By Evie Breese and Dom Webb
Despite catastrophic losses across the country, there was good news for the Labour Party in the marginal seat of Croydon Central as Sarah Jones won with a majority of 5,949, increasing her 2015 majority by 297.
Jones, the former shadow minister for housing, had expected a tough fight so it came as a surprise when she not only held the seat but also increased her majority at the expense of controversial Conservative candidate Mario Creatura.
The atmosphere was bitter-sweet, as moments after she won, Jones told Eastlondonlines: “I think we’ve had a great result here in Croydon but we’ve had a devastating night across the country so far.
“We had a manifesto that offered so much, we need to understand why people didn’t want that and didn’t put their faith in us, and not jump to conclusions.”
When asked whether she thought Jeremy Corbyn’s position as leader of the Labour Party was tenable, she replied: “That’s for him to decide going forward. He has been our leader, and in 2017 I won the seat, probably because he was the leader of the labour party at that point.”
Creatura had hoped to reclaim the seat for the Conservatives after they lost it by a margin of 5,652 votes in 2017, but Croydon Central did not follow the national trend of Tory gains in marginal seats.
When asked by Eastlondonlines whether Croydon Central was forever lost for the Conservative party, he replied, “Definitely not. [We] need to have a lie in, catch up on some sleep, and then regroup, rebuild and go again next time.”
The result in in Croydon North was aligned with expectations as Labour’s Steve Reed was re-elected for the fourth time, but with a reduced majority of 23,673.
Similarly, in Croydon South there were few surprises as Conservative candidate Chris Philp was re-elected for his third term, with a majority of 12,339.
Celebrating the win not only for himself but for Conservative gains across the country, Philp said: “I think the scale of the gains was surprising, but it just shows the whole country has a desire to move forward beyond the Brexit uncertainty and to just get on with our lives.”
On the Conservative’s failure to claim Croydon Central, he said: “Look, I’m very disappointed we didn’t win. Mario … fought a great campaign, but of course I congratulate [Sarah Jones] and wish her well on her victory… I’m confident we can win it back.”
Philp’s main challenger, newcomer Olga Fitzroy, failed to put up much of a fight, experiencing a downward swing of -4.4 per cent. She was “devastated” at the national result, and said that Labour needed to have a “serious rethink” of their position.
Finally, in Croydon North, Labour MP Steve Reed was re-elected for the fourth time. However, he too felt the effects of the nation shifting against Labour, as he received a downward swing of -8.5 per cent. He blamed this on poor voter turnout due to the weather.
After the news broke that Jeremy Corbyn would not lead the Labour Party in another general election, but intended to remain leader for a “period of reflection,” Reed said “I feel very pulled in two directions. On the one hand I’m very honoured and humbled and proud to be re-elected as the member of parliament for Croydon North, which is a community I love, but I’m devastated Labour’s been hammered nationally. So on the one hand I want to celebrate and on the other I want to cry.”
While other candidates may have had dreams of enormous swings, realistically the winner was only going to be a Conservative or Labour candidate.
The Brexit party failed to make any significant progress in the two constituencies they stood in, although Croydon Central candidate Peter Sonnex told Eastlondonlines that they would continue “to hold the Conservative govenment to account”
Similarly, the Greens failed to capitalise on the high-profile extinction rebellion protests, with all three candidates losing their deposits. Their Croydon South candidate, Peter Underwood, told Eastlondonlines that they had been badly affected by tactical voting, particularly in Croydon Central.
On the other hand, the Liberal Democrats had a strong performance in Croydon, as all three candidates saw a significant increase in their vote share enabling them to keep their deposits, a stark contrast to the 2017 election.
|Sarah Jones (Labour)||27,124||50.2%||-2.1%|
|Mario Creatura (Conservative)||21,175||39.2%||– 3.2%|
|Simon Sprague (Liberal Democrat)||3,532||6.5%||+4.6%|
|Esther Sutton (Green)||1,215||2.2%||+1.2%|
|Peter Sonnex (Brexit Party)||999||1.8%||+1.8%|
|Chris Philp (Conservative)||30,985||52.2%||– 2.2%|
|Olga Fitzroy (Labour)||18,646||31.4%||– 4.4%|
|Anna Jones (Liberal Democrat)||7503||12.6%||+6.9%|
|Peter Underwood (Green)||1782||3.0%||+1.2%|
|Kathleen Garner (UKIP)||442||0.7%||-1.1%|
|Steve Reed (Labour)||36,495||65.6%||-8.5%|
|Donald Ekekhomen (Conservative)||11,822||21.3%||+1.4%|
|Claire Bonham (Liberal Democrat)||4,476||8%||+5.3%|
|Rachel Chance (Green)||1,629||2.9%||+1.3%|
|Chidi Ngwaba (Brexit)||839||1.5%||+1.5%|
|Candade Mitchell (Christian People’s Alliance)||348||1.5%||+1.5%|