Croydon South

2015 Result:
Conservative: 31448 (54.5%)
Labour: 14308 (24.8%)
Lib Dem: 3448 (6%)
Green: 2154 (3.7%)
UKIP: 6068 (10.5%)
Others: 286 (0.5%)
MAJORITY: 17140 (29.7%)

Category: Very safe Conservative seat

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

Main population centres: Purley, Coulson, Selsdon.

Profile: A seat in the far south of London that has more in common with residential Surrey than the inner city. Apart from Waddon in the north of the seat, which contains a large council estate and tower blocks and sometimes returns Labour councillors, this seat consists of affluent, leafy dormitory suburbs for Croydon and London, places like Coulson, Purley, Sanderstead and Selsdon (the site of the 1969 meeting that set free-market policies for the Conservative party and lead to the phrase "Selsdon man" and the later founding of the Selsdon Group).

Politics: This is a safe Conservative seat, held by the Tories since its creation in 1974 (the previous Croydon South seat, once held by Labour`s David Winnick, is a different seat that corresponds to what is now Croydon Central).


Current MP
RICHARD OTTAWAY (Conservative) Born 1945, Bristol. Educated at Backwell School and Bristol University. Former Royal Naval Officer and solicitor. First elected as MP for Croydon South in 1992.
Past Results
2010
Con: 28684 (51%)
Lab: 11287 (20%)
LDem: 12866 (23%)
UKIP: 2504 (4%)
Oth: 981 (2%)
MAJ: 15818 (28%)
2005*
Con: 25320 (52%)
Lab: 11792 (24%)
LDem: 10049 (21%)
UKIP: 1054 (2%)
Oth: 682 (1%)
MAJ: 13528 (28%)
2001
Con: 22169 (49%)
Lab: 13472 (30%)
LDem: 8226 (18%)
UKIP: 998 (2%)
Oth: 195 (0%)
MAJ: 8697 (19%)
1997
Con: 25649 (47%)
Lab: 13719 (25%)
LDem: 11441 (21%)
Oth: 759 (1%)
MAJ: 11930 (22%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
CHRIS PHILP (Conservative) Born 1976, London. Educated at St Olaves Grammar School and Oxford University. Entrepreneur. Camden councillor 2006-2010. Contested Hampstead and Kilburn 2010.
EMILY BENN (Labour)
GILL HICKSON (Liberal Democrat)
KATHLEEN GARNER (UKIP)
PETER UNDERWOOD (Green) Former civil servant.
JON BIGGER (Class War)
MARK SAMUEL (Putting Croydon First)
Links
Comments - 267 Responses on “Croydon South”
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  1. Boris Johnson, Gavin Barwell and Andy Stranack seem to be favourites.

  2. I’ve heard Shaun Bailey’s name be thrown around in relation to this seat in the past, but I don’t how this weekend will have affected those rumours.

  3. Bob – why do you keep suggesting Conservative MPs are going to abandon their existing seats for safe ones? There is no valid reason for any sitting MP to do this, other than to protect their own skin, and voters will punish them for that.

    I think Lynn Hale, Steve O’Connell and Lynn Hack are also contenders here.

  4. I doubt Shaun Bailey has a future in the Conservative party anymore, I would not be surprised if he left the party or politics for that matter.
    There is a rumour that Gavin Barwell will go for Croydon South, rather than stay on in Croydon Central. Some of my good friends in the Tory Party have told me that actually Number 10 are trying to send Barwell to Croydon South to block Boris in return for ministerial preferment, because they like him and not Boris and they do not believe he will hold his seat. By the way, Matt – that is the only Conservative MP I have suggested will abandon their seat but it happened a lot in 1997.

  5. I must admit that @Bob is not wrong on this. There have been hints that Gavin Barwell may go for this seat – he was Councillor for Coulsdon West ward prior to 2010 and that is in this seat. Croydon has 3 constituencies and am not sure if minor changes will be made in boundaries before 2015 (not sure how process works) as Croydon is pretty oversized with just 3 seats, especially in comparison to Sutton but this would provide foil for such a move.

    Steve O Connell (the highest paid Councillor in the country according to the Daily Mail) is like the Tory Don here – GLA member for Croydon and Sutton; Deputy Leader of Council; Paid as adviser to Sutton Tories and he is everywhere in the local newspaper – especially at times when Boris Johnson is given coverage with regards to Croydon and being linked to this seat. However in the past he hinted that he didn’t want to be an MP (I think he would be taking a pay cut if he did do so, I guess) and he was ran very very close by Louisa Woodley in the GLA elections, considering Sutton has no elected Labour councillors (I think going back to 2006 – they now have one Lib Dem defector).

    Andy Stranack seemed interesting. Perhaps Vidhi Mohan?

  6. As far as I know there will be no boundary changes at the next general election.

  7. The thing is, I am not sure whether the Tory high command would give Andy Stranack a safe seat. This is the safest Tory seat in the country, but he should go for it. He is a decent One Nationer who is truly passionate about social justice and caring for the poor – he is in my view, in the wrong party. I forgot to mention that there is talk about Claire George-Hilley as a potential replacement. My bet’s on Boris.

  8. Has there even been an instance of a Tory MP chicken-running in the absence of boundary changes in the last few decades?

    I can’t think of one.

  9. Humphrey Atkins moved from Merton & Morden to Spelthorne when there were no boundary changes – but that was way back in 1970.
    Incidentally this is not the safest Tory seat in the country, nor even in London. It is however still very safe.

  10. “Some of my good friends in the Tory Party have told me that actually Number 10 are trying to send Barwell to Croydon South to block Boris in return for ministerial preferment”

    Please refer to my comment on the Shipley thread.

    You are a partisan anti-Tory so nobody senior enough to know these things in the Tory party would ever risk discussing them with someone like you.

    Stop trolling and insulting our intelligence.

  11. In terms of high profile Tories being parachuted into safe seats, I think all eyes should be on Sutton Coldfield where I think there will be a by-election next summer when David Cameron sends Andrew Mitchel off to his new job as a European Commissioner.

  12. It’s been painful looking at this site for the last day or two

  13. I can see that it has. I’ve been away for the past couple of weeks and it seems to have gone further downhill.

  14. So we are agreed. Boris Johnson, Andy Stranack, Claire George-Hilley, Vidhi Mohan, Steve O’Conell and Gavin Barwell are the likely favourites.
    There is talk that when the leadership challenge happens in 2014 from the backbenchers, Boris might offer Richard Ottoway a peerage if he stands down in 2014 citing ‘ill-health’ or something, to allow him to stand for the seat and win. I think Boris should go for a seat right next to Heathrow, personally, so that in the event of a by-election or the General Election, he could run on an anti-Heathrow expansion ticket as Mayor of London. Personally, I think expansion is economically credible but unless all political parties agree to expanding Heathrow or Stansted rather than focus on the politics, then it will never happen – which would be bad for the South East economy.

  15. Bob:

    1)This is not the safest seat in the country – it is not even the safest seat in S London!
    2) How is Boris in a position to offer anyone a peerage, bearing in mind he is the London Mayor?
    3) Are you suggesting Boris stands in Hayes & Harlington or Feltham & Heston (where he would have no realistic chance)?

  16. I would imagine that Boris would be more likely to be elected in Kensington or The City of London & Westminster South

  17. Interesting that Labour didn’t do too badly in Waddon in 1982 when they failed to win any seats outside New Addington / Fieldway:

    Con 2328 / 2235 / 2151
    Lab 1480 / 1400 / 1382
    Alliance 773 / 764 / 631

    Top vote percentage:

    Con 50.8%
    Lab 32.3%
    Alliance 16.9%

  18. Why would Mark Field stand down in Cities of London & Westminster S?

  19. Croydon has a colourful political history, and Malcolm Wicks victory in Croydon NW in 1992 was not Labour’s first victory in the borough.

    Labour held Croydon South (which became the 1974 – 1997 Croydon Central) from 1945 to 1950 and 1966 to 1970. Croydon Central was a very close marginal from its creation in 1974 till 1979.

    The current Croydon South was effectively the northern half of a partition of Surrey East.

    Labour won the NE and NW Croydon divisions in the 1973 Greater London Council Elections but failed to win Croydon Central.

  20. Interesting how Croydon Central was Labour’s best seat when Croydon NW and NE were still fairly safe for them.

  21. Fairly safe for the Tories, I mean to say.

  22. Labour did win Croydon Central in 1973 and by a larger margin than NE and NW (majority in NE was only 11). Croydon Central was also the most marginal seat in both 1974 elections but in 1979 it returned the largest Tory majority of the three

  23. To what extent (if any) do the boundaries of the current Croydon Central overlap with the seat of the same name when it existed in the 1970s?

  24. The current Croydon Central lost a single ward to Croydon South but gained around half of Croydon North East.

    The other half of Croydon North East was combined with Croydon North West to form Croydon North.

    Was there any particular reason that Labour did so well in this part of London in 1973 (3 out of 4 Croydon constituencies), they even took the adjacent Calshalton & Wallington?

  25. I think the Tories are far better off without Shaun Bailey after seeing his appalling campaign in Hammersmith against Andy Slaughter!!

    I heard in interviews / article Bailey hurling personal insults at Slaughter and came across as bad-tempered and very unprofessional.

    I suspect it was part of his downfall in Hammersmith.

  26. ‘I think the Tories are far better off without Shaun Bailey after seeing his appalling campaign in Hammersmith against Andy Slaughter!’

    I think that’s right

    Away from his niche area of youth development, he seemed waay out of his depth

    He was muddled in most areas of policy, so ressorted to hurling pertsonal insults to his opponent – the rather off-key Andy Slaughter

    And he got what he deserved – failing to pick up what most people assumed would be a pretty nailed-on Tory gain

  27. “And he got what he deserved – failing to pick up what most people assumed would be a pretty nailed-on Tory gain”

    Go back to the old site and you will see that most people on here certainly didn’t see Hammersmith as a nailed on Tory gain, myself included. I do remember Dalek being pretty convinced but then he was very over-optimistic on many other seats too.

    I’m not a fan of Shaun Bailey but I don’t think his failure to win Hammersmith was a personal failure. It fits with the pattern of the Tories’ underwhelming performance in a number of marginal Labour seats in London – Westminster North, Eltham, Tooting – basically due to polarised demographics as much as anything else.

  28. I don’t think anyone thought it was a nailed on result except perhaps in the summer of 2008.
    There was always the danger we wouldn’t be able to crack the tougher Labour vote that is left.

  29. ‘I’m not a fan of Shaun Bailey but I don’t think his failure to win Hammersmith was a personal failure. It fits with the pattern of the Tories’ underwhelming performance ‘

    It certainly does – but there was a great deal of goodwill felt towards shaun bailey when he first got selected – especially from people who don’t vote tory – and this more than changing demographics made this a likely tory gain

    And right up until polling day, pollsters fancied the Tories winning in Hammersmith

    Sure they didn’t win in a host of target marginal seats in the london metropolis – but again this was almost due to poor candidate selection

    They selected somebody so dislikeable she was virtually unelectable in Westminster North, a Christian fundamentalist in Sutton & Cheam, a gay candidate in working-class Eltham

    Ditto Shaun Bailey in Hammersmith

  30. I can’t argue with Tim about poor candidates choices by the Tories but it was always going to be tough in all of those seats evn if they did appear ‘nailed on’ Tory gains in 2010.

  31. “And right up until polling day, pollsters fancied the Tories winning in Hammersmith”

    Right up till polling day the pollsters fancied the Tories to make other similarly implausible London gains – Poplar & Limehouse and Dagenham & Rainham both spring to mind. The bookies aren’t always great predictors when it comes to individual seats, projecting too much based only on national swing.

    “They selected somebody so dislikeable she was virtually unelectable in Westminster North, a Christian fundamentalist in Sutton & Cheam, a gay candidate in working-class Eltham”

    It’s impossible to say whether candidate quality did or didn’t make the crucial difference in all of those seats. You could equally point to candidates like Ken Andrew in Carshalton and Mark Clarke in Tooting – and those in Poplar and Dagenham – who were pretty universally regarded as strong candidates, but who performed as badly as Bailey, Cash, Stroud and Gold (much worse in Ken Andrew’s case).

  32. The Labour vote is quite entrenched in the black community. Even a black candidate seems to just attract bemusement – what are they doing in the wrong party….

    I do hope we can gradually change that over time – we have to.

    There probably was a bit of progress in 2008-10 though.

  33. There are huge numbers of mixed marriages these days. That’s bound to have an impact over time.

    The couple who have just bought our flat are a good example – professional 30somethings, no kids, white guy and Indian lady. Would be very surprised if they weren’t Tory voters.

  34. Well, you’d hope so..

  35. The wards in Croydon have some of the highest percentages of mixed-race people in London. Indeed I think Woodside has the highest in the capital, which is interesting because it was Knight’s Hill in 2001.

  36. Are there mostly C2 voters here?

  37. No there are n’t, it’s the most middle class seat in Croydon,although there has been some demographic change and the Tory majorities are n’t as huge as they used to be.

  38. So mostly C1s then?

  39. I don’t normally agree with Tim Jones and his incessant Tory bashing (which appears to have become rampant again lately), however he has a point with candidate selection.

    In Eltham, Spencer Drury would have been a better choice than David Gold (he did pretty well in Greenwich & Woolwich). I also think Lindsey Hall would have been a better choice in Westminster N (and she is now the candidate).

    As for Hammersmith, I remember the final selection was between Shaun Bailey and Anthony Frieze (who was billed as a more conventional candidate). In the end, I don’t think we can say whether a different candidate would have won there – it has not been Conservative in recent times and as has been suggested, it may have been an unrealistic target in the end.

  40. The evidence strongly suggests that the Tories did relatively badly in London, regardless of whether candidates were good or bad.

  41. Overall yes, though there were exceptions (Orpington, Hampstead & Kilburn, Vauxhall, Battersea, Putney, Richmond Pk coem to mind).

  42. Except for Orpington, they were all due to demographic factors.

  43. There were also good Tory results in Enfield Southgate and Wimbledon- the former being rather surprising given how the demographics appear to be moving against the Tories. But yes, overall, the Tories had a poor night- IIrc, the swing was only 2% or so- the lowest of all the English regions.

  44. Is Vauxhall just gentifying by the river?

  45. Agree about Southgate and Wimbledon (helped by poor Labour candidates IMHO plus 1st term Tory incumbency).

    Vauxhall is gentrifying by the river, but the strongest Tory ward is the one furthest away from the river – Clapham Town

  46. Or should I say, the ward where the Tories are the strongest

  47. “In Eltham, Spencer Drury would have been a better choice than David Gold (he did pretty well in Greenwich & Woolwich)”

    This had to be one of the worse choice of candidates in 2010…not because David Gold would not make a fine MP, as I am sure he would, but he was an ill fitting choice for a seat like Eltham.

  48. The Conservative performance in Vauxhall in 2010 has not really been commented on. The increase was substantial but they remained in 3rd place. As Matt says, there is gentrification by the river which is being encouraged by the redevelopment of the Nine Elms area. Clapham Town is increasingly resembling nearby Battersea and is the best constituency ward for the Tories by far. I would not be surprised if there is a partial Tory gain in next year’s council elections.

    With the continuing demographic change in these areas plus further gentrification in Brixton, this seat is bound to become more competitive. However, it will be some time before Labour will be at any serious risk here. Kate Hoey has done well over the years and as a right leaning Labour MP has probably appealed to the more affluent residents who have been moving in over the past decade. It will be interesting to see what happens to the party’s vote once she stands down.

  49. Some of london will be moving to the tories long term but only about a quarter of it, a third is optimistic. A business centre with high housing costs is bound to retain a tory presence. But we struggle to get ahead of labour overall unless we see 1983 short term factors.

  50. The result in vauxhall did look odd, particularly with a right wing labour mp. Must be demographic and perhapds the con vote has already overtaken that in streatham

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