Conservative MP Gavin Barwell is publicly supporting a campaign launched this week by Sarah Jones, the Labour candidate aiming to win the Croydon Central seat from him at next May’s General Election.
Barwell has even signed the petition calling on the Tory Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, to re-zone Croydon’s rail stations and so reduce the fares paid by local commuters to travel into central London.
Jones, together with the Lambeth South MP, Steve Reed OBE, launched the campaign on Monday, calling for East Croydon and West Croydon to be re-assigned by Transport for London from Zone 5 to Zone 4.
Barwell will undoubtedly attempt to characterise his support for Labour’s campaign as some form of “new” or consensus politics. But given the lingering doubts of his being able to hold on to his marginal Croydon Central seat, the less naive will suggest that after more than five years of doing nothing on this specific issue, Barwell is now chasing after a bandwagon that has already left the station.
“I fully support any initiative that reduces the spiraling costs for commuters in Croydon,” Barwell said after Jones had launched the campaign on Monday.
Barwell had roped into his press release Steve O’Connell, his Tory colleague and the London Assembly Member for Croydon and Sutton.
In doing so, Barwell has tried to broaden the focus for re-zoning to Sutton, Cheam and elsewhere in south London. Of course, the more stations which are considered for re-zoning, the more expensive, in reduced fare income, it becomes for TfL. And also, the weaker the case for re-zoning might become, increasing the risk of the campaign failing to succeed.
“It’s not credible to pretend that this is just a Croydon problem – and indeed it’s in our interests to involve other areas that are similarly unfairly treated,” Barwell claimed, announcing that, after five years of doing nothing on the issue, he and O’Connell had requested a meeting with TfL director Sir Peter Hendy and the Mayor “to seek their support for a review of the zone boundaries”.
As is the nature of these things, nothing will be decided for at least a year – by which time Barwell may no longer be in parliament, but Boris will, as MP for Uxbridge and already looking well beyond his current part-time job as London Mayor.
“Now is precisely the right time to be fighting for Croydon,” Jones said. “South London has to be the Mayor’s priority.”
Jones believes that her proposals have a good chance of succeeding. “My sources at TfL say that if you make the economic case, you stand a chance.”
Asked to explain why South Croydon Station – in the Croydon Central constituency – was not included in her original proposals, even though it is regarded as one and the same as East and West Croydon for fare-setting purposes on the national rail network, Jones said, “I think a much stronger case is focused around East and West – I want to win this so there will be a long process of making the economic case and running the numbers to see.
“If you look at the map of the zones, you need to shave a small amount off Zone 5 to include East and West Croydon. Including all the Croydon stations would completely change the boundaries. It’s also about making the right case or we won’t win. Has to be about the regeneration in the centre of Croydon – Westfield, housing, jobs. The right answer at the right time.”
- See Sarah Jones interviewed about #Zone4Croydon on London Live here
- Add your name to the petition to re-zone Croydon’s stations to Zone 4
- Jones campaigns to reduce commuter fares by £336 a year
- Candidate decries Labour re-zoning plan as a doomed stunt
Coming to Croydon
- CODA’s Wind In The Willows, Charles Cryer, Carshalton, Oct 29-Nov 1
- NHS free health fair, Central Parade, New Addington, Oct 31
- SNATH free film festival Halloween event, Stanley Halls, Oct 31
- Streatham-Croydon women’s rugby training, Frant Road, Nov 2
- World War I centenary concert, Ruskin House, Nov 2
- MOPAC policing meeting, Surrey Street, Nov 4
- Personal safety training for volunteers, Nov 4
- St Giles School opening morning, Nov 5
- David Lean Cinema: Two Days, One Night, Nov 6
- Park Hill School fireworks display, Nov 7
- Grange Park bulb-planting event, Nov 8
- Streatham-Croydon women’s rugby training, Frant Road, Nov 9
- Brook recording studio open day and party, Nov 9
- David Lean Cinema, Paths of Glory, Nov 11
- Albert Einstein – Relativity Speaking, Spread Eagle, Nov 12-15
- David Lean Cinema, Ida, Nov 13
- Oval Tavern Folk Club, Nov 14
- South Croydon business breakfast, Nov 15
- Streatham-Croydon women’s rugby training, Frant Road, Nov 16
- Personal safety training for volunteers, Nov 17
- David Lean Cinema, Effie Gray, Nov 20
- Norwood Society Talk: Lambeth’s Archives, Nov 20
- Choose Your Own Documentary, Spread Eagle Theatre, Nov 21-22
- David Lean Cinema, Lilting, Nov 22
- Streatham-Croydon women’s rugby training, Frant Road, Nov 23
- David Lean Cinema, Wakolda, Nov 27
- The Last Sense of Sudden, Spread Eagle Theatre, Nov 27-29
- Ghost Stories for Christmas, Spread Eagle Theatre, Dec 3
- Fog Horn Funnies, Spread Eagle Theatre, Dec 6
- Coulsdon Yulefest, Dec 6-7
- Oval Tavern Folk Club, Dec 7
- South Croydon business breakfast, Dec 13
- South Croydon business breakfast, Jan 24
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