VOTE 2015: Live coverage of Croydon’s General Election

We will be reporting live through the night on the General Election results in Croydon – North, South and Central – London and across the country. We encourage you to send us your comments by email and Twitter.

2015 General Election Croydon ConstituenciesCroydon’s counts this year are split across the Fairfield Halls and Braithwaite Hall, with declarations expected around 3.30am.

Keep checking back every hour or so for updates and additions – latest news will be at the top of the page.

We welcome your election-day pictures and information, your comments and your observations, which you can send to us by email at inside.croydon@btinternet.com or via Twitter @InsideCroydon

7am – and final – UPDATE: The Croydon Central result is confirmed, with Gavin Barwell returned as MP for the Conservatives with a majority of a mere 165 votes.

It was so close that Barwell’s Tory colleague Vidhi Mohan congratulated the winner “despite Labour having thrown huge resources” at the seat. The irony of Tories belly-aching over being confronted by a well-resourced campaign, when Barwell received donations from an exiled oil oligarch and Lynton Crosby’s business partner who is working on the sale of the NHS, might strike some as a little rich.

After a recount, Barwell polled 22,753 votes, to Labour’s Sarah Jones’s 22.588. As someone else put it, Barwell “clung on by the skin of his teeth”. The result represented a swing from the Tories to Labour of 2.75 per cent. Or in common parlance – not quite enough.

The full result can be found on the BBC website here.

“We’ve given it our all and we’ve come so close,” Jones said in a gracious speech at the much-delayed declaration.

“This was about fighting for a fairer Croydon, and not just for the privileged few,” she said, with a sense that that fight will have to continue against increasingly difficult circumstances, such as the £12 billion-worth of welfare cuts which Tories such as Barwell and the parliamentary new boy, Chris Philp, have promised to vote through.

Croydon Central resultsA facile campaign by UKIP didn’t help Jones – Peter Staveley placed third with just 9 per cent of the vote. But while there was no sign of a “Green surge”, Esther Sutton’s 1,454 votes  was not enough to save her deposit, and didn’t help in unseating the Tory MP, either.

“It’s the incumbency that saved him,” said Andrew Pelling, Barwell’s predecessor as the constituency’s MP. “He’s used his parliamentary office and its staff to assist his re-election for five years. I reckon that had Sarah Jones been up against a new Tory candidate, Labour would have won.

“My experience of the Croydon Central seat goes back to February 1974, and that was by far the biggest effort Labour have put into winning the seat.”

And that’s it from our live election report. We’ll be back later today…

6.20am UPDATE: It could be another five hours…

Gavin Barwell: getting his head in front

Gavin Barwell: getting his head in front. Just

Well, that was the word going round the foyer of the Fairfield Halls about the result of the tightly contested Croydon Central seat, as Jim Naughtie finished his overnight shift and handed over to his Radio 4 Today programme colleagues at 6am.

There had been a bundle recount, and the result between the two leading contenders, Gavin Barwell, the Conservative incumbent, and Labour’s Sarah Jones, was still very, very close. Labour asked for a full recount, and the election officials suggested that might not be possible – since they would need a new team of counters and that would all take another five hours.

It appears that they are getting close to a declaration, and as we reported an hour ago, it appears that Barwell will hold the seat, but by less than 200 votes.

Nathan Elvery, Croydon’s CEO and the returning officer, had predicted that all three counts would be complete and declared at 3am. Yeah, yeah, yeah…

THERE IS something here that deserves some serious thought about how we are served by our electoral system.

The national vote shares are thus:

CON 34%
LAB 34%
UKIP 12%
LIBDEM 8%
SNP 7%

Set aside the difference in the number of seats of the two leading parties: as it stands at the moment, UKIP, with almost twice as many votes as the Scots Nats, have one seat, the SNP 50-odd. Regardless of the politics of the parties in that example, that cannot be right for democracy in the 21st century.

5.45am UPDATE: Chris Philp holds Croydon South for the Conservatives with 31,448 votes – increasing the majority to 17,140.

It is looking increasingly likely that he will find himself in the first majority Tory government to be elected since 1992.

Emily Benn saw Labour finish second in the seat, as the LibDem vote collapsed – though the deposit was saved by a whole 1 per cent – as Gill Hickson finished behind UKIP’s Kathleen Garner.

The idea of an anarchist standing in a democratic election clearly did not catch-on with the residents of Purley and Coulsdon: Jon Bigger, the oxymoronic anarchist who had struggled to find even 10 people to nominate him, got 65 votes.

The full result can be found on the BBC website here.

Croydon South result

5.20am UPDATE: Croydon Central, which went to a recount, could come down to fewer than a couple of hundred votes, probably in favour of the incumbent Gavin Barwell. That’ll delight the Holmesdale Ultras at Selhurst Park…

The seat has a knack of being a close-run thing: in 2005 it was won by a mere 75 votes and October 1974 by 164.

Steve Reed: returned as MP for Croydon North

Steve Reed: returned as MP for Croydon North

Some people say the daftest things: “Unfortunately, tactical voting has hurt us again in this seat,” said Shasha Khan, the Green candidate who was fourth, behind UKIP, and lost his deposit. Tactical voting, Shasha? Really?

Some people say the daftest things (2): “Tonight Croydon North has voted for a change of Government. It’s not clear yet whether that’s what we’re going to get…,” said Steve Reed OBE, presumably after spending the previous seven hours in a darkened room without any access to TV, radio or the interweb, or being told quite how bad a night it has been for parties who have embraced austeritylite.

IT APPEARS that Tom Brake in neighbouring Carshalton and Wallington is the last remaining LibDem MP in London. Paul Scully, a Croydon-based businessman, won Sutton and Cheam for the Tories from Paul Burstow.

The details of the Sutton seats can be seen here.

4.45am UPDATE: Steve Reed OBE holds Croydon North for Labour, with a stonking majority of 21,000 votes. Tory Vidhi Mohan polled 12,000 votes, while Winston #Chump McKenzie was third with 2,899 votes – 300 ahead of Shasha Khan of the Greens.

The result of this utterly one-sided contest was declared nearly two hours later than planned. You can view it in full on the BBC website here.

Croydon North result

IN A NIGHT OF SURPRISES, yet another one. After senior LibDems Simon Hughes (Bermondsey), Vince Cable (Twickenham) and Paul Burstow (Sutton and Cheam) lost their seats, Nick Clegg, held his seat in Sheffield, before giving a speech in which he indicated fairly strongly that he is about to resign as party leader.

Who replaces him? Who cares? It could be a toss-up between Tim Farron and Tom Brake, who held on to his Carshalton and Wallington seat.

4.30am UPDATE: Croydon Central has gone to a recount, as we predicted it would in our final piece of polling analysis, which we published some 20 hours ago, here.

The recount involves just the top two – so no messing around working out margins for those trying to retain their deposits. This is the business end.

Nevertheless, it is now an hour and a half later than Nathan Elvery, the council CEO and returning officer, estimated that all results would be counted and declared. This, just a year after the local election count was soooo slow that school children were arriving for their lessons.

AND MORE bad news: Boris Johnson is an MP, once more. Which means he will be an even more part-time London Mayor than he has been for the past seven years.

3.30am UPDATE: Straws in the wind for Labour. Or for clutching at. But the Labour win from Conservatives of Ealing, by Rupa Huq – the sister of former Blue Peter presenter KonnieHuq – could, if repeated in Croydon Central, see Sarah Jones beat Gavin Barwell with a margin to spare.

Flashpoint: there was no holding Rupa Huq back when it came to winning Ealing votes

Flashpoint: there was no holding Rupa Huq back when it came to winning Ealing votes

Ealing was 57th on Labour’s target seat list, and had a swing of 5.7 per cent from the Tory Angie Bray, as the LibDem vote collapsed.

Huq was the Labour candidate who tried to confront London Mayor Boris Johnson last week when he was campaigning in the constituency, and a Tory goon man-handled her.

Elsewhere, Mitcham and Morden is a Labour hold, with a 3 per cent swing for Siobhain McDonagh.

THE 3am-3.30am  DECLARATION estimate for the Croydon seats is looking optimistic. But then, this is the same council team which last year took until mid-morning on the Friday to deliver results in the local elections.

But we do have the turn-out figures for all three seats – Croydon North was 62.5 per cent, up 2.2 per cent from 2010;  Croydon Central turnout 67.86 per cent, up 4.76 per cent on 2010; and Croydon South turnout was 70.45 per cent.

IN NEIGHBOURING constituency Streatham, where Steve Reed OBE used to live before he moved to his large house in Heathfield, Labour’s Chuka Umunna increased his majority with a 10 per cent swing. This is not thought to have anything to do with the presence on the ballot sheet of Artificial Beast, who was standing for the Cannabis is Safer Than Alcohol party.

And in Dulwich and West Norwood, Tessa Jowell’s old seat, Helen Hayes won the seat for Labour with a 7.5 per cent swing.

Those swings for Umunna and Hayes were both gross figures, and included votes from the LibDems. With Con-to-Lab swing, the vital metric for deciding Croydon Central, there was a 1.7 per cent swing to Umunna, while Hayes enjoyed a 3.5 per cent swing from the Tories.

Labour’s Wes Streeting winning Ilford North – a tougher call than Croydon Central with 6 per cent swing and a wafer-thin 589 majority – might suggest where we’re going tonight.

“It’s very close,” was the most expansive any Labour figure in the count at Fairfield Halls was prepared to say.

2am UPDATE: This is all beginning to look a lot like 1983. And Cameron hasn’t even had the benefit of a victory parade after defending a bit of rock in the South Atlantic to boost his popularity.

UKIP candidate Peter Staveley, with Croydon Central Tory Gavin Barwell: a Blukip outcome

UKIP candidate Peter Staveley, left, with Croydon Central Tory Gavin Barwell: a Blukip outcome

“How can you call this a success,” the BBC’s Andrew Neil barked at senior Labour figure Tristram Hunt, “when you’re going to end up with fewer seats than Gordon Brown won in 2010?”

What appears to have confounded the pollsters more than anything is not necessarily the performance of the two largest parties. No, it’s the performance of the three other, increasingly significant, groups – LibDems (how badly they collapse and where their votes have gone), UKIP and the nationalists. The duopoly which controlled British politics for a century until 2010 appears broken.

With a drip-drip of results from Wandsworth, through Putney and Battersea (both Tory holds with only a modest swing towards Labour) and Tooting, the outcome of Croydon Central is increasingly looking like a Tory hold, and a Conservative hold thanks to the tacit help of UKIP’s Peter Staveley for not contesting the seat properly, as was first reported by Inside Croydon.

With UKIP, outside London, and Thanet, experiencing double-digit increases in their vote share, this has tended to take votes from the Conservatives. But in the London seats, that has not happened.

And those disappearing LibDem voters? It appears that in the gentrified bits of south-west London, they have not all been moving en masse to Labour.

None of which is good news for Sarah Jones if those trends are repeated in Croydon Central.

WE REFER you to the list of Labour target seats we mentioned some time yesterday. A 3per cent swing away from Labour to the Conservatives in Nuneaton – declared just before 2am – will encourage Croydon Central Tory Gavin Barwell. Nuneaton was 38th on the list of Labour target seats, where they required a 4.6 per cent swing to overturn a 2,000-vote majority. Croydon Central is 47th on that list, with a tougher swing required of 5.8 per cent.

With more results such as Nuneaton, the Tories could achieve an overall majority of parliamentary seats for the first time since 1992.

“Something very strange has happened in the last 24 hours,” is Andrew Marr’s assessment of how the Conservatives have managed to deliver such strong results.

Sadiq Khan: sounded gloomy when returned as Tooting MP

Sadiq Khan: sounded gloomy when returned as Tooting MP

QUESTION: Why is another south London borough, such as Wandsworth, able to handle three constituency counts and deliver the results all before 1.30am, when in Croydon, the count for Croydon Central was barely beginning at that time?

THE LOOK ON Sadiq Khan’s face as he delivered his acceptance speech in Tooting suggested the sort of depressing realisation that is spreading among Labour’s high command.

If Labour is not in Government, then Khan seems likely to put himself forward to be his party’s candidate for London Mayor next year. He has long been regarded as Ed Miliband’s chosen candidate – though whether Ed Miliband will have any say in the matter remains to be seen.

FRI 1am UPDATE: Across the borough boundary in Sutton, and former ConDem junior minister Paul Burstow looks like he might lose his seat to the Tories’ Paul Scully, while the BBC is also predicting, based on its exit poll, that Tom Brake could lose Carshalton and Wallington to the Conservatives, too.

LibDems That's All FolksWith the Editor of The Sun having invented a new verb tonight, “to caveat”, the exit polls results are being handled with great suspicion by all and sundry, with Lord Ashcroft, the poll-meister, Tory grandee and Gavin Barwell’s former boss, telling LBC that there’s “no way the result will reflect the broadcasters’ exit poll”.

But going by that “caveated” exit poll, Barwell will remain MP for Croydon Central, according to the BBC. Ashcroft’s own exit poll predicts:

CON – 34%
LAB – 31%
UKIP – 14%
LIBDEM – 9%
GRN – 7%

In the absence of any real hard evidence – multiple declared results – what everyone can agree upon is that the LibDems are going to have a very bad night.

Four results in, four lost deposits – a candidate needs to get 5 per cent of the vote to retain their £500 fee – and there’s already a new Twitter @LibDemDeposits account, as Nick Clegg’s party is paying the price for propping up a Conservative government for five years.  They could be another £1,500 out of pocket after the three Croydon results are in.

And under the BBC’s exit poll, Burstow loses Sutton and Cheam to the Conservatives, and Tory Matthew Maxwell Scott – one of the candidates that has called for the Beddington incinerator deal to be reviewed – wins Carshalton and Wallington.

The latter outcome seems one of the more unlikely results, but the Sutton Guardian was reporting Conservative activists saying that Burstow’s Sutton and Cheam result is “very tight”, while a Labour source was saying that Scully is “on pace” to win the seat from the LibDems. The Sutton Guardian tweeted a Labour source as saying that Scully was “doing very well followed by LibDem, Lab and UKIP close and not much for others.” There are others?

Vidhi Mohan: barely bothered to contest Croydon North

Vidhi Mohan: barely bothered to contest Croydon North

THERE WON’T BE any change in Croydon North. The Tories’ Vidhi Mohan conceded defeat to Labour incumbent Steve Reed OBE before midnight. Had they actually started to count any votes by then?

Mohan was never more than a token, paper candidate in Reed’s Lambeth South seat.

Which sort of raises the question: why bother at all if you’re not actually going to contest the election properly. The same might be said of Labour’s feeble effort in Croydon South, where campaigning by activists was ended at 11am on Thursday, as they were moved on to the Croydon Central battleground.

It seems a contemptuous way to treat their parties’ supporters in those seats.

THE FIRST DECLARED London result of the night was in Putney, where Justine Greening was returned for the Tories, increasing her majority slightly despite a small swing to Labour. The other three parties – LibDems, Greens and UKIP – were all a long way adrift. And despite another collapse in their vote share, the LibDems, for the first time tonight, retained their deposit. Just.

AS THE RE-POSITIONING over those exit polls continues, Peter Kellner, on the BBC, says that he thinks it is looking like the LibDems will finish with fewer than 20 seats – with Danny Alexander being among the casualties – but that the Tories will have more than 300 MPs.

ONE THING THAT can be said is that there can be few more elegant venues for a count than the Braithwaite Hall, where the Croydon South totting-up process is going on.

The drill is that once the count is completed, the candidates will trot over to the Fairfield Halls for the declaration, which may be as early as 2am.

Braithwaite Hall, scene of the Croydon South count

Braithwaite Hall, scene of the Croydon South count

MIDNIGHT UPDATE: Chris Philp, probably about two hours from being formally declared as the new MP for Croydon South, described the Ipsos/MORI exit polls (see below under 10pm) as “a pleasant surprise”.

It's a stroll: none of the sprinting and scurrying as the ballot boxes arrive at the Fairfield Halls for the Croydon count tonight

It’s a stroll: none of the sprinting and scurrying as the ballot boxes arrive at the Fairfield Halls for the Croydon count tonight

The Conservative candidate, who inherits a 15,000 majority from his predecessor, refused to be drawn on the possible majority he might enjoy. “I would be happy with any majority over one,” he told Inside Croydon.

“The exit polls were a pleasant surprise, although the postal votes in some seats that I had spoken to were looking strong last week.

“I got a good feeling around Croydon South today, with warm wishes from Purley station this morning to Coulsdon this evening.”

THE FIRST RESULT of the night was the Labour hold in Sunderland, where Bridget Phillipson increased her vote share by 4.8 per cent, while the Tories finished third behind UKIP, and were down by 3 per cent. The LibDems didn’t only lose their deposit; they didn’t even get 800 votes.

Next in was Sunderland Central, another strong Labour hold – as you’d expect in north-east England – and again, there were big gains in the vote (but no cigar) for UKIP.

Julie Elliott increased Labour’s vote by 4.3 per cent. UKIP’s vote was up by 16.6 per cent as they placed third, while the defeated Tories were down 6.7 per cent. It was another lost 500 quid for Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats.

Washington and Sunderland West was a Labour hold for Sharon Hodgson, UKIP were up by 16 per cent on their 2010 result to beat the Tory candidate, the gloriously named Bob Dhillon (yep), into third place, and the bottom fell out of the LibDems’ vote. Again.

What does that all mean for Croydon Central, where Labour’s Sarah Jones would need a 5.8 per cent swing to win the seat from Gavin Barwell? Maybe not a great deal: UKIP will always play much stronger in northern England than in London.

Sorry, but that’s the way things are rolling at the moment.

No one’s yet mentioned the 1922 General Election result, when David Lloyd George’s Liberals lost more than 70 seats after they had been in coalition with the Tories. In those days, Paddy, gentlemen tended to wear homburgs, while peers wore top hats.

Farewell to Westminster dream? Is Winston McKenzie about to bid goodbye to his distant hope of running for parliament?

Is Winston McKenzie’s political career about to outlast NIgel Farage?

The big stories breaking before midnight were that Ed Balls, Labour’s shadow chancellor, might lose his seat in Yorkshire (“You should spend more time reporting actual results,” was Balls response), that George Galloway could lose Bradford West to Labour, and that in South Thanet, Nigel Farage, could end up finishing only third, as the Tories and Labour have wellied in with gusto to keep the UKIP leader out of the Commons.

If that is true, then Farage has said he will quit as UKIP leader.

And that does have consequences for politics in Croydon, because it will mean Winston McKenzie’s political career will probably last longer than the man he compared to Jesus Christ.

hat10.40pm UPDATE: Paddy Ashdown tells the BBC, “I’ll eat my hat” if the broadcasters’ exit poll, predicting carnage for the LibDems, proves accurate.

Hot on the heels of the BBC/ITV exit poll – which the broadcasters were ladeling caveats all over – was a YouGov exit poll which suggests:

CON 284
LAB 263
LIBDEM 32
SNP 48

Electoral Calculus – who were closest to the final result in 2010 – has exit-polled:

CON 280
LAB 274
LIBDEM 21
SNP 52

Both, as Peter Kellner of YouGov was keen to reflect, appear closer to some of the pre-election polling which, for months, had Labour and the Conservatives neck-and-neck all the way.

As Labour’s Harriet Harman said: we’ll know the real result soon enough.

10pm UPDATE: And that’s it. The BBC exit poll says:

Conservatives will be the largest party, with 316 seats, up 9 from 2010.

Labour to have 239 seats, down 19 seats since the last election.

The LibDems will lose 47 seats – holding just 10 seats. That’s the coalition calculation.

And the SNP to win 58 seats in Scotland.

ITN is reporting the same exit poll.

And Michael Gove says that, “This is a success for David Cameron and a vindication for Conservative policies.”

The first real results are expected at around 10.40pm, from superfast Sunderland. Will be about the only thing they’ve won this season (that’s a football-themed joke, Gav).

PROBLEMS FOR THE “team” up from Redhill for the day from the Sadvertiser (average weekly sale in 2014: 8,000) as they were kicked out of the Fairfield Halls at 9pm and told they wouldn’t be allowed back until 11pm. And they wouldn’t get access to the Croydon Central count itself at all.

So off they went, scurrying to a nearby pub to find a wifi signal.

Meanwhile, inside the Croydon Central count…

Croydon Central countOf course, had the local journalists checked the rules of engagement with the council beforehand, such inconveniences would have been avoided.

As was achieved here at Inside Croydon Towers, as we wait, patiently, for our assorted correspondents to check-in. We hope…

Cup cakes9.30pm UPDATE: Thanks to a former colleague, Andrew Ellson at The Times (@andrewellson) for the picture above… Surely the most tasteless selection of cup cakes in the history of mankind?

CLOSER TO HOME: Neat observation on Twitter by Kenley resident Paul Williams:

“So I love that Tory candidate in my #Croydon constituency has FOUR forenames and that there’s a Class War candidate #BackToThe80s!”

Williams is referring to Croydon South’s soon-to-be Tory MP, Chris Ian Brian Mynott (Mynott?) Philp.

He overlooked The Hon Emily Sophia Wedgwood Benn. But then the Labour candidate is sort of overlooking her Croydon South constituency (see 8.30pm below).

WHAT’S IN A NAME? Well, according to a piece in tonight’s Evening Boris, any candidate with a surname at the beginning of the alphabet has a better chance of winning. So Benn – who would never dream of trading on her grandfather’s name, oh no – is better off than Philp. And Barwell’s better positioned than Jones.

How so? Well according to LSE pointy head Tony Travers, Londoners are just so bloody lazy when they go in to a voting booth, they’re highly likely to stick their X in the box at the top of the list of names and get out of there as quickly as they can.

“A name that begins with a letter early in the alphabet will, in some marginal constituencies, affect the result and could even determine the winner,” Travers said.

So that’s it then: Barwell wins! Unless the woman from TUSC (not an animal charity) does.

For it is written...

For it is written…

In related news, Inside Croydon can reveal that Croydon Council leader Tony Newman is to change his name by deed poll to Anthony Aardvark-Newman, just to be on the ssafe side.

MEANWHILE, ONE OF Philp’s most fervant supporters, Anne Piles, is back on Twitter, despite her promise to quit it after she got caught using racist language on social media.

Piles, a Croydon Conservatives executive committee member, appears to have escaped any sanction from her party over her racist tweet about travellers, which she justified publicly by using the “N” word.

Now she’s a bit miffed that someone has been highlighting her tweets. Like she’s embarrassed that someone has caught her out. She calls them a “Judas”. So that would make her…?

Anne Piles' latest tweeted justification

Anne Piles’ latest tweeted justification

How do you twist the meaning of someone’s use of the “N” word?

8.30pm UPDATE: Is Eddie Izzard Labour’s secret weapon?

The “lesbian in a man’s body” (not that that’s the most important thing about him) actor and comedian is back in Croydon Central to “get out the vote”, or GOTV as the activists like to jargonise it.

Here’s photographic proof, with Labour’s Croydon Central candidate Sarah Jones in the red coat next to Izzard, and all courtesy of LabourList:

Eddie Izzard on election nightConsidering Izzard’s close connections with Crystal Palace football club, what’s the chances he’ll be reminding wavering voters about gaffe-prone Gavin Barwell’s latest bogus claim, that the erstwhile Tory MP for the Whitgift Foundation played no real part in saving the club from administration?

Campaign selfies with celebrity supporters have been “the thing” this election. More important, it seems, than policy. We’ll soon find out whether having Izzard, Stephen Hawking, Delia Smith and Steve Coogan on your side is better for a political party than Jim Davidson, Katie Hopkins and Tom Conti… Actually, the latter might work well in Croydon: sounds like the average Saturday night line-up at the Fairfield Halls.

But these pictures do sometimes reveal a truth about a campaign. Certainly the Izzard picture tells everyone all they need to know about the Labour campaign in the neighbouring constituency of Croydon South. There isn’t one worthy of the name.

For there in the picture from this evening’s canvassing, poking her head in to the frame on the left-hand side, is The Hon Emily Benn. She’s supposed to be a candidate in another seat.

She looks a bit livelier than when pictured yesterday (see under 5.30pm below). But she’s not campaigning to try to win as many possible votes in Croydon South.

Or does she think she’ll win by a landslide?

7.30pm UPDATE: We’re hoping to offer some coverage from across the borough boundary in Sutton tonight, too, not least because the outcome in Sutton and Cheam – held by LibDem Paul Burstow – looks a lot more interesting than anything that will be coming out of Croydon South or North.

The scene in Sutton in the past hour. Exciting, huh?

The scene in Sutton in the past hour. Exciting, huh?

Burstow’s challenge is coming from Croydon-based businessman – and mate of Gavin Barwell – Paul Scully.

We’ve heard the suggestion that some Croydon Tory activists have, in the last couple of days, been diverted from canvassing in Croydon Central, to help out in Sutton.

This would be remarkable in any case, because the Conservative “machine” in Croydon has been showing some signs of creaking for lack of “boots on the ground”. Has Scully used his influence to get backing in his constituency? Or are Croydon Tories so confident of success that they can spare a handful of foot soldiers for the Sutton and Cheam battle?

Sutton Tories have just tweeted:

London has landed in Sutton & Cheam to win votes for

MEANWHILE, UNFORTUNATE misplacements of campaign material continues to provide election humour. Well, it amused Ashburton Labour councillor Stephen Mann:

Clearance sale Tories

Croydon polling station6.30pm UPDATE: As people return home from work, for many party activists tasked with “getting out the vote”, we’re heading into the business-end of the day.

Poling stations are open until 10pm, and to avoid the confusion which occurred at some Croydon polling stations five years ago, there’s some clear signs visible today at Croydon’s polling stations that undertake that anyone who is in a polling station, or in the queue outside, will get the opportunity to exercise their democratic right.

That’s an important improvement on 2010, when dozens of voters were denied their votes because the council staff manning some polling stations could not handle the late rush.

Nevertheless, the advice from Croydon Council is to vote sooner rather than later, and not to leave it to the last minute.

LABOURLIST has reported in the last hour that a Londonbased Ladbrokes customer has backed Labour for most seats placing £50,000 on at 4/1. “Does this big spender know something we don’t?” the Labour-supporting site asks.

Meanwhile, the odds are now 10/11 for both Miliband or Cameron to be Prime Minister.

ANOTHER TWEET from Croydon Tories’ executive committee member Anne Piles, the Argentinian model (so she says) who thinks nothing of using social media to spout racist language. We reported the latest twist in that story here.

She had promised to leave Twitter. But she clearly can’t stop herself.

She has, though, changed her avatar pic.

Anne Giles isn't counting her chickens exactly

Anne Giles isn’t counting her chickens exactly

5.30pm UPDATE: The election has been an exhausting affair, and not just for the poor bloody electorate who have had to endure the political classes’ pleadings for, in the case of Bogus Barwell, nine months.

But you have to have some sympathy for The Hon Emily Benn, Labour’s candidate in Croydon South, pictured yesterday clearly suffering the strain.

It's been an exhausting campaign for many, especially the Hon Emily Benn, Labour's Croydon South candidate. The council's fly-tipping team has been notified

Just the sort of picture which even a candidate without any political nous would avoid having posted on Facebook

It is understood that the council’s fly-tipping team has been notified.

BENN’S FELLOW Labour candidate, Sarah Jones, really does have her work cut-out if she is to prise Bogus Barwell from the Croydon Central seat.

UKPollingReport has a tremendous table – it’s election day, we all need a chart and a table or three – which shows Labour’s target seats in order of “winnability”.

You can see the chart here.

Croydon Central is only the 47th most “winnable” Labour target seat, and would require a swing from the Conservatives, compared to 2010, of 5.8 per cent.

Why is this of interest? Well, in the hours before the Croydon Central result is declared, we should get a sense from elsewhere around the country whether there has really been a sufficient shift in support from the Tories to see the seat change hands.

JONES’S ELECTION AGENT may need to exercise a little more caution, however.

Their campaign wagon, plastered in posters and with someone using some old school broadcasting technology to get their message across, was seen driving past the polling station at Ryelands.

@LunaArcher tweeted:

#CroydonLabour NAUGHTY NAUGHTY, driving poster covered van + loudspeaker ‘Vote for #SarahJones’  past #Ryelands Polling Station. NOT ALLOWED!

They added: “flouts Electoral Commission guidance for Candidates & Agents, Part 4 of 6 ‘The Campaign’ tut tut tut.”

CROHAM VALLEY ROAD (see under 4pm below, and David Callam’s comment) is not alone in Croydon in having a bijou/quaint polling station.

In Croydon Central, Fieldway’s voters have to cast their ballots in a Portakabin-style temporary trailer placed in a car park. No fridges or freezers in the way, though.

Polling station in Fieldway. Hard hats are not required

Polling station in Fieldway. Hard hats are not required

Thu 4pm: Six hours left to cast your vote if you haven’t done so already.

There’s been reports elsewhere of polling stations in pubs, a laundrette, or on a school bus. But if you’re a Croydon South constituent down in Selsdon and Ballards, then you may have had the “pleasure” of visiting one of the country’s more eccentric polling stations, in the garage of a private semi-detached house.

Polling stations, suburban Croydon style, in Croham Valley Road today

Polling stations, suburban Croydon style, in Croham Valley Road today

Quaint is probably the word for it. There are no available public buildings in the voting district that would offer a more appropriate polling station.

Once inside the garage, we’re informed, there’s little more than four feet between the clerks’ desk and the polling booth for voters, as they slide past the fridge and freezer.

What is noticeable is the absence of any tellers from any of the parties. This was observed not only in deepest Croham Valley, but at other polling stations in Croydon South.

Tellers are those (often annoying) be-rosetted types, who want to poke their noses into your business and discover who you are and who you’ve voted for. You don’t have to them them nuffink. Although if you do, it may avoid you being “knocked-up” later in the day as activists trawl round to get the vote out.

The mystery of the missing tellers may be easily explained: Croydon South is regarded as such a foregone conclusion by Tories and Labour that no amount of totting up will make any difference, and all the parties’ manpower has been directed across the constituency boundary into Croydon Central.

THE POLLSTERS’ work is pretty much done now, at least until the first exit polls at 10pm.

But a couple have conducted on-the-morning phone polls that show strong shifts nationally to the two main parties, and in particular to Labour. John Braggins, Inside Croydon‘s polling analyst these past couple of weeks, suggests that this is a common trend.

Ipsos-MORI poll
CON – 36% (+1)
LAB – 35% (+5)
UKIP – 11% (+1)
LIBDEM – 8% (-)
GRN – 5% (-3)

Ashcroft poll
CON – 33% (+1)
LAB – 33% (+3)
UKIP – 11% (-1)
LIBDEM – 10% (-1)
GRN – 6% (-1)

Frankly, at this stage, you might as well wait until the real results, from people marking pieces of paper with a big X, finally come in.

UKIP candidate, or the creation of a ridiculous parody?

UKIP candidate, or the creation of a ridiculous parody?

AND THANKS to @mrdaveturner on Twitter for reminding us all that when Richard Curtis and Ben Elton wrote Blackadder, and specifically their episode about the elections to the rotten boroughs of the Regency period, they appear to have predicted the creation ofUKIP, with their Standing at the Back Dressed Stupidly and Looking Stupid Party.

Given UKIP’s abandonment of even the pretence of any proper campaigning in Croydon Central, to the obvious benefit of Gavin Barwell, might this image be more Peter Staveley later tonight than Winston McKenzie?

  • If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, a residents’ or business association or local event, please email us with full details at inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
This entry was posted in 2015 General Election, Chris Philp MP, Croydon Central, Croydon North, Croydon South, Esther Sutton, Gavin Barwell, Gill Hickson, Jon Bigger, Kathleen Garner, Nathan Elvery, Peter Staveley, Peter Underwood, Sarah Jones MP, Shasha Khan, Steve Reed MP, Winston McKenzie and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to VOTE 2015: Live coverage of Croydon’s General Election

  1. davidcallam says:

    Many years ago I knew the man who was the regular presiding officer in your featured polling station. He said it was a good billet for him and his poll clerk as they were well and regularly fed and watered by the owners of the property.
    The worst polling station I ever worked in was an abandoned rent office on Whitehorse Road. The council’s housing department declined to remove boarding from the windows just for one day’s use.

  2. derekthrower says:

    So Trinity School has lost the role of carrying out the election count. Any explanation for this turn around in affairs?

    • Pressure was brought to bear through public scrutiny. And the Tories don’t run the council any longer.

    • Rod Davies says:

      I guess cost was the overriding reason. Trinity School is primarily a commercial operation after all is said and done, and it’s expensive to hire.
      But operationally Trinity School is generally better, but in terms of PR being away from the civic centre doesn’t look so good.

  3. mraemiller says:

    “A facile campaign by UKIP didn’t help Jones – Peter Staveley placed third with just 9 per cent of the vote”. It’s four times what they got last time.

    • “Last time” was the 2014 local elections, when UKIP’s vote share in Croydon Central was almost twice what they polled yesterday.

      • mraemiller says:

        I meant last General Election. Nit pick all you like but talking down UKIP wont make them go away… and neither is talking them down talking them up. It just is how it is.

        • It is not nit-picking to compare yesterday’s vote share with the vote share which UKIP enjoyed just 12 months ago, rather than five years ago. Last year – when European elections were held simultaneously – may prove to be the high-water mark. UKIP without Farage might not be the same proposition at all. UKIP without the over-exposure on broadcast media certainly won’t thrive as much.

          But no political party in history has ever improved its vote by not campaigning, and that’s exactly what Peter Staveley did in Croydon Central.

          • mraemiller says:

            Well a bloke called Matt Hardwick contacted me on twitter to say he’d had more contact from UKIP than Gavin Barwell so someone’s campaigning for them…? Maybe it’s a lone ranger. General Elections cant be compared with local elections. The first are elections toa legilature. Local government does not pass legislation…thankfully. People will take a punt in local elections more easily than at the national ones…

  4. mraemiller says:

    Ah Boris … I saw the new leader of the “Eccentric Party” on the platform next to Boris this morning and I have to say it was difficult to tell the difference.

    Lord Toby Jug used to be a loony candidate but it seems there was schism in the Monster Raving Loony Party and Jug has been expelled by UKIP funded Alan “Howling Laud” the “leader” of the Loonies in 2014 for “his continued personal attacks on members of the party and on other groups” and because being at the cutting edge of satire as the loonies always are …Hope actually said that “We are not in the game of upsetting people.” and complained “It is about the fourth time we have asked him to leave the party. He seems to have gone off at a tangent. He just seems to do things he wants to do without having any regard for anything else.” Imagine… what are loony candidates coming to?

    Still a great result in Croydon Central.

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