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
2010
Con: 19567 (39%)
Lab: 16688 (34%)
LDem: 6553 (13%)
BNP: 1448 (3%)
Oth: 5411 (11%)
MAJ: 2879 (6%)
2005*
Con: 19974 (41%)
Lab: 19899 (41%)
LDem: 6384 (13%)
UKIP: 1066 (2%)
Oth: 1634 (3%)
MAJ: 75 (0%)
2001
Con: 17659 (39%)
Lab: 21643 (47%)
LDem: 5156 (11%)
UKIP: 545 (1%)
Oth: 857 (2%)
MAJ: 3984 (9%)
1997
Con: 21535 (39%)
Lab: 25432 (46%)
LDem: 6061 (11%)
Oth: 885 (2%)
MAJ: 3897 (7%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
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)
APRIL ASHLEY (TUSC)
Links
Comments - 764 Responses on “Croydon Central”
  1. Croydon Central is nothing like Islington North.

    There could easily be a swing to the Tories in this type of outer London seat if Corbyn pushes his high tax agenda too far. Note also that the predominant non-white group here is blacks, not muslims, with a sizeable number of hindus too. Corbyn’s strongly pro-muslim stance will alienate hindus and perhaps some Christian afro-caribbeans too. Strange as it may seem I think Corbyn would be more likely to hold Copeland than win here.

  2. Well Copeland probably won’t exist in 2020 and Croydon Central will probably be radically altered which will ultimately decide the next MP for this area.

  3. No. The national picture will continue to be of utmost importance in deciding the result here, whatever the boundaries. I challenge you to come up with credible revised boundaries for this area which will not result in a fairly marginal seat.

  4. The proposed Croydon East would have been narrowly Labour as early as 2010 and probably by about 1500-2000 in 2015.

  5. Exactly….still winnable by the Tories if Corbyn were to implode.

  6. Winnable by the Tories full stop if JC is elected leader.

  7. Yes I agree.

  8. Well you could create a seats around this area none of which are particularly marginal, but I guess it depends on your definition of credible:

    Croydon North: Bensham Manor, Broad Green, Norbury, Selhurst, Thornton Heath, West Thornton, Woodside (from Croydon).
    Croydon East: Addiscombe, Ashburton, Fairfield, Fieldway, Heathfield, Sanderstead, Selsdon and Ballards, Shirley (from Croydon).
    Croydon South and Beddington: Coulsdon East, Coulsdon West, Croham, Kenley, Purley, Waddon (from Croydon). Beddington North, Beddington South (from Sutton).

    Then new Addington would be paired with Bromley wards and South Norwood and Upper Norwood would be paired with parts of Lambeth in some kind of Norwood seat.

  9. Pairing New Addington and Bromley doesn’t strike me as credible though I like the idea of a Norwood seat.

    In the first lot of 2013 proposals the Boundary Commission paired Purley with Carshalton.

  10. The most sensible way to pair Lambeth and Croydon is around Streatham and Norbury. South and West Norwood aren’t very similar except for sharing a name. Fieldway is part of New Addington so the two couldn’t easily be split. Neither could easily be paired with Bromley.

  11. If the constituency size was slightly more liberalised you could indeed keep Fieldway and New Addington together and then pair them both with Bromley wards. This of course would then make the Croydon East I suggested even more Tory.

    I suggested the removal Upper Norwood and South Norwood from Croydon so it could perhaps be credible to call a Croydon-Lambeth seat something like Norwood and Brixton East. Though you could of course include South Norwood in Croydon North and exclude Norbury (but that may create a problem in calling a Croydon-Lambeth seat Norwood).

    I confess I know little to nothing about the area and am simply using Boundary Assistant, local election results and Electoral Calculus’s general election ward estimates to come up with my suggestions. Of course these boundaries may be an outrage to people who live in the Croydon area and thus would never be proposed by the Boundary Commission. Thanks to everyone who knows the Croydon area for their input.

  12. Croydon Central was geographically a somewhat different and smaller seat in 1974. If the 1974 boundaries were still in force the Tories would have done a fair bit better in 2015 than on present boundaries, giving Barwell a majority of (I’m guessing) something like 2-3000.

    The 1974 seat excluded Addiscombe, Woodside, Ashburton and the northern bit of Shirley (which was all in Croydon North East). Except for Shirley almost all these wards are quite strongly Labour now. As a slight counterbalance I think Waddon was part of the 1974 Croydon Central but is now in Croydon South, this being a marginal Labour ward at present.

  13. The 1974-83 seat also included Broad Green ward. Waddon was included until 1997.

  14. Yes I’d forgotten that. Arguably then the Tories would have done about the same on the 74 boundaries, but a fair bit better on the 83 ones.

  15. Another point is that this area has a lot of mixed-race people, the population of which is increasing very rapidly, and every survey shows them to be a lot less likely to support Labour the other EM groups, although it’s usually parties like the Greens who benefit.

  16. By 2025, this seat will have probably become ultra-safe for Labour I think.

  17. I disagree…..Independent Conservative Andrew Pelling polled 3,239 meaning that the Conservative majority would have been over 6000 in 2010.

    The Conservative majority of just 165 in 2015 (albeit with minor boundary changes) are indicative of the demographic changes that are similar to Ilford North and Ealing Central & Acton.

  18. Yes and but for the combination of Pelling’s votes largely returning to Barwell and the national vote share increase for the Tories, I feel Labour might have just about scraped through here. If they don’t now take this in 2020, it would be unbelievable given the way this seat is changing socially and moving away from the Tories arguably.

  19. I remember speaking to a friend who had campaigned in Manchester Moss Side in 1970.

    Traditionally Moss Side had been heavily outvoted by the formerly solid Conservative Chorlton.

    By 1966 the Conservative majority had fallen to just 1,083 under the Labour landslide.

    The Conservatives had expected to lose Moss Side in 1970
    and it was the national tide in favour of Edward Heath that allowed the Conservatives to win Moss Side for the last time.

    Labour gained Moss Side in February 1974.

    Essentially many of the affluent voters of Chorlton were moving out into Cheshire.

    I would imagine that Croydon Central will be moving the same way.

  20. “If they don’t now take this in 2020, it would be unbelievable given the way this seat is changing socially and moving away from the Tories arguably.”

    If Corbyn remains leader in 2020, or a similarly unelectable protégé, I doubt Labour will win here.

  21. Gavin Barwell has just finished writing a book on the 2015 result. Already planning for retirement?

  22. Sounds a fascinating read. I would order myself a copy, but I’m busy for the next 22 years.

  23. If Corbyn remains leader in 2020, or a similarly unelectable protégé, I doubt Labour will win here.

    H.Hemmelig – This is a seat Labour SHOULD have won EASILY due to demographic changes and an excellent local candidate who worked her socks off campaigning in this seat in as soon as she was selected. There’s no ”doubt” about it, if Labour couldn’t win it with Miliband at the helm there’s no way the party will win this with Corbyn as leader.

  24. Corbyn may be “unelectable” but we have to wait and see who the next Conservative leader will be for 2020. For example, George Osbourne is hardly the most liked politician amongst ordinary people, in fact I know a Conservative leaning voter that thinks he is a see you next tuesday and will vote UKIP if he ever became leader. Lets look at teh track records of chanacellors who become leader. If Boris is next leader seats like this will be an easy hold, if someone equally unelectable as Corbyn gets the leader ship then who knows what might happen?

  25. ”George Osbourne is hardly the most liked politician amongst ordinary people, in fact I know a Conservative leaning voter that thinks he is a see you next tuesday”

    Surrey Politics – I also know a Tory voter who worked with him for a year who also described him using that same unflattering term. Could it be the same person? Haha!

  26. Osborne is the Conservative equivalent of Brown.

  27. Looking at the 2015 results and comparing them with 1992 shows the decline of the Conservatives in London:

    1992
    Con 48MPs
    Lab 35MPs

    2015
    Lab 46 MPs
    Con 27MPs

    The following constituencies switched from Con to Lab:

    Enfield N
    Edmonton
    Harrow W
    Brent N
    Ealing N
    Ealing Acton
    Brentford
    Hayes
    Westminster N
    Ilford N
    Eltham
    Mitcham

    I am aware that there have been boundary changes in some of them but they tend to even out.

    What is noticeable is the collapse of the Conservatives in Middlesex metroland.

    Just as the Conservatives collapsed in middle suburban South London from the mid 1960s onwards – Streatham, Norwood, Dulwich, the Lewishams etc they seem to have done now in similar areas in North London.

  28. Even more striking than the Conservatives decline in London is their near disintegration in other big cities ** where they now have only two seats – Bristol NW and Cardiff N.

    Compared to 10 in 1992 and no less than 21 in 1979.

    **
    Birmingham
    Bristol
    Cardiff
    Edinburgh
    Glasgow
    Leeds
    Liverpool
    Manchester
    Newcastle
    Sheffield
    **

  29. It’s mostly due to the white lower-middle classes moving out of London and being replaced by EMs. I don’t think there’s been much of a swing within particular groups between 1992 and 2010.

  30. It depends on your definition of a city seat – both Pudsey and Elmet & Rothwell fall under Leeds MDC, similarly Sutton Coldfield falls under Birmingham

  31. Pudsey and Elmet & Rothwell are collections of small towns and the adjacent rural areas to the west and east respectively of Leeds.

    Morley & Outwood is similar to the south.

    They are not part of the city of Leeds.

    And people from Sutton Coldfield take a great aversion to being told they’re part of Birmingham.

  32. North London suburbia is decline particularly around Enfield North, though not all of Suburbia is declining, Kingston and Sutton is still very well heeled. The areas have changed but still have that safe quiet suburban feel in contrast to other outer suburbs.

  33. ” It’s mostly due to the white lower-middle classes moving out of London and being replaced by EMs. I don’t think there’s been much of a swing within particular groups between 1992 and 2010. ”

    Demographic change certainly plays the major part in the C1C2 areas but there has also been a leftward political shift among middle class public sector workers.

    That has been a large factor in the disintegration of the Conservatives in Birmingham Edgbaston, Leeds NW, Sheffield Hallam etc.

    Without the City the Conservatives would be doing even worse in London.

  34. ” North London suburbia is decline particularly around Enfield North, though not all of Suburbia is declining, Kingston and Sutton is still very well heeled. The areas have changed but still have that safe quiet suburban feel in contrast to other outer suburbs. ”

    I was in Richmond recently and its certainly a very fine area. On the other hand I’m amazed that people pay so much to live in squalor in the undesirable districts.

    London is increasingly becoing a place of extremes of wealth and employment and housing.

    Which makes it unliveable for those in the middle and it was those people in the middle upon which the Conservative vote depended in metroland.

  35. Richard- it’s not just C1s and C2s Tory private sector AB1s have left the cities in droves since the 1950s. To use Manchester as an example, the kinds of managerial and business people who will have lived in Chorlton and Didsbury 50 years ago now live in Knutsford.

  36. In particular those in the private sector.

    Whereas the public sector ABC1s remain in the urban areas as that is where their jobs are.

  37. Richard. This trend has been going on for years. The flight of the middle class and WWC from the cities has coincided with improved Conservative performances in the surrounding areas. Hertfordshire, Kent, Northamptonshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Staffordshire have all swung massively from Labour to Conservatives since 1997.
    The boundary changes outside London will confirm a shift of seats to the shire counties from the urban areas.
    I don’t know the area, but would expect that the Conservative gain in Morley and Outwood partly reflects this effect.

  38. If were not for Jeremy Corbyn, I would expect Labour to win here in 2020 (if the boundaries remain similar), even if the Conservatives retain their majority.

    Now I am not so sure.

  39. There’s a big hindu vote here and quite a significant gentrification is going on around East Croydon station. I’d probably back the Tories to hold the seat in 2020 if Corbyn remains Labour leader.

  40. Boundary changes will probably be decisive however

  41. There was a report on the 6.30pm edition BBC London News (2nd February) about attempts to deter youngsters from gang crime through mentoring. It mentioned that gang crime has now moved into some outer boroughs in London and it specifically mentioned Enfield and Croydon.

    I’m not familiar with Enfield but over the past ten years I’ve noticed many undesirables roaming the streets of Croydon town centre particularly at night!

  42. Unfortunately it is an indisputable fact that gang crime is largely confined to the black community and mainly to black youths living on estates. This demographic has spread to Croydon and Enfield so it is perhaps unsurprising that gang crime also has.

  43. I think I largely agree with Richard’s definition of a metropolitan city.
    The Tory seats which fall under Leeds and Bradford (+ Sutton Coldfield) are officially so
    but still rather artificially I think.

    Outside London,
    The Tories only have Cardiff North, Bristol North West
    but it is logical to add all 3 seats covering Plymouth, and Southampton Itchen.

    I don’t think I would quite count Derby N.

  44. Your 1979 figures looked low but I think are right…
    Surely
    Newcastle 1
    Bristol 3 (incl.I think part of Kingswood)
    Plymouth 1
    Southampton Test 1
    Man Withington 1
    Birmingham 5 ? +
    Glasgow 2
    Cardiff 1
    Leeds 2
    Sheffield 1
    Liverpool 2
    Edinburgh 2+?

  45. London is clearly a megacity (although quite a small one by world standards) of a different order to any other City in Britiain.

    I would personally regard other metropolitan cities in England as those which formed Metropolitan Counties in 1974: Newcastle, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds/Bradford, Birmingham and Bristol. Most of these metrpolitan areas also included satellite cities e.g. Sunderland, Oldham, Wolverhampton. In political terms, these all had five plus constituencies, at least in those days.

    In Scotland, Glasgow and Edinburgh are clearly of comparable size and definitely larger than anywhere else in Scotland.

    Cardiff, Aberdeen,Stoke,Plymouth, Derby, Southampton etc. are equally clearly small cities the next size down.

    One could define these types of city by population: the large cities are about a million people, depending on how many suburbs one includes, and the small cities are about 200,000 – 400,000. But if one draws up the list on the basis of common sense I don’t think there will be much disagreement.

  46. “Unfortunately it is an indisputable fact that gang crime is largely confined to the black community and mainly to black youths living on estates.”

    In London perhaps. Outside London that is totally and utterly wrong. There are plenty of gang-ridden areas in cities like Glasgow and Liverpool where the gangsters are predominantly white.

  47. @HH

    Fair enough

  48. ‘In London perhaps. Outside London that is totally and utterly wrong. There are plenty of gang-ridden areas in cities like Glasgow and Liverpool where the gangsters are predominantly white.’

    I don’t think that holds true in London even, not with regards to home-grown gangs

    There are still plenty of white gangs – like those the killers of Stephen Lawrence belonged to – and there’s an increasing amount of Asian gangs in various parts of the city too

    And then there’s those gangs from abroad – Russians, Albanians, Kosovans – who the less said about the better. Those boys take the whole straight gangsterism to another level entirely and make their black counterparts look like pussycats

  49. With the sad death of Ronnie Corbett (RIP), Gavin Barwell loses a staunch Tory voter, reducing his majority to 164.

    Corbett lived in Shirley and was a generous donor to both Croydon Central and Beckenham Conservative Associations.

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