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”
  1. Deepthroat continues to cherry pick the odd poll which supports his prediction and wilfully ignores the majority of others which suggest he will be proved wrong. Of the clutch of Ashcroft polls today, this was the only good one for the Tories. They are behind in Wirral West, Norwich North, Dumfriesshire and even Peterborough, with less than a week left. If the Tories don’t hold all four of those seats Cameron has almost no chance of remaining Prime Minister; They’ll need to hold 2 or 3 to be largest party. Time is running out. Portillo predicted last night that Miliband would be PM next Friday and it’s hard to fault his logic.

  2. To describe Croydon Central as: “Of the clutch of Ashcroft polls today, the only good one for the Tories” ….is very lazy, at best.

    How does he explain the change in odds on CON in these seats since this morning?

    CROYDON CENTRAL..from 5/4 to 1/2
    PUDSEY……………from 11/10 to 4/6
    BATTERSEA……..from 1/8 to 1/20
    Norwich North…..from 2/1 to 5/6
    Peterborough……no change (Con fav 1/2)
    WIRRAL WEST….no change (Lab fav)

    Miliband will not be PM – and it might be described as your Portillo moment when CON get a very decent amount of seats and stay in power (for the time being).
    You’ll also lose your bets HH.

  3. ANDYJS: I have had this for three months on my “surprise” CON holds that will help keep Cameron in power. My current CON total prediction is: 299.

    Andy what are your current thoughts on voter Turnout??- I think it’ll be >72%.

  4. Fighting talk! Deepthroat – do you want to back your confidence with the same bet I’ve got with Andy JS and Robin Hood? £25 that Miliband will become PM some time in 2015?

    My other bet is with Neil Turner that the Tories won’t have more Scottish seats than Labour (bet void if both are equal)…that one’s a sure winner but you can have that one as well if you want.

    Email me to arrange [email protected]

  5. didn’t the betting odds overstate the number of Tory seats at the last election?

  6. This is the type of seat that will indicate if Miliband becomes PM. Considering the rapid demograhic change in this seat over the past 5 years, it’ll be game over for Labour if they don’t win here.

    I accept your bet: £25
    Ed Miliband (Lab) to PM at next Queen’s Speech.

    I would prefer it if the winnings went to a charity of the winner’s choice; would you agree?

    Many thanks….DT

  8. Sorry – I say No, it’ll be someone other than Ed Miliband PM at next Queen’s Speech.

  9. What about the TAX

  10. Deepthroat might win the bet : the Tories could end up as the largest party, Cameron will be invited by the Queen to form a government, he’ll accept, he’ll be PM at the time of her speech, and then the House could vote the speech down & force his resignation. The bookmakers still make Ed Miliband favourite to be PM ON JULY 1.

  11. What Deepthroat has accepted is different to what HH offered isn’t it?

    It’s clear the Tories are trying to clear the way to governing on the basis of claiming being largest party gives them greater legitimacy. Assuming their bloc falls short of 322 but not by much, then let them have their Queen’s Speech. Labour could abstain it and then block virtually any legislation they wanted to. The coalition will end up arguing over Europe and there’ll be a second election within a year.

  12. However, IF there was a second election. Which parties would have New leaders by that time?

  13. My bet is for Ed Miliband to become PM some time in 2015 (same bet I have with Robin Hood and Andy JS). As Potter says, Cameron could cling on until voted down.

  14. So bet is running till the end of 2015 unless Ed M resigns the leadership.

  15. ” Labour could abstain it and then block virtually any legislation they wanted to. The coalition will end up arguing over Europe and there’ll be a second election within a year.”

    If the SNP vote against the tory qs as they have said they would, I think Labour would be forced to join them.

    both labour and the snp want to be able to say that the other let the tory government continue.

    the snp have been the real life savers of the tories this parliament.

  16. I keep hearing about Cameron resigning after his Queens Speech is defeated but it could also be after a Motion of No Confidence is passed by the “anti-Tory bloc” (in fact those are the only circumstances when he HAS to resign).

    When would Labour have the earliest opportunity to actually bring such a Motion before the HoC? What is the timescale for Parliament returning – is there an opportunity to do this before the Queen’s Speech?

    Excuse my ignorance of Parliamentary procedure and timetables!

  17. in the past , i.e 1924 and 1892, the motion of no confidence was tabled as an amendment to the queen’s (or king’s) speech….the Asquith amendment in 1892 is quite elegantly phrased.

    That we feel it, however, to be our duty humbly to submit to Your Majesty that it is essential that Your Majesty’s Government should possess the confidence of this House and of the Country, and respectfully to represent to Your Majesty that such confidence is not reposed in the present Advisers of Your Majesty.

  18. James

    Thanks for that reply – the wording on that Motion could be used pretty much verbatim today!

  19. In response to Barnaby’s post, do you think the post election events could go the same way as they did after the 1923 election? By that I mean the Conservatives will be the largest party and Cameron will want to test the confidence of the House of Commons in a minority Conservative government before resigning?

    Personally I can’t see that happening. From when the last few results come in on Friday afternoon everyone will be able to see that Cameron won’t be able to get enough votes to pass a Tory queens speech and there will be a lot of pressure on him to resign immediately. It could cause a lot of damage to the reputation of the Tory party if he’s seen as trying to cling onto power (like it did for Ted Heath in March 74), especially when a second election could be just 6 months away.

    And then we come to the difficult senario whereby Cameron tries to resign on Friday or Saturday, but Her Majesty follows the precedent set by George V in January 1924 and encourages him to test the confidence of the House in a minority Tory administration. But I don’t think that’s likely as the precedent set in 1974 will more likely apply and the Queen will appoint Milliband as PM anyway if he can assure her he can get the votes to pass a Queens speech.

  20. That would be the sensible option. l don’t know Cameron’s personality quite well enough to gauge if he would take that option. If under his leadership the Tories have lost sufficient seats to make it impossible to form a viable government, then one would have to presume that there would be irresistible pressure from his party for him to resign as PM. Probably as Tory leader too.

  21. “If under his leadership the Tories have lost sufficient seats to make it impossible to form a viable government, then one would have to presume that there would be irresistible pressure from his party for him to resign as PM. Probably as Tory leader too.”

    Forget his party, he’ll be under even more pressure to resign from his wife.

    Notice also how close Cameron has been to Major since 2010. He will follow his example of dignity in defeat (natural for an Old Etonian) and won’t hang around brooding like Brown. Like Major, Cameron will be a happy ex-PM.

  22. I think that’s the more likely option. Then there will be a lot of pressure on Graham Brady to set the timetable for the Tory leadership election. Will they want to have a quick election with a new leader in place before the summer recesses pending a second general election in the autumn, or will they want a longer campaign with result being announced at the party conference? I’d prefer to see the latter option as I think with SNP votes a minority Labour government will at least last until the beginning of next year. It’s still more than likely that it will last the full 5 years as I think the number of circumstances under which the SNP would be prepared to vote Milliband out of office are very limited.

  23. I definitely agree that Cameron will be a happy ex Prime Minister. I’m sure he will settle down to life as a country squire very easily. He won’t brood like Brown, and he won’t deliberately make life difficult for his successor as Thatcher did. He’s still relatively young so perhaps he could find a new, completely different job (I have no idea as to what as, or whether he has the inclination. He’s a personally very wealthy man, as is his wife).

  24. I think you’re spot on HH. Expect Cameron to carry on as leader of the opposition until his successor takes over as now that Hagues gone there’s no natural acting leader left in the Commons. He’ll follow Majors example and keep a low profile in retirement, only commenting on national politics when he thinks it’s absolutely necessary to do so. He’ll be no back seat driver like Thatcher was. I wouldn’t be surprised if he resigns as an MP sooner rather than latter and goes off to start a new career in the city.

  25. I think DC knows that he’s nearing the end. I don’t think he believes he will be PM in a year’s time, let alone 2017.

    DC has achieved his goal of being PM and he could say that he peformed decently under the circumstances. It was a reasonable innings under difficult conditions, and labour didn’t secure the majority that seemed possible earlier in the parliament.

    According to his own terms, he will have been a success. I don’t quite know why he went into politics, as I have never been convinced that he was that interested in it. Osborne, though less personable, seems much more engaged in the actual minutiae of politics, as do Miliband and Balls.

  26. Agree with all of that James.

    The irony is that behind the scenes it is actually Osborne who is apparently the warmer, more friendly character. Cameron cuts a colder, more aloof figure (whilst not being outright rude). Of course, Osborne’s apparent friendliness could evaporate overnight if he ever actually becomes leader. The leader has to be somewhat distant by default.

  27. I think history will remember Cameron in the same way as Ted Heath, a moderately successful single term Tory PM who made some modest achievements under difficult circumstances.

    The biggest challenge now for the Tories is to elect the right leader who can lead them to a majority in 2020. The last thing they should do is start fighting themselves as they did after 1997, because after all, if they’ve stopped Labour from winning an overall majority you can’t really argue that Caneron Conservatism has been a total failure.

  28. From what I’ve read, senior civil servants will pressurise Cameron to stay on in No 10 as a caretaker until it’s clear that the alternative PM (ie Miliband) has assembled a majority. Apparently they don’t want the Queen seeming to be dragged into the whole imbroglio.

  29. My reading of the current opinion polls is that Cameron will be staying in Downing Street for quite a while.

  30. Plse define, if you will, “…quite a while.”


  31. I dont see how a 2nd election is avoidable unless there is a decisive movement to the tories or labour do much better in Scotland than expected.

  32. Agreed, but could be next year depending on how close the numbers are.

  33. Adam- I don’t think Heath is regarded as even moderately successful- and with good reason.

    I think Cameron will continue as an MP for a while- he has indicated that he would like to do so. I can see him making the occasional intervention as a backbench elder statesman.

  34. “Adam- I don’t think Heath is regarded as even moderately successful- and with good reason.”

    Heath was extremely successful at one thing (persuading the EEC to allow us to join), and extremely unsuccessful at almost everything else. Mostly because he was just very unlucky, happening to be PM when the oil crisis erupted, Northern Ireland tipped into the abyss, and in general the post war political consensus had frayed to breaking point. Ian Gilmour described 1972-74 as “the greatest amount of sustained stress any British government has been placed under since the war”.

  35. I can’t help but agree HH. If it wasn’t for our entry into the EEC Heath would surely be ranked amongst the worst post war PM’s.

  36. Heath’s reputation has diminished significantly over time. In the late 70s and early 80s he often topped the polls as the person the public would most like to be Prime Minister. It is because his two key beliefs – the EU and one nation Toryism – have become so much less popular, especially on his own side. Plus his personality was awful, both before and after leaving office.

  37. Sulking for what seemed like an absolute eternity didn’t help Heath either. Even people who had no time for Thatcher’s policies lost respect for him after that I think.

  38. A second election will only take place when and if Labour and the Tories agree they want one…unless neither can get a Queen’s Speech through.

  39. Well, I spent an invigorating day traipsing the streets of Croydon after a nice pep talk from Messrs Watson and Coogan.

  40. Personally I quite like Heath’s personality (in retrospect, I wasn’t around at the time). I respect the fact that he was honest about being a fan of things like classical music, sailing, high class French food, etc. And the fact that he wasn’t browbeaten into getting married by Tory public relations men.

  41. Over 200 people out today for Sarah Jones pictures suggest somewhere in the region of 50-150 Tories. Labour seemingly winning the ground game but will be very tight.

  42. “Personally I quite like Heath’s personality (in retrospect, I wasn’t around at the time).”

    Andy – have you met anyone who has met Heath in person? I’m guessing not. Everyone I’ve ever met who met Ted Heath thought he was one of the rudest people they ever met. That goes for wets and Thatcherites alike. Heath’s personality lost him a huge amount of support and was definitely responsible for his defeat by Thatcher.

  43. I met Heath once at Uni…he was awful.

  44. Indeed. He was just as obnoxious in his last years as he always had been. Most of his constituency party in Sidcup detested him. I got chatting with his association deputy chairman in 2000, just before he stood down as an MP, and was very taken aback by the language he used.

  45. I always think of Denis Healey’s take on Heath in his autobiography (they were at Balliol together just before WW2).

    He went into the army as Teddy and came out as Ted.

  46. HH I will accept a bet on a Miliband premiership but along the lines that BARNABY MARDER has mentioned:

    Who will be PM on 1 July 2015?

    I say David Cameron.

  47. well there’s a surprise!

  48. Deepthroat’s betting-related weaselling is not the action of a someone who is really confident of the Tories doing well.

  49. What do you mean?

    I don’t see why I should accept the other bettors conditions without asking for a compromise.

    I don’t like long term bets and HH is asking for one that goes into 2016.

    We’re all talking about THIS election so wagering on who will be PM on 1 July is reasonable, is it not?

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