Things are looking very grim for Gavin Barwell’s future as an MP, as even his former employer and one-time mentor is publishing figures which show that he will lose his Croydon Central seat at the General Election next May.
Lord Ashcroft has this morning released the results of a poll conducted in the Croydon Central constituency which has the sitting Conservative MP losing to Labour’s Sarah Jones by a 6 per cent margin.
This latest poll involved a large sample of voters within the constituency, and so is considered more accurate than many other opinion polls conducted on voting intentions.
“Cashcroft”, the billionaire former Tory Party treasurer who is spending a fair chunk of his wealth on regular polling of some of Britain’s most marginal constituencies, notes that, “The six-point Labour lead in Croydon Central is the smallest I have yet found in a seat the Tories are defending from Labour in London.”
A 6 per cent lead could see Barwell beaten by as many as 3,000 votes come the General Election, although Ashcroft utilises the pollster’s usual cop-out, that his opinion poll is just “a snapshot not a prediction”.
Given that the Barwell-inspired election campaign for Croydon Town Hall in the spring worked so well (not) – with Labour winning control of the council with 40 councillors to the Conservatives’ 30 – the question now is: how can Barwell salvage his political career and win back around 2,000 voters by next May?
It does not help the cause of the Tory government whip that he is faced with a battle on two fronts. Ashcroft’s “snapshot” suggests that UKIP’s Peter Staveley could get 19 per cent of the vote, while the LibDems vote will collapse utterly in Croydon Central, to just 4 per cent, with many of their former voters going over to Labour.
Ashcroft’s Croydon Central poll gives Labour 39 per cent to the Conservatives’ 33 per cent. This is not altogether different from what Inside Croydon’s tame psephologist, Walter Cronxite, predicted last month, with Jones on 37.5 per cent to Barwell’s 34.3 per cent, although Ashcroft’s poll suggests a bigger vote for UKIP.
Even worse for Barwell, the Ashcroft poll was conducted before Jones launched her vote-winning Zone 4 campaign to appeal to Croydon’s commuters, with a proposal which could reduce their annual fares by nearly £340.
That is a campaign which Barwell quickly backed. But copying Labour policy initiatives after five years in office may not be enough to retrieve the dire situation for the MP for the Whitgift Foundation.
- Read the latest polling analysis from Lord Ashcroft here
- See Ashcroft’s polling data for yourself here
- Read Walter Cronxite’s Croydon Central analysis from last month here
Coming to Croydon
- David Lean Cinema: Two Days, One Night, Nov 6
- Save St Helier film screening: Sell Off, Nov 7
- 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
- Wandle Park community garden work day, Nov 16
- 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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