Sarah Jones, one of the front-runners in Labour’s all-women process to select a candidate to contest the Croydon Central parliamentary seat at the next General Election, has claimed that the current Tory MP, Gavin Barwell, owes his position to the “jobs for the boys” attitude in national politics.
Jones, a long-standing Croydon resident and former volunteer at the Bethlem Hospital, said in an interview on Croydon Radio’s Press and Events Show that there is “tremendous talent around the constituency”, but that Barwell, a Cambridge graduate and previously a senior official within the Conservative party, got his position in parliament from being part of a male elite.
“He’s gone down the traditional Oxbridge, Conservative Central Office into Parliament job, job for the boys,” Jones said.
Jones admits to having had a similar background to Barwell, having grown up locally and attending what is now a Whitgift Foundation-run Old Palace independent girls’ before going to Durham University.
But she questions Barwell’s performance since he was elected MP in 2010. “I’m not entirely sure what you could say he’s actually done for the people of Croydon,” Jones said.
Asked about the endorsement that she had received from Labour’s council shadow cabinet member Timothy Godfrey, who had described Barwell as “an effective, energetic Tory MP”, Jones was more critical of the Croydon Central MP. “I think he’s a good campaigner,” she said. “I don’t think that makes you a good MP, necessarily.”
Jones said that her fellow Croydon Central Labour party members should look for a candidate “who can reach out to everybody in and every part of the constituency”.
“That’s something that I can do,” Jones said.
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