#ELLGE19: Croydon South – ‘Forget about Mr Corbyn, no one wants to know about him anyway’

Purley’s Coughlans Bakery, sandwiched between the town’s two high streets. Pic: Harry Thompson

Croydon South has been a Conservative stronghold since its creation in 1974, yet it’s a place of contrasting parts, its northern border flirting with the bustling centre of Croydon, while the south end is predominated by affluent suburbia.

Waddon, which runs along Purley Way, a bulging artery into Croydon’s urban hub and flanked by an out-of-city retail park, is a marked contrast to the green, leafy urban fringe of Couldsdon, surrounded by golf courses and countryside.  

Purley, which sits in the middle of the constituency, has a high street similar to any small Midlands town, where the only reminder of its proximity to London comes when a red bus goes by.

Of the ten local government wards in the constituency, only Waddon has currently returned Labour councillors, all others are Conservative.

Purley town centre. Pic: Harry Thompson

Voices from the streets

“Yeah I think the Conservatives are going to hold this seat. Forget about Mr Corbyn, no one wants to know about him anyway”

Frank, a bus driver from Croydon.

“Croydon South is definitely going to be Conservative. I think Boris is doing a very hard job, very difficult, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for him.”

David, a 74 year old retiree

“This time around, I think the Labour Party will come into it in Croydon South, at least I hope so.”

Natasha Evan, 31

The Incumbent:

The seat has been held by Conservative Chris Philp, 43, since 2015. A former businessman he worked for international consultancy firm McKinsey and Company, before starting a variety of start-up business, being named London’s emerging entrepreneur of the year by The Times and Ernst and Young.

In 2010 he ran for MP in Hampstead and Kilburn, but lost by 42 votes to Labour’s incumbent Glenda Jackson. In the 2015 election, he won in Croydon by a 29.7 per cent margin.

The opposing candidates:

Yet there could be a different result this year. Labour made an 11 per cent gain in 2017, climbing from 24.8 per cent to 35.8 per cent of the popular vote.

Labour’s candidate, Olga FitzRoy, 37, brings a fresh feel to the campaign with her background in music production. Likely to be Philp’s only major rival, FitzRoy, an award winning grassroots campaigner, feels confident she can close the gap. FitzRoy told Eastlondonlines: “It’s going to be an uphill battle. Chris [Philps] has got about an 11,000 majority, but I’m the best placed to overturn that.”

But the Brexit Party’s decision to stand down all candidates in incumbent Conservative seats may make FitzRoy’s task even harder. Former Croydon South candidate for the Brexit Party, Peter Sonnex, moved to Croydon Central following Nigel Farage’s announcement.

Sonnex told Eastlondonlines: “My role in Croydon South was to be marginalised by the Tories. Mission accomplished. My role in Croydon Central is to change politics for good – defending democracy for the UK as an independent nation state and restoring trust in our institutions.”

FitzRoy told Eastlondonlines: “He’s gifted votes to the Tories, he would have got a couple of thousand votes, which is annoying. Obviously it helps my colleague Sarah Jones in Croydon Central as he will take some votes off the Tories there. But for me it’s not great that he’s stood down.”

Croydon South. Pic: Mapit

Despite not having managed more than six per cent of the vote since 2015, in 2010 the Lib Dems got 22.8 per cent of the vote, coming second in the constituency. Whether or not Anna Jones will be able to improve on her 3,541 votes in 2017 remains to be seen.

Candidates 2019:

  • Chris Philp, Conservative
  • Olga FitzRoy, Labour
  • Anna Jones, Liberal Democrat
  • Peter Underwood, Green Party
  • Kathleen Garner, UK Independence Party

Results GE17:

PartyNameTotal votesPercentageSwing
ConservativeChris Philp33,333454.4%-0.1%
LabourJennifer Braithwaite21,92835.8%+11%
Liberal DemocratAnna Jones3,5415.8%-0.2%
Green Cathrine Shelley1,1251.9%-1.9%
UK Independence PartyKathleen Garner1,1161.8%-8.7%
Christian Peoples’ allianceDavid Omamogho2130.3%+0.3%

Leave a Reply