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Croydon Central

2010 Results:
Conservative: 19657 (39.51%)
Labour: 16688 (33.54%)
Liberal Democrat: 6553 (13.17%)
BNP: 1448 (2.91%)
UKIP: 997 (2%)
Green: 581 (1.17%)
Christian: 264 (0.53%)
Monster Raving Loony: 192 (0.39%)
Independent: 3377 (6.79%)
Majority: 2969 (5.97%)

Notional 2005 Results:
Labour: 18679 (41.1%)
Conservative: 18362 (40.4%)
Liberal Democrat: 5862 (12.9%)
Other: 2519 (5.5%)
Majority: 317 (0.7%)

Actual 2005 result
Conservative: 19974 (40.8%)
Labour: 19899 (40.6%)
Liberal Democrat: 6384 (13%)
Green: 1036 (2.1%)
UKIP: 1066 (2.2%)
Other: 598 (1.2%)
Majority: 75 (0.2%)

2001 Result
Conservative: 17659 (38.5%)
Labour: 21643 (47.2%)
Liberal Democrat: 5156 (11.2%)
UKIP: 545 (1.2%)
BNP: 449 (1%)
Other: 408 (0.9%)
Majority: 3984 (8.7%)

1997 Result
Conservative: 21535 (38.6%)
Labour: 25432 (45.6%)
Liberal Democrat: 6061 (10.9%)
Referendum: 1886 (3.4%)
Other: 885 (1.6%)
Majority: 3897 (7%)

Boundary changes: Minor changes to bring the constituency in line with ward boundaries. Part of Selsdon & Ballards, Croham and Waddon to Croydon South and parts of Broad Green and South Norwood to Croydon North.

Profile: This is central Croydon in political term if not in geographical terms (while it contains the commercial and shopping centre of Croydon, it is really the eastern part of the borough). Politically though it is half way between the safe Conservative Croydon South and what must now be considered the safely Labour Croydon North.

Croydon Central itself has sharp contrasts within it. 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, although in the most recent council elections they saw some support drifitng to the BNP.

Croydon Central was won by the Conservatives in 2005 with only a wafer thin minority, with subsequent boundary changes making it notionally Labour. The incumbent Conservative MP Andrew Pelling had been suspended from the party following his arrest on an allegation of assault and two adverse articles in the ‘News of the World’ and “The Mail on Sunday”. 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. The former Labour MP for the seat, Geraint Davies, defeated in 2005, is now MP for Swansea West.

portraitCurrent MP: Gavin Barwell (Conservative) Educated at Cambridge University. Former Conservative party director of operations and head of the party`s target seats campaign. Former Croydon councillor. Selected for Sutton and Cheam prior to the 2005 election, but withdrew due to family illness. MP for Croydon Central since 2010.

2010 election candidates:
portraitGavin Barwell (Conservative) Educated at Cambridge University. Former Conservative party director of operations, now heading the party`s target seats campaign. Croydon councillor. Selected for Sutton and Cheam prior to the 2005 election, but withdrew due to family illness.
portraitGerry Ryan (Labour) Telephone engineer. Croydon councillor. Contested Croydon South 2001.
portraitPeter Lambell (Liberal Democrat) Educated at Reigate Grammar and Oxford Brookes University. Business analyst. Surrey councillor
portraitBernice Golberg (Green) Teaches at King`s College London. Contested Croydon Central 2005
portraitRalph Atkinson (UKIP) European Parliament researcher. Contested Dulwich and West Norwood 2005. Contested London region in 2004, 2009 European Parliamentary elections. Contested London list in 2008 Assembly elections.
portraitCliff Le May (BNP) Postal worker. Contested Londonwide list in 2004 GLA elections. Contested Uxbridge 2005. Contested Londonwide list in 2008 London elections.
portraitJames Gitau (Christian Party) Born Kiambaa, Kenya. Educated at Kamusinga High School. Pastor. Briefly became one of the first black members of the BNP before defecting to the Christian Party in 2010.
portraitJohn Cartwright (Official Monster Raving Loony) born 1968. Educated at Trinity School and Royal Holloway College. Perennial candidate in Croydon local elections and by-elections. Contested Ealing Southall by-election 2007, Bromley & Chislehurst by-election 2006, Croydon Central 2005, 2001. OMRLP shadow minister for chocolate.
portraitMichael Castle (Independent)
portraitAndrew Pelling (Independent) born 1959. Educated at Trinity School, Croydon and Oxford University. Former investment banker. Croydon councillor from 1982-2006, including 3 years as leader of the Conservative group. Member of the London Assembly for Sutton and Croydon 2000-2008. First elected as MP for Croydon Central in 2005. Was suspended from the Conservative Party Parliamentary whip and chose not to take back the party whip following his arrest in Sept 2007 on an allegation of assaulting his wife. He retained the Conservative Party whip at the London Assembly. In January 2008 it was announced he was suffering from clinical depression. He initially announced he would step down at the next election, but in 2010 confirmed he would stand as an independent and was then expelled from the Conservative Party.

2001 Census Demographics

Total 2001 Population: 107320
Male: 48.2%
Female: 51.8%
Under 18: 25.4%
Over 60: 16.8%
Born outside UK: 17.7%
White: 77.5%
Black: 10.2%
Asian: 7.1%
Mixed: 3.7%
Other: 1.5%
Christian: 65.8%
Hindu: 3.1%
Muslim: 3.9%
Full time students: 3.4%
Graduates 16-74: 21.9%
No Qualifications 16-74: 25.3%
Owner-Occupied: 64.3%
Social Housing: 21.5% (Council: 13.5%, Housing Ass.: 7.9%)
Privately Rented: 11.9%
Homes without central heating and/or private bathroom: 8.4%

NB - The constituency guide is now archived and is no longer being updated. The new guide is at

760 Responses to “Croydon Central”

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  1. Politicians of the Right do seem to have a problem with the way they are perceived.

    The problem is that some of their number do have views which would quite understandably be opposed by those they don’t welcome.

    If that stains the entire right wing brand, thats something they will need to bear in mind

    What won’t work is moaning how unfair it all is.

  2. “You’ll lose anyway once the ethnic minority vote reaches a high enough proportion which will be soon enough and Gavin Barwell’s pandering to multi-culturalism won’t save him.”

    I couldn’t agree more, Pete.

  3. ‘Politicians of the Right do seem to have a problem with the way they are perceived.’

    I don’t think that’s true at all – I’d argue quite the opposite

    Most modern right-wingers – and this extends to many of those who post on this site – two names certainly spring to mind – seem to delight in nothing more than slagging people off, and usually resort to nasty, highly personsalised attacks when people dare take them up on some of the things they say

    That doesn’t suggest they have a problem the way they are perceived

  4. I don;t know who the second person is, but I am not a politician Tim

  5. It is Lib Dems who run personal attacks – more than the other parties. I’m not completely up to date with Croydon, but I would have thought this seat can still be Con for some years to come.

  6. I am very up to date with Croydon Central, living a mile or so away from the seat and passing through every few days.

    My hunch is that it is going to be a real bellweather in 2015. If the Tories manage to outpoll Labour nationally then they have a reasonable chance of holding on, but it will still be pretty close.

    If Labour are ahead on national vote share they are going to win here, as they ominously did (albeit quite narrowly) in the GLA elections.

  7. If current demographic trends continue 2015 will probably be the last time the Tories will be able to win Croydon Central. The Tories can of course win seats with large ethnic minorities like Harrow East but usually they rely on the votes of middle-class Indians in those seats and there’s no sign of that particular group moving to this constituency in any significant numbers.

  8. @AndyJS

    There have been plenty of middle class Indians who now live in the Shirley, Heathfield and Fairfield wards of the constituency. Indeed one of Gavin Barwell’s financial backers is a middle class Asian who lives in this very constituency.

    Croydon Central will be on edge for a while, I think, partly because even though demographic changes have occurred, there are middle class Asians who would no qualms about voting for Tories. Gavin Barwell has regularly courted one of the local newspapers Croydon Advertiser, which has made him more visible in the constituency.

    However with the demise of the BNP, and if an alternative far-right isn’t fully functional, some of the BNP vote in New Addington probably will return to Labour, especially if the image of the Tories and the Government remains one that is ruled by Toffs with little understanding of the working classes.

    Also the actions of the Conservative-run Council may also be an influence (probably less so if the GE is in 2015 and the Locals being in 2014) – they have just spent tens of millions of pounds on building a brand new Council HQ, with the cost having increased significantly from their original estimation; the secrecy and the stinginess in revealing the financial agreements behind the deal have been a little shocking; and now they have announced that they will be increasing Council Tax.

    Also my understanding was that Andrew Pelling’s support in the 2010 GE when he ran as an Independent, a significant proportion of it was from Labour supporters, especially when letters addressed from David Cameron was sent to every constituent here, asking them to vote for Barwell and then highlighting the charges levied on Pelling, for which he was cleared. There was also a complete lack of support for Pelling by the local Tory Association by the time he became an Independent.

    It would be interesting if Labour selected Pelling as their candidate in 2015, now that he is a member of the Labour party.

  9. Historically Labour has a poor record in Croydon. Prior to Malcolm Wicks winning Croydon North West in 1992 Labour had not won a Croydon seat since David Winnick (now of Walsall North) scraped home in Croydon South by 81 votes in 1966. Before that the only Labour win in Croydon was in 1945.

    David Winnick lost his seat in 1970. The closest Labour came to winning a Croydon seat was again with Winnick who missed taking Croydon Central at the October 1974 election by 164 votes.

    From comments by others it seems much of Croydon is shifting demographically towards Labour, so perhaps 2010 may have been the final occasion on which the Tories win this seat.

  10. “It would be interesting if Labour selected Pelling as their candidate in 2015, now that he is a member of the Labour party.”

    Oh yes, I can see Harriet Harman welcoming an alleged wifebeater as a Labour candidate in a winnable seat with open arms.

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