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. I’m not confident Cameron won’t still be PM on 1st July – he might cling on for a few months daring others to vote him down – so I won’t bet on that. I am confident Miliband will most likely become PM some time this year even if it is some months after the election. I suspect you agree with me which is why you won’t go for the bet I suggested.

  2. The latest Ashcroft poll of Croydon Central was a surprise, I really didn’t expect Barwell to come back as strongly as they seem to have done.

    My mum, who has a Vote Green poster up (I wonder if that’s the one mentioned in article posted a few posts up) has had two visits from Labour canvassers in the past few days, after being visited once a couple months back, they have been playing up the whole two horse race thing and Sarah’s green credentials. Each time she has informed them she will still be voting Green. I wonder if Labour are getting a bit panicky since the Ashcroft poll as they hadn’t knocked since the initial canvass a couple months back.

    I’m not changing my initial prediction, I still think Labour will win Croydon Central, but it may be a long long night (and morning) for both camps this week.

  3. All things considered this should be one of Labour’s easier gains:

    It’s in London and is moving in Labour’s diection demographically

    So Barwell deaserves a lot of credit if he does hang on – I still suspect this will be an ever so narrow Labour gain

  4. I still don’t think it’ll even be that narrow…>1000 Lab majority is my expectation.

  5. Iinteresting to see some posters here ignoring the latest ASHCROFT poll which gave Conservatives a 4% lead – at the same time they point out the Ashcroft polls elsewhere as evidence of Labour gains.

    I take no pleasure in saying: CON HOLD.

  6. So on that basis you’re expecting Labour to gain Peterborough I presume?

  7. yes he believes the polls if the Tories are ahead but not if Labour are! l still go with Lab gain too. The bookies & their market have clearly been influenced by the Ashcroft poll, but l see no sign of either panic or despair within the Labour Party about this seat.

  8. What about the “Pelling Effect”? Much as I would like to see Labour gain this seat didn’t Pelling standing in 2010 skew this result against the Tories and made their majority smaller than it arguably should have been and thus is perhaps a safer seat than the 2010 result would suggest.

    At the very least it may turn what on face value would be an easy Labour gain into a much tighter contest?

  9. Barnaby

    There seemed to be a good vibe when I was with them yesterday, but I don’t think that anyone in any party would deny that this seat is close. They are also extremely well organised.

  10. My advice from this seat is to replace Pelling with UKIP and that will give a more realistic picture of the present situation.

  11. Pelling’s vote clearly wasn’t exclusively from former Tories. In the local elections held on the same day in May 2010, the Tories polled 43% compared with Barwell’s 39%. Inferring only 4% of Pelling’s 7% came from Tories.

    Barwell’s underwhelming result here at least partly resulted from the demographic change which has continued to make this seat even harder for the Tories these past 5 years.

  12. Yes, I’m sticking with a Labour gain here for the reasons H Hemmelig sets out.

  13. Con hold.

  14. @croydoneagle

    For the past few weeks the main focus in key marginals has been on personally contacting dont know/doubtful etc. These are the key voters. So the fact that your mother has been visited twice in recent weeks is not a sign of nerves but good organisation. She had been identified as a potential “squeeze” voter who might be persuaded.

    Dont be surprised if there is a further visit or phone call, perhaps from the candidate herself, as maximum effort is put into getting every last possible vote. This level of organisation is only possible with lots of volunteers, something labour in London has in abundence

  15. Seats like this and Ilford North will determine whether Cameron remains in Downing Street after Friday. Also Harrow East, Finchley.

  16. Going on some of the comments on UKPR recently I think Labour will do a lot better in the Greater London area than other parts of England and Wales.

    Who would have guessed at the beginning of the campaign that we’d be seriously talking about them gaining Enfield Southgate, Ilford North and Finchley.

    I think this seat is there only realistic hope of a gain in South London though except for perhaps Bermondsey which has its own special set of circumstances.

  17. I was out in Croydon again last night and very good vibes. Walked past the Boris Johnson rally and they had half as many people that Labour managed to get out for Steve Coogan.

  18. The 5.5% con-lab swing in the latest MORI poll in the Standard suggests this should be any easy labour gain. The only issue is the evidence of a declining UKIP vote. In the council election last year in Croydon labour clearly benefited from UKIP taking votes from the tories, if these voters are drifting back to the tories that could make things tighter than they might seem

  19. As a local resident towards the north of the constiuency, Woodside Ward, the local Labour Councillors have upset many local residents by pushing through permission for a new school and the proposed introduction of controversial one way streets. The Labour voters in this ward were circa 2K at last election and sentiment is about 1/3 will now change their voting intention to Con as Barwell has engaged with them and represented their views in the above planning process even though he was for the school. The local ward councillors tried to stop him from speaking on their behalf at the planning c’ttee which increased his status as a hard working MP for local issues. These votes plus the UKIP transfer may be enough for this as to be a CON hold. Lesson to Labour, don’t ignore the local issues and keep trotting out the party line. Celebrity endorsements here won’t swing it.

  20. I’m expecting this one to be v close, LAB to maybe edge by 400.

  21. Conservative Hold. 2,000 maj

    Before people think I have taken leave of my senses, remember that there was a large vote for the deselected Pelling in 2010 which must surely have been Tory voters by and large.

    For some time over the last 5 years I actually thought Barwell could increase his majority here against a national trend.

    I still think that this will buck the large London swing to Labour and still just about stay Tory.

  22. Well, the train service has had another meltdown today!

    There could be a lot of annoyed commuter voters this evening!

  23. I think this seat will depend on how well UKIP perform in New Addington. If the Lippers there return to Barwell at the polling booth, it’s game over for Labour here.

  24. I think this seat will depend on how well UKIP perform in New Addington. If the Kippers there return to Barwell at the polling booth, it’s game over for Labour here.

  25. Yes the Kippers do tend to be lippy don’t they?

    Conservative hold here.

  26. Lab gain, majority 1200. The London poll was the clincher for me.

  27. “I think this seat will depend on how well UKIP perform in New Addington. If the Kippers there return to Barwell at the polling booth, it’s game over for Labour here.”

    New Addington is traditionally a very Labour ward. The kippers there won’t necessarily go to Barwell if they waver from UKIP. I find anything other than a Labour gain here quite hard to see.

  28. And we should also remember that New Addington is becoming more ethnically diverse.

  29. Quite rapidly so, yes.

    Shaun’s statement that Pelling’s vote can simply be added to the Tory total in 2010 is also categorically false, as he would have seen by reading a few posts above his own.

    Sitting in Stoke on Trent it is perhaps easy to miss the extent of the swing we are going to see in London but on the ground you can feel it.

  30. Gavin Barwell holds the seat for the Tories by 165 votes.

  31. A large proportion of the 9.1% for UKIP must have from the New Addington estate which people have traditionally voted Labour. May have cost Labour the seat.

  32. Andy JS

    That is almost certainly right.

  33. I wonder if Jones will stand again in 2020 considering she was so close this time?

  34. It’s possible and her campaign website indicates that she’s a lifelong resident in the area. This has now gone way up Labour’s (future) target list and even if they don’t win a majority in 2020 could take this because of the demographic change that will doubtless be even more apparent 5 years from now in the seat.

  35. ……….except the seat will effectively disappear won’t it? or become Croydon E if l’m not mistaken

  36. As long as Selsdon and Ballards is not included in the redrawn boundaries it will be a seat trending Labour.

  37. “As long as Selsdon and Ballards is not included in the redrawn boundaries it will be a seat trending Labour.”

    I agree.

  38. I heard Jones was in floods of tears in the Declaration Room on GE night! It must be absolutely gutting to lose by just 165 votes!

  39. David Winnick (who had been MP for the predecessor seat of Croydon S – a totally different seat from its present-day namesake – from 1966 to 1970) lost by the extremely similar margin of 164 here in October 1974.

  40. Very early prediction for 2020-
    Labour- 47%
    Barwell (Conservative)- 42%
    UKIP- 7%
    Green- 3%
    Liberal Democrat- 1%

  41. The Results – Good prediction. It seems that Jones is still campaigning for Labour locally judging by her Twitter feed so there’s a good chance she’ll be the party’s candidate for this seat or it’s successor after the boundary changes. However, as mentioned above, if the leafy parts of the Croydon South seat are added to this sea after the next boundary review, Labour could be in trouble in 2020.

  42. The Results – Good prediction. It seems that Sarah Jones is still campaigning for Labour locally judging by her Twitter feed so there’s a good chance she’ll be the party’s candidate for this seat or it’s successor after the boundary changes. However, as mentioned above, if the leafy parts of the Croydon South seat are added to this sea after the next boundary review, Labour could be in trouble in 2020.

  43. Thanks Christian.

  44. Waddon ward has been in the constituency before – if that ward were to be added, it would have a largely neutral effect.

  45. 2020

    Germain, L (Lab) 19,331
    *Barwell (C) 19,275
    Mountshaft (UKIP) 11,251
    Ike (Green) 1,865
    McGuinness (LD) 771

    Lab Maj 56

  46. This is a seat Labour could gain in 2020 even with Corbyn as leader due to rapid demographic changes.

  47. There’s definitely a good chance of that happening- Granted Gavin Barwell has been a very good constituency MP, largely accounting for his commendable hold this time around which I for one had for a long time actually been predicting on here consistently despite not knowing the area at all- I knew it would be extremely close in this seat because of the Andrew Pelling effect in 2010, with him standing again as an Independent- I suspected his votes would maybe go to Barwell, which is why I always thought Labour would just fall short of winning here.

  48. Indeed this result was one of very few I actually got right I think.

  49. Before the election I thought (a) it would be close and (b) the Tories would hold the seat, but actually I thought their majority would be between 500 and 1,000 votes. The fact it was a closer than that shows that the demographics really are changing as fast as we thought they might be. Even if the Tories become slightly more popular with EM voters they’re still going to struggle to hold this next time.

  50. Absolutely. I think this sort of ultra-marginal result had been on the cards for five years given the continuing social changes underway. Even if Labour do fare badly nationally in 2020 under Corbyn, I like you Andy can still envisage them gaining this by at least 2000 votes from Gareth Barwell- in fact across London they might continue to do well given his seat is Islington North and his leftwing stance will go down well in their own backyards in Greater London but even if they don’t make many gains they’ll still move forward in seats demographically favouring them- this is a prime example in the Capital. There are of course many others, not all in London by any means.

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