Few constituencies in the country will be as tightly fought as Croydon Central in the run-up to next month’s general election.
Two years ago Conservative Gavin Barwell slipped past the Labour candidate Sarah Jones by just 165 votes – one of the narrowest margins recorded anywhere in the UK in the 2015 election.
Since the announcement that the nation will be going to the polls again on June 8, the parties in Croydon Central and the other two constituencies within the borough have launched their campaigns to topple existing majorities.
Croydon is made up of three constituencies – Croydon North, Croydon South and Croydon Central – and is Conservative-held in two of them.
With that slender victory for the Tories in Croydon Central last time around, it is no coincidence that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn made Croydon the first stop of his campaign trail – an indication of just how important this seat is to both main parties.
Here is a breakdown of the borough’s three constituencies.
The Labour stronghold and home to Crystal Palace F.C is the most densely populated constituency in the borough.
Represented by Steve Reed, the party has been a safe Labour seat since it was re-devised in 1997, when it was held by Malcom Wicks until his death in 2012.
Reed was elected with a landslide victory of 33,513 votes compared with the Conservative candidate, Vidhi Mohan scraping only 12,149 votes, giving Labour a comfortable 39.9 per cent majority.
Reed is likely to retain his seat in this year’s election but will still have to work hard due to Labour’s poor performance in the polls of late.
Croydon Central is set to be one of the most contested of the three borough constituencies and both main parties will be working hard to secure votes.
Gavin Barwell, the returning Conservative candidate, has already started to campaigning in the borough and in fact, tweeted a picture of the support he has garnered
— Gavin Barwell (@BackBarwell) April 30, 2017
However, Corbyn’s early stop in Croydon suggests he’s aware of how crucial this battle will be in order to secure this vote.
Labour will need to secure a further 2.9 per cent of the vote to win the seat from the Conservatives, who have held it since 2005.
Labour have yet to reveal a candidate for the constituency but the official announcement, for all party candidates, will be on May 11.
Croydon South’s Conservative candidate Chris Philip holds one of the safest seats in London, having secured a 29.7 per cent majority in the 2015 general election.
Philip, who’s campaign looks to run closely alongside Barwell’s in Central, is in a very strong position and it seems unlikely that he will lose his seat.
Much like Steve Reed’s North constituency, Croydon South has only even been run by the Conservatives.
South has 82,010 potential voters and had the highest turnout out of the three constituencies in the 2015 elections with 70.4 per cent.
Two years ago all three of the Croydon constituencies saw a dramatic fall in the support for the Liberal Democrat party and a rise in the support of UKIP. The biggest loss in votes for the Lib Dems was in Croydon South, where they suffered a -16 per cent decrease from 2011.
Despite worries of voter interest in this year’s election, Croydon South had an excellent turnout in 2015 with 70.4 per cent of the electorate voting; the highest in the borough.