.

  16. I found the Richmond result very painful – the start of a lot of our woes.

  17. I found the swing to Labour in places like Romford quite interesting although I think I had heard about Hornchurch.
    Perhaps some of these new Tory voters in 1979 were still very much swing voters
    but didn’t abandon Labour more decisively until they saw the far left riven party.

  18. Edward Leigh was the defending Conservative councillor in Richmond — I assume the same person as the current MP for Gainsborough.

  19. Leigh is the person I tend to think of when someone says “swivel-eyed”, not so much politically but physically. I remember when I was at home in the 1977 GLC election campaign when he was doing a sort of walkabout, and went past our house (it is a very quiet road & there weren’t many people about). He looked pretty normal in those days & yes it definitely was the same Edward Leigh Andy.

  20. The most striking thing about Andy’s 1981 election programme is the misplaced complacent confidence of Andrew McIntosh. He genuinely didn’t think there was any chance that Livingstone would depose him the next day. His performance was cringeworthy given that we all know what happened to him. I bet he regretted his complacency to his dying day.

    The interviews with Horace Cutler were also superbly entertaining. What a character. He had that kind of old fashioned suburban outer London accent which has almost died out now. You still occasionally hear it here in Bromley from very old people. Thanks again Andy.

  21. H Hemmelig- doesn’t Roy Hodgson have that kind of accent? He’s from Croydon and I hear strains of it.

  22. Perhaps Jimmy Hill would be a better example- he was from Balham. I know exactly the kind of accent you mean.

  23. I thought Horace Cutler was wonderful. If only there were still people like him in the Conservative Party today.

  24. “H Hemmelig- doesn’t Roy Hodgson have that kind of accent?”

    Not really, and nor does Jimmy Hill. They are both more like well spoken cockneys. The Cutler accent is posher, more reminiscent of the bits of outer London before they were annexed into Greater London. That’s why you still hear it a bit in Bromley as well.

  25. H Hemmelig- ah okay- interesting. Would you still hear the accent you are specifying a little deeper into Kent now, or is it disappearing full stop?

  26. RIP SIr Horace
    Wish we could have you back.

  27. There was a rather good picture of Cutler in the 1981 campaign, posing I think on Westminster Bridge, with his thumbs down predicting his own defeat.

  28. Tory

    I would say it’s disappearing. Rural west Kent also used to have a similar accent to the one I’m talking about…think the characters from “The Darling Buds of May”, but that’s almost gone as well. The estuary accent is becoming pretty universal in the south east.

  29. Sir Horace’s plain unspun honesty in the face of his defeat was certainly a big contrast with the politicians of today.

  30. Sadly we couldn’t have retained the GLC in 1981, even with Sir Horace,

    as the Government was pursuing a harsh (but entirely necessary) set of measures, to sort out the usual mess from another Labour Government.

    I had heard that he predicted it cryptically.

    Now to the match….

  31. The biggest flaw of the GLC was that elections consistently ended up as protest votes on incumbent governments rather than a reflection of the record of the incumbent GLC administration.

    To its credit, the Mayoral system seems to have changed this.

  32. ‘The estuary accent is becoming pretty universal in the south east.’

    I think that’s sad, not because I have a problem with the estuary accent per se but rather because I like the old variety of accents we used to have, of which estuary was just one. I suppose it’s inevitable though.

  33. The associated links to the by elections (Glasgow Hillhead, Beaconsfield, Belfast South) were all amazing to, particuarly the fact that the current SDLP MP stood and got next to nothing…..and then spent 20 years (although he missed the odd election) to building up a base.

    He must be a record for anywhere.

  34. I had a newspaper cutting (I think the Telegraph) of the 1977 County election results – perhaps the Saturday after rather than the Friday
    with Mrs Thatcher having a glass of bubbly with Sir Horace next to the Thames at County Hall,
    and some article with one of the staff quoted as referring to a smart lady trying to get in at the front.

  35. Quite why it’s so attractive to pronounce words like “think” as “fink” and “three” as “free” I’ll never quite understand. And it seems to be spreading to an ever larger area of the country.

  36. Can anyone see Gavin Barwell as a plausible London Mayor candidate in 2016 should he stand and lose here in 2015? I can’t really think of another London-based Tory who isn’t Boris Johnson who could plausibly stand and win in what is a mostly Labour-leaning city.

  37. Pelling will stand for Labour in next year’s local in Tory held Waddon ward.

  38. i wonder why he ever joined the tories in the first place

  39. Barwell for Mayor is interesting. However he might just move next door to Croydon South or even further down to Sutton and Cheam.

  40. Maybe there’s hope for the Tories holding Waddon after all.

    I can’t see having been a suspected wifebeater as a big vote winner.

  41. Interesting Waddon isn’t part of his old seat of Croydon Central – so he isn’t likely to get any real personal vote (although I am sure people will know who he is)

  42. But given there was precisely no evidence, I hope that the British tradition of innocent before proven guilty holds…..I always found it amusing that Horace Cutler was Tory leader of the GLC but didn’t actually live in London

  43. Waddon sounds interesting. Pelling versus the posh young Tory Cllr Clare George-Hilley, who appeared on a reality tv programme.

  44. where did horace cutler actually live

  45. He represented Harrow West
    and he was local to the area,
    also Mayor of Harrow on an earlier occasion,
    and a member of the old Middlesex County in that area.

    He was born in Stoke Newington.

  46. But he lived next door to a mate of mine in leafy Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire – in the Beaconsfield constituency

  47. Did he? Well that is a very nice area.

  48. Spreadsheet with local election results according to district/borough/unitary authority:

    The name of the district, etc. in bold indicates that it shares the same boundaries as a parliamentary constituency.

    (I posted this in the Broxtowe thread earlier but it didn’t show up in the recent comments section).

  49. The flaw in what Bob said above is that Richard Ottaway is retiring in 2015. Therefore, if Gavin Barwell loses to Labour here, there is almost certainly not going to be a vacancy in Croydon S at the election afterwards.
    Re Waddon ward, if Labour wins the Tory seat in New Addington ward, the party needs only to win 2 of the 3 seats in Waddon to take control of the council.

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