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. I think you have to take the votes that the formet Tory incumbent Andrew Pelling took in 2010 into account in this seat. Without him standing, the Conservative majority would surely have been significantly higher than 5.8%.

    Given that Pelling took 6.5% of the vote, I’d estimate that Gavin Barwell might, in his absence, have got around a 10% majority.

  2. Adding up the 2010 BNP, UKIP, Pelling vote and combining them with Barwells vote gives him a projected majority of 8500+.

    Needless to say some of that BNP vote would have come from Labour supporters as would some of the UKIP vote while most of Pellings vote would have come from Tories loyal to the ex-MP.

    On that basis I would agree with nearly everyone here that Barwell should hold here in 2015, with a reduced majority I’d imagine. I think it was Kokopops who said that Barwell is well known locally and is always in the local press which can only be a good thing.

  3. The BNP vote in this seat will be largely from otherwise Labour voting electors in the Fieldway and New Addington areas.

  4. I had a feeling it was from that part of the seat Andy.

  5. Sarah Jones has been selected as Labour candidate

  6. White male Labour candidate selections are becoming a rarity.

  7. So far Labour have selected 88 candidates – 49 women and 39 men. So far 7 candidates are BAME – 5 women and 2 men. So therefore, 37 white men have been selected out of 88.

  8. Sorry, theres 8 BAME Labour candidates –

    6 women:

    Sarah Owen
    Purna Sen
    Binnie Joshi Barr
    Josie Channer
    Thangam Debbonaire
    Tulip Siddiq

    2 men

    Clive Lewis
    Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi

  9. Most recent Labour selections:

    Rosie Cooper
    Vicky Fowler
    Jo Stevens
    Josie Channor
    Claire Edwards
    Natasha Millward
    Rowenna Davis
    Tulip Siddiq
    Leonie Mathers
    Chris Oxlade
    Veronica Bennett
    Purna Sen
    Will Martindale
    Cat Smith
    Catherine Atkinson
    Andrew Gwynne
    Lindsay Hoyle
    Sarah Jones
    Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi

  10. The chairman of the Croydon Labour Party makes a perceptive observation:

    “I think the demographics in Croydon are moving our way”:

    http://www.croydonadvertiser.co.uk/Labour-picks-fiery-candidate-fight-Croydon/story-19549017-detail/story.html

  11. First round:

    Sarah Jones 66
    Alison Butler 63
    Catriona Ogilvy 8
    Louisa Woodley 6

    Second round
    Jones 68
    Butler 67
    Ogilvy 8

    Final round
    Jones 72
    Butler 67

  12. “The chairman of the Croydon Labour Party makes a perceptive observation”

    It seems to have taken him a while but of course Croydon is moving in Labours favour. Glad he’s on the ball.

    Moving onto the candidate…she is local which is a good thing and seems well connected within the local group. I think this will be a good contest in 2015.

  13. Too much emphasis is being placed on the electoral effects of demographic change.

    Yes, it certainly does make a difference – but a huge difference over just a five year period? No.

    Come on, let’s get real: there is a difference between the demographic composition of the general population and the electorate (for the obvious reason that BME people are less likely to register to vote, mainly because they are concentrated in the younger age groups).

    There is also a difference between the demographic composition of the electorate and those who actually turn out to vote (and that, too, is largely age-related).

    On top of this not every white voter who disappears from the register is a Tory, and not every new BME voter supports Labour.

    That said, the demographics of this and most other seats in the former GLC area are gradually moving against the Conservatives… But enough to make a huge difference between 2010 and 2015? Doubtful to say the least.

    I refer people once again to H Hemmelig’s earlier post that showed that Labour only narrowly squeeked it in Croydon Central on the mid-term 2012 list vote. Factoring in the pro-government ‘swing back’ likely before 2015 (something which everyone on this site seems to ignore) this has to be Barwell’s to lose – though I wish Sarah Jones the best of luck.

  14. I think Barwell will hold this seat although it could be quite close.

    Whilst I broadly concur with what Robin Hood says above, there actually are a couple of exceptional cases where demographics have changed extremely fast over a 5 year period – both Enfield North and Ilford North fall into that category. But not Croydon, which has been a much more gradual pace of change, albeit relentless over the past 30 years or so.

  15. I would think that demographic change in London is the most important reason why Labour are clearly ahead in that city. The mass amount of people imported by Labour during their time in office has clearly had an impact on voting habits, particularly in Outer London. I do not think it’s worth playing that fact down. If I were in the Labour party I’d be clambering to get all these new voters registered (as long as that doesn’t mean numerous unidentified people registered to houses such as what happened in Tower Hamlets) since the party depends heavily on the immigrant vote.

    As for the five year thing RH….It took less than 5 years for Barking and Dagenham to be given a ‘Labour makeover’.

    Croydon Central is more unique than other Outer London seats which is why the Tories still do well here (I mentioned the offices, shopping, property prices upstream). Without the offices,the nightlife and the fast trains this seat would probably be almost identical to its northern neighbour and would certainly be a safe(ish) Labour seat.

  16. There would be expected to be a swing back to the Government by 2015. Almost all of us here accept that (except perhaps Bob if he is still roaming this site). The question would clearly be how large it is likely to be. The GLA vote is important to note but it isn’t definitive. In the end, the majority of seats will accord broadly to the national average swing in whatever direction (or even lack of it), though clearly there will be notable exceptions. I don’t see Croydon Central experiencing a particularly off-piste result one way or the other, other than the possibility that Labour may need a very slightly higher swing to take into account Pelling’s candidacy in 2010. Thus, if the 2 major parties are even on election day, this is a very likely Labour gain; if the Tories retain any statistically significant lead over Labour, they should hold on. In other words it’s still too early to get much of a handle on the likely result here.

  17. It’s a shame to read LBernard’s partisan remarks. I referred at length to the ‘BME vote’, which I agree mostly goes to Labour. He, on the other hand, chooses to characterise this as the ‘immigrant vote’.

    Would it surprise you to know that many BME people are not immigrants, LBernard? Also, would it surprise you to know that many white people ARE immigrants?

    It is precisely your tone that makes it more difficult for the party you support to win over BME voters. Thankfully for the Tories, the Cameron/Barwell wing of the party is determined to rectify that problem. There ARE well-off fiscally-Conservative business-owning minority ethnic voters (e.g. Indian people living in up-market areas of Croydon Central like Sandilands) who either already vote Tory or who would like to do so – despite your best efforts to put them off.

    Further more, in relation to the effect of the BME vote I have certainly not “played that factor down”, but I repeat that even the more neurotic person must surely try to put into perspective how much difference five years’ worth of demographic change can realistically make.

    Presumably LBernard will be putting a bet on a Labour victory in Croydon Central, then?

    @Barnaby – I disagree that if the two parties are even on election day that this will be a Labour gain. If that is so then why was Labour’s lead in Croydon Central on the 2012 list vote so much smaller than our lead in the PNS in that year’s local elections? That fact, combined with a small Barwell personal vote (enjoyed by most incumbents) means Labour will need to be ahead nationally and that’s never happened when an incumbent Tory government has tried for a second term.

    However, we can always hope and we’ve got a jolly good candidate to give us our best shot.

  18. My remarks may be partisan but they are true – although I’d admit that I need to sut down on such remarks on this site.

    I completely undrstand your overall point RH but to say that 5 years of demographic change makes little difference is wrong as there are a number of places which have been transformed within that time period, Croydon is not one of them however.

    When I say the immigrant vote, I refer to the people who have been here for a decade or so, White, Black, Asian and other. I am certainly not talking about long established Black or Asian communities whom I see as British and no different from White Brits. I would imagine quite a high percentage of those long established groups would count themselves as English/British as well.

    I think I mentioned it another comment but I would imagine Barwell will just hold on here in 2015 but with a seemingly good local candidate she is going to run him very close indeed.

  19. My own view of high levels of immigration is that it is inevitable, given the globalised world we live in and the extremely service based economy we have. Politicians who claim that they are able to substantially reduce immigration are either lying or deluded, and that includes UKIP as much as all the others.

    Unlike Robin Hood I’m not especially bothered about the enhanced cultural and diversity aspects of immigration, but he is right to say that the Tories need to make their peace with the inevitability of high immigration levels otherwise in the long term it will be very detrimental for them.

  20. Matt – there’s at least 3 more female BAME Labour candidates:

    Jessica Asato
    Sarah Owen
    Rebecca Blake

    Andy JS – of course some of those are sitting MPs

  21. LBernard – “I am certainly not talking about long established Black or Asian communities whom I see as British and no different from White Brits.”

    I appreciate that. Mo Farrar was in fact asked if he would have preferred to have competed on behalf of his native Somalia instead of Britain. His answer was an emphatic ‘no’.

    HHemmelig – “…but he is right to say that the Tories need to make their peace with the inevitability of high immigration levels otherwise in the long term it will be very detrimental for them.”

    As I’ve said before, I do not wish to live in a country where people vote on racial lines for that is unhealthy and more typical of the American South. Thankfully, we are a long way from that. There is no reason why David Cameron should not make a pitch for that section of the immigrant-descended population which is prosperous or aspirational and I think he has every chance of building on the 16% of their votes which he won in 2010. I do not want to live in a country where a section of the electorate feels it is imprisoned by one of the political parties because of the perceived attitudes of some members of the rival party.

  22. “As I’ve said before, I do not wish to live in a country where people vote on racial lines”

    Sadly, I would argue that this is already happening.

  23. So why is it happening, LBernard?

    Take, for example, the Indian community: why is it that a group who are mainly prosperous, who are more likely to send their children to public school, who are overwhelmingly family-orientated, who are mostly deferential to authority, and who make up a substantial proportion of this country’s business community, not on the whole voting Conservative?

    I’ve just checked out my Facebook newsfeed: on the one hand it’s choc-a-block with Asian friends going nuts about the impending royal birth, and on the other hand white (mostly Labour friends, it has to be said) expressing their cynicism about the amount of coverage the event is being afforded.

    There is honestly nothing that makes the immigrant-descended communities genetically prone to voting Labour.

    However, we have a Tory activist who posts on this section of the site who specifically complains about ‘non-white immigration’.

    It’s really quite simple: treat people fairly (and be seen to be treating them fairly) and then you may be able to make a confident pitch for their votes.

  24. There is also the massive rise in mixed race marriages and relationships to consider.

    Walk around London and count how many couples holding hands have different coloured faces. Often it’s as much as 50%.

    This will progressively make it harder to categorise things based on race, as more and more people derive from a mixed background.

    And if the Tories contrive to upset white voters who are married to immigrants then it will get very difficult indeed for them in the long term.

  25. This is an interesting debate. I won’t get involved in the partisan aspects of it but I will say that it underlines how vastly different London now is from the provincial England in which I grew up and live.

  26. The British people should have been properly consulted before mass immigration was introduced. The fact that they weren’t is why large numbers of people are going to vote for UKIP at the next general election.

  27. Robin – going back to psephology for a moment, there isn’t any convincing reason why this constituency would buck any national trend by more than a small amount. Local (or in this case regional) elections can’t be seen as definitive or reliably indicative of national ones because of the far lower turnout in them. Labour basically would draw level with the Tories with a nationwide swing of 3.5%. If that happened here this seat would be incredibly close but the Tories might just be saved by those who voted for Pelling in 2010 switching to them. I still think that if Labour obtains a national lead of 1% or more over the Conservatives this seat would fall. That is more than possible, though I know your own feelings are more pessimistic than that. If you are proved correct, this seat would indeed be held by Gavin Barwell in 2015.

  28. “The British people should have been properly consulted before mass immigration was introduced.”

    Mass immigration is an unintended consequence of many other things – globalisation, the EU, colonial hangover, the predominance of the English language, and last but not least the seismic shift away from manufacturing towards an almost entirely service based economy. On the last point, an economy based on city banks, hotels and hairdressers is always going to employ vastly more immigrants than one based on coal mines, steelworks and textile factories.

    In the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, neither the politicians nor the public who voted for them fully understood the extent of the changes that they were bringing in….it’s very easy to see that now. The best we can do now is adapt as best we can.

  29. Just because the world isn’t going to stop doesn’t mean people don’t like to be asked whether they can get off it.

  30. I don’t actually see how an economy based on such things can exist anywhere except London. That will undoubtedly lead to different political priorities and intentions in different regions – for example, I fully expect there to be a strong call for protectionism in the next 20 years.

    Either the Right or the Left could respond positively or negatively.

  31. @merseymike(and i am not saying its right in fact i hate a lot of what,s happened)protect what industry most of its gone also it will not be the uk,s call unless will leave the eu i.e trade rules are and will be a eu matter plus as net importer re we going to say please don,t sell us anything because a lot of people hate industry e.g you build a housing estate near a farm(and this has happened near me) the farm has to close because it smells.

  32. i wish my brain and hand would work at the same speed.

  33. Oo er missus

  34. It’s all getting very Carry On this evening!

  35. There has also been a lot of Alf Garnett….

  36. You can get the surviving 1973-75 episodes of Till Death Us Do Part on DVD.

    I rewatched some episodes recently, and to my immense surprise, much of what Alf Garnett ranted about proved to be quite a good forecast for the future, as long as you ignore the boneheaded racism. In contrast, his daughter and son-in-law, whose views were seen as enlightened and progressive at the time, come across as old fashioned socialist dinosaurs in the context of today.

  37. “As I’ve said before, I do not wish to live in a country where people vote on racial lines for that is unhealthy and more typical of the American South. Thankfully, we are a long way from that. I do not want to live in a country where a section of the electorate feels it is imprisoned by one of the political parties because of the perceived attitudes of some members of the rival party”

    I went to public school, am a highly paid professional and the son of Indian immigrants. The school friends who I have kept in contact with, happen to be white, and all vote Conservative.

    I have centre right views on privatisation, national debt and reforming public services and if I was living in Germany I would vote for FDP. I do not want to vote along racial lines but I am very offended by anti-immigration rhetoric of the Tories and Ukip. Although I did consider voting Tory before the next election because of the national debt, it is highly unlikely I will now ever vote Tory. In my opinion Britain is becoming more like America, a country divided by social attitudes and tolerance rather than economics.

    “but I will say that it underlines how vastly different London now is from the provincial England in which I grew up and live.”

    The longer-established immigrant groups are moving into Outer London and beyond. I lived in Norwich for 5 years and though it is still overwhelming white it was perceptively less so when I left and this will gradually become a bigger problem for the Tories.

    It’s worth emphasing that demographic change doesn’t just mean racial diversity, the Tories playing the marriage card could offend increasing numbers of people who cohabit and their children!

  38. “I do not want to vote along racial lines but I am very offended by anti-immigration rhetoric of the Tories and Ukip.”

    I take it you wouldn’t complain then if someone said:

    “I do not want to vote along racial lines but I am very offended by pro-immigration rhetoric of the LibDems and Labour.”

  39. “I do not want to vote along racial lines but I am very offended by pro-immigration rhetoric of the LibDems and Labour.”

    What pro-immigration rhetoric? The last I heard Ed Milliband was trying to say sorry for immigration and the Lib Dems with one exception have been silent on this issue.

    Perhaps you coudl explain where you heard this “pro-immigration rhetoric of the LibDems and Labour.”? Daily Express/Mail?

  40. Maybe it’s not so much what Labour say as what they did while in government that people are concerned with.

    (I think I’m a lot less bothered about immigration myself than the average voter so I’m putting myself in their position rather than representing my own views with some of these comments).

  41. Well if people don’t like Labour’s record they can vote against it.

    But it is sad that some believe immigration was a conspiracy by Labour rather than a consequence of our economic boom and globalised world! It takes time for people to naturalise and in the case of European immigrants they often chose not go down this path. Despite being here for 14 years my wife will not give up her nationality so she doesnt have a vote.

    I dont believe Cameron and May racist for one minute but they are opportunists fanning the flames of fear. If they quietly cut immigration without it adversely affecting the economy I wouldnt have a problem.

    It will be interesting to see how the Tories play their immigration card in seats like this in London v the rest of the country in the GE.

  42. “What pro-immigration rhetoric? The last I heard Ed Milliband was trying to say sorry for immigration and the Lib Dems with one exception have been silent on this issue.”

    Yet you don’t find it necessary to inform us that it is highly unlikely you will ever vote for those parties.

    There is plenty of pro-immigration rhetoric from Labour supporters – sometimes in an openly racist manner – on the internet.

    And the reality is that the Labour government implemented pro immigration policies.

  43. “But it is sad that some believe immigration was a conspiracy by Labour rather than a consequence of our economic boom and globalised world”

    That immigration is a consequence of a globalised world is correct.

    But its incorrent to state that it was a result of ‘our economic boom’. Leaving aside the point that we didn’t have an ‘economic boom’ immigration has continued to increase during and after the recession.

    Now as a public school educated highly paid professional I’m sure you’re one of the people in this country who are able to benefit from the changes increasing globalisation brings and I don’t begrudge you this.

    What I would point out though is that the majority of people in this country are not able to benefit and for many of the working poor globalisation and in particular the immigration which it causes are leading to falling living standards and reduced opportunities.

    A bit of tolerance and understanding to those losing out through no fault of their own is necessary to maintain wider social harmony.

  44. We did have a bit of a boom in 1994 and again in 1996/7 but by around 2000 it was largely a fake one.

    The recovery from 1992 did I think see exports rise faster than the economy as a whole, but from about 2001/2 the build up of credit from the reconfigured and split Bank of 1997 was becoming a problem,
    and the main boom was in imports and arrogant and ignorant public sector professionals of the type that slapped each other on the back at Staffs rather than wandering around and speaking to the elderly patients – and generally seeing for yourself what is going on that you are responsible for – as I do.

  45. We should really rub the ex Governments noses in that one – we’re far too polite.

  46. I trust RH wasn’t being deliberately aloof re the immigrant v BME jibe. As a journalist I tire of the times we get accused of being racist on this point. The Census showed most UK ethnic minorities were born abroad. It was 55% from memory in ’91 and ’01. It may have become a minority c1996 but obviously rose again under the Blair government. It doesn’t surprise me that Asian Brits are patriotic or Royalists and your white Labour friends are cynical or Republican. After all 80% are Royalists. Lastly, demograpic change can make a significant electoral difference over 5 years. Just think of a parish or ward and the 100+ who die pa and who they’re replaced by on the Roll. Even with no houses sold, the churn can be considerable. Then factor in new housing or Council/housing assoc letting tenancies etc. Then multiply that constituency wide. I recall Croxteth Park in Lpool being built in 5 years, although it is the largest new private housing estate in Europe so not an everyday occurrence.

  47. Japan had an enormous economic boom in the 1960s, 70s and 80s but kept immigration to an absolute minimum.

    So that theory is proved wrong.

  48. They had an export-led boom fuelled by manufacturing industries, which does not tend to suck in immigrants, same as China in the past 15 years.

    The kind of industries that have boomed in the UK – financial services, retail, restaurants, imported goods, hotels etc etc – are all industries where immigrants are likely to be required in large numbers.

  49. “But it is sad that some believe immigration was a conspiracy by Labour rather than a consequence of our economic boom and globalised world!”

    I’m sorry Glen but I’m sticking to my theory. The only reason that Labour flung open the doors and begged people to come here from a wide selection of poor third world countries was for votes. They may have dressed it up as needing workers for the numerous industries that HH has mentioned and to an extent that is true, but my gut feeling always has been that it was a way to keep hold of power. I have heard people state that it was almost like an insurance policy for Labour….if ever the WWC went against them again (and voted Tory) they would have a new, loyal core long with the wealthy, middle class, public sector types to lead. That’s just my opinion.

    I would love the Tories to tap into the BME vote focusing on those communities who have been here for decades as I am sure that there are votes in it. What I do not want the party to do is to pander to different ethnic groups.

    Completely agree with Richard and JJB’s posts on this issue.

  50. There is no reason at all why those people should have chosen to vote Labour. They do so largely because of the negative discourse of the Tories – which makes those people think ‘the Tories aren’t for us’. Its much the same in Liverpool.

    It does demonstrate how the different parties are talking to different parts of the electorate but none make a majority. Many Tory and Labour voters look at the opposing party and find them entirely separated from their outlook, even though the policies may actually be closer together than ever before!

Leave a Reply

NB: Before commenting please make sure you are familiar with the Comments Policy. UKPollingReport is a site for non-partisan discussion of polls.

You are not currently logged into UKPollingReport. Registration is not compulsory, but is strongly encouraged. Either login here, or register here (commenters who have previously registered on the Constituency Guide section of the site *should* be able to use their existing login)