“Four generations of my family live in Croydon,” she said.
“I love the borough and I am proud to live here. I am a Labour campaigner. I have been a Labour party member for 20 years. But I’m a professional campaigner too and I haven’t just stuck to politics.”
Jones was a real Siobhan Sharpe when she ran government communications on the London Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Other professional campaigns have been at Shelter, the NHS and currently with EnoughFoodIF.org on the G8 and global hunger. Jones has also worked in the Commons for Mo Mowlam and for Geraint Davies when he was a Croydon Central MP.
As a professional campaigner, educated at a Croydon independent school and leading university, Jones is similar to her prospective opponent Gavin Barwell who went straight from Cambridge to spending most of his work life being a professional campaigner for the Conservative party. Barwell has also highlighted a similarity between himself and Jones when she attacked the MP on Croydon Radio saying that, “He’s gone down the traditional Oxbridge, Conservative Central Office into Parliament job, job for the boys”.
Barwell’s retort was to point out that “she went to an elite Russell Group university and then went on to work for a Labour MP”.
Leading Labour Croydon councillor Timothy Godfrey said, “Sarah Jones is the right choice to win. She is born and bred Croydon, but has the national policy experience to defeat Gavin Barwell. She has the campaign experience to revitalise the party, win extra council seats in 2014 and win against Barwell in 2015.”
INSIDE CROYDON’S QUESTIONS
We put questions to all the candidates. This is how Sarah Jones answered
What do you see as the single most important issue facing Croydon today?
The economy, specifically jobs. The unemployment rate in Croydon Central is 4.3 per cent higher than the national average. For a town that is so well-connected, and with so much talent, that is not acceptable.
Investment in local jobs, training and infrastructure, could make Croydon an economic powerhouse. I worked on the Olympics – where we invested in jobs, sport and new homes. That investment has reaped well in excess of £13 billion.
Should voters get the chance to decide on the UK’s membership of the EU?
If our engagement in the EU is going to dramatically change then of course the voters should get the chance to decide. But the Tory plan to announce a referendum now but not hold it for years is a recipe for indecision and investment uncertainty.
I am a passionate supporter of the benefits of membership of the EU, but we need to have an honest debate about the positives and the negatives. We need to ensure an honest debate about immigration that values the contribution to our economy that migrants make. We need to protect the historic welcome we make to genuine asylum seekers. This country fought a world war to guarantee the principles of freedom and democracy and to protect the rights of minorities.
What is your favourite work of art?
Any painting by Modigliani. An Italian Jew living in France, he painted strong women. And he died a pauper at 35 – what a waste. Shame on the Tories for shutting the Croydon Clocktower gallery and stopping people accessing art.
Why did you not seek selection in Croydon North last year?
I have lived in Shirley, in the heart of Croydon Central, all my life. I want to represent the area I grew up in. And I have been a Labour party member here for 20 years.
Tony Blair or?
Am I allowed Blair’s head and Benn’s heart?
I think it is becoming clearer and clearer the difference that the Labour party made in government, so I would go with Blair, although I wouldn’t have voted for the war.
A&E waiting times have soared since the Tories removed the waiting time targets. Building Schools for the Future was an amazing programme that would have re-built Archbishop Tenison’s and Addington High by now. The Tory decision to cancel this capital investment in Croydon Central is short-sighted.
- Ten women declare for Labour’s Central shortlist
- Butler quick to declare candidacy for Labour nomination
- Inside Croydon: Croydon’s only independent news source that is actually based in the heart of the borough – 267,670 page views Nov 2012-Apr 2013
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