ELECTION LIVE BLOG: Our Croydon exit poll showed Labour 50%, Tories 37%… But keep coming back here through the night for ward-by-ward results and election news from across Croydon, Sutton and the rest of London
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6.32am UPDATE: Croydon results: Crystal Palace and Upper Norwood.
Nina Degrads becomes a new councillor, with Stephen Mann and Pat Ryan returned for Labour as the last ward is declared.
After all that, the lengthy boundary review and a two-month election campaign, it means that Labour has one seat more, the Tories one councillor fewer, than they had in 2014.And to think I stayed up all night for that…
CROYDON COUNTER: Tory 29, Labour 41
We’ll return with in-depth analysis and comment later today. But for now, after eight and half hours, in the words of Bugs Bunny, that’s all folks…
6.30am UPDATE: Croydon results: Thornton Heath.
Pat Clouder, Karen Jewitt and Callton Young hold this Labour heartland ward.
CROYDON COUNTER: Tory 29, Labour 38
6.10am UPDATE: Croydon results: Addiscombe East.
And here, at long last, comes one of the battleground results, from what used to be Ashburton ward, now Addiscombe East, and it sees Labour lose a seat as the result is split with the Tories.
Jeet Bains, having been bumped out of his previous, more secure Tory ward, will return to the council alongside Maddie Henson.
Newman’s Labour campaign had poured resources into this ward relentlessly since the new year, yet erstwhile Momentum big cheese Caragh Skipper clearly failed to appeal to enough voters.
Well, eight voters, because that is how many votes she trailed Bains by, in a poll with a 46 per cent turn-out.
This represents a real snub to Newman, and something of an embarrassment. While Labour results elsewhere, across London and the nation, have been “mixed”, lacking some of the Corbynmania spark of last year’s General Election, in Croydon early reactions suggest a more serious under-performance.
Gavin Barwell, the Prime Minister’s chief of staff and author of How To Lose A Marginal Seat, stepped in to concede defeat for the Conservatives on behalf of the local group leader, Tim Pollard, when he tweeted at around 6am: “Depressing we’re stuck with a poor Labour Council for four more years but impressive result for Tim Pollard and team given London polls.”
CROYDON COUNTER: Tory 29, Labour 35
5.55am UPDATE: Croydon results: Waddon.
This was where the Tories put in considerable effort to win the ward back, after Labour snatched it four years ago. Chris Philp, the Tory MP for Croydon South, was clearly keen to have his constituency all blue once more.
But the sound and hard-working councillors Joy Prince, Robert Canning and Andrew Pelling appear to have won over their residents, with a good tally of votes.
And when Labour win Waddon, they win the council.
CROYDON COUNTER: Tory 28, Labour 34
5.50am UPDATE: Croydon results: Addiscombe West.
What was once rock-solid Tory territory now looks like a safe Labour ward, despite former councillor Mark Watson’s dodgy one-way system around Lebanon Road. It wasn’t even close.
Sean Fitzsimons, Patricia Hay-Justice are re-elected, while Jerry Fitzpatrick will bring a much-needed legal expertise to the Town Hall chamber as he returns to the council.
CROYDON COUNTER: Tory 28, Labour 31
5.45am UPDATE: Croydon results: Purley Oaks and Riddlesdown.
After four years off the council, Simon Hoar returns to the Town Hall alongside Conservative newcomer, Helen Redfern.
CROYDON COUNTER: Tory 28, Labour 28
It’s fair to say that, intentionally or not, and after 53 or the 70 seats have been declared, the counting staff have saved some of the more interesting, battleground wards, to last…
5.41am UPDATE: Croydon results: Purley and Woodcote.
Tories retain all three seats, through Simon Brew, Oni Oviri and Badsha Quadir, as the former Tory, Donald Speakman, standing as an independent, attracted just 379 votes.
CROYDON COUNTER: Tory 26, Labour 28
5.38am UPDATE: Croydon results: West Thornton.
Stuart King, Bernadette Khan and Janet Campbell are elected for Labour.
CROYDON COUNTER: Tory 23, Labour 28
5.35am UPDATE: Croydon result: South Norwood.
It’s a return to the council for Clive Fraser, who is tipped to be Tony Newman’s new chief whip, together with Jane Avis and former aide to Jeremy Corbyn, Patsy Cummings.
CROYDON COUNTER: Tory 23, Labour 25
5.32am UPDATE: Croydon result: Coulsdon Town.
It’s daylight now, but the count still goes on…
Luke Clancy, Downing Street SPAD Mario Creatura and local election agent Ian Parker take Coulsdon Town.
CROYDON COUNTER: Tory 23, Labour 22
5.30am UPDATE: Croydon result: Broad Green.
Labour’s Muhammad Ali, Stuart Collins and Manju Shahul-Hameed are elected.
CROYDON COUNTER: Tory 20, Labour 22
5.25am UPDATE: Croydon result: Bensham Manor.
Jamie Audsley, Alison Butler and Humayun Kabir elected for Labour.
CROYDON COUNTER: Tory 20, Labour 19
5.20am UPDATE: Croydon result: South Croydon
The old Croham ward, stripped of some Tory-voting areas and with bits of old Fairfield ward tacked on. At the 2017 General Election, Labour got more votes than the Tories in South Croydon, but tonight it is a Tory hold for Maria Gatland, Michael Neal and Jason Perry.
CROYDON COUNTER: Tory 20, Labour 16
5.15am UPDATE: Croydon result: Woodside.
Hamida Ali, Tony Newman and his mate Paul Scott elected for Labour in a ward where the turnout was less than 35 per cent. In his acceptance speech, Newman spoke of Labour’s positive campaign and also said, “I’m proud to have delivered genuinely affordable housing for Croydon residents.”
Since 2014, Croydon Council has built precisely zero council homes.
CROYDON COUNTER: Tory 17, Labour 16
5.05am UPDATE: Croydon result: Shirley South.
Controversy at the count, where after a recount was called for Shirley South, some 500 votes were “found”, having previously been wrongly allocated by the returning officer and her staff.
Labour candidate Marzia Nicodemi-Ehikioya told Inside Croydon, “This is a mess. The Tories were all in meltdown.”
So Tory deputy leader Jason Cummings and Scott Roche are elected for the Tories.
CROYDON COUNTER: Tory 17, Labour 13
That’s 30 declarations out of 70. While the council officials in Westminster and Wandsworth are packing up and going home, having declared all their ward votes, here in Croydon, under Jo Negrini’s supervision, we’ve got some work still to be done.
4.55am UPDATE: Croydon result: Fairfield.
The town centre ward, where the three sitting Tory councillors either scarpered to safer territories (Mohan and Helen Pollard) or retired is a Labour gain with Mary Croos, Chris Clark and Niro Sirisena being elected.
CROYDON COUNTER: Tory 15, Labour 13
Here’s a handy ready reckoner to demonstrate the standings (and we’re not halfway through yet). Returning officer Jo Negrini appears to think Labour’s colour is orange…
4.40am UPDATE: Croydon result: Selsdon and Addington Village.
Selsdon and Addington Village ward results are in, with Helen Pollard elected for her third different ward in three elections and Robert Ward returned for the Tories.
CROYDON COUNTER: Tory 15, Labour 10
4.38am UPDATE: Croydon result: Sanderstead.
Sanderstead ward has been declared for Tory big-hitters Lynne Hale, Yvette Hopley and Tim Pollard (CON).
CROYDON COUNTER: Tory 13, Labour 10
4.35am UPDATE: Croydon result: Norbury and Pollards Hill.
Shafi Khan and Maggie Mansell returned to the council for this re-configured ward.
CROYDON COUNTER: Tory 10, Labour 10
4.30am UPDATE: Croydon result: Old Coulsdon.
Margaret Bird and Steven Hollands have been elected for the Tories.
And news is filtering in that Labour may have lost a seat in Addiscombe East (what was previously Ashburton). Given the amount of resource and effort which was directed at these two wards, it is hardly a ringing endorsement of Newman’s four-year-old “Ambitious” campaign.
“It’s all hugs and tears with a furious Paul Scott pacing up and down furiously behind them,” according to our source at the count.
CROYDON COUNTER: Tory 10, Labour 8
4.25am UPDATE: Croydon result: Shirley North.
Labour’s big push for Shirley North (see 0.25am UPDATE below) has come to nought, as the Conservatives Sue Bennett, Richard Chatterjee and Gareth “Blubber” Streeter have been elected.
CROYDON COUNTER: Tory 8, Labour 8
4.18am UPDATE: Croydon result: Norbury Park.
Sherwan Chowdhury and Alisa Flemming take Norbury Park ward for Labour.
CROYDON COUNTER: Tory 5, Labour 8
4.15am UPDATE: Croydon result: Kenley.
The results are coming through thick and fast now from Trinity School… Jan Buttinger and “Silent” Steve O’Connell are re-elected for the Tories.
CROYDON COUNTER: Tory 5, Labour 6
4.10am UPDATE: Independents in shock Sutton Council ward win.
Ruth Dombey, the Sutton council leader, may have clung on to her own seat, but her worst nightmare has come to pass: Nick Mattey, the anti-incinerator campaigner who she had kicked out of the Liberal Democrats for telling the truth, has retained his Beddington North ward.
What’s more, two colleagues recruited by Mattey as independents to stand in the ward, have also been elected.
A clearly elated Mattey said, “This victory sends out a message to any council thinking of having an incinerator that the ;public will take revenge at the ballot box.”
Overall, the LibDems lost 12 seats but have retained control of Sutton Council, with 31 seats, to 20 Conservative – a gain of nine seats – and the three independents.
In Nonsuch ward, the count was tied for the third council seat, and it was resolved with the toss of a coin, which sees Conservative James McDermott join two LibDems on the council.
Speaking to the BBC, Carshalton and Wallington LibDem MP Tom Brake said, “It’s been a tough election for us, it’s a council we’ve controlled… ” note that, “… and run, I think very effectively, since 1986 so when you’ve run the council for that long and you have a new waste contractor who doesn’t deliver a particularly high level of service, then that’s something that can hurt.”
So it’s all Veolia’s fault, then…
3.35am UPDATE: Croydon result: Selsdon Vale and Forestdale.
Croydon gets another new councillor, as Stuart Millson is elected for the Tories alongside Andy Stranack in a the new ward of Selsdon Vale and Forestdale.
CROYDON COUNTER: Tory 3, Labour 6
Meanwhile, there’s a recount going on in Shirley South. And the recount was requested by the Conservatives, which might suggest there’s a shock on the cards.
Shirley South is was supposed to be true blue territory, so much so that Newman’s Croydon Labour group barely bothered to campaign there. Local community worker Marzia Nicodemi-Ehikioya nonetheless produced her own leaflets, and her long-term work in the area – she was a candidate four years ago – appears to have given her sufficient recognition among voters that it is a very close-run thing.
3.30am UPDATE: Croydon result: Selhurst.
A smaller ward than in 2014, now just two seats, and a hold for Labour’s Toni Letts and David Wood, by a notably stonking 1,000-vote margin.
CROYDON COUNTER: Tory 1, Labour 6
3.25am UPDATE: Croydon result: New Addington South.
It is not only in Sutton where some senior council figures are getting twitchy over whether they will be back on the gravy train come Tuesday morning…
There were rumours from the count at Trinity School earlier that cabinet member Louisa Woodley might lose her seat in New Addington South (what was previously the more elegantly named New Addington ward).
In the end, Woodley was returned by a narrow margin of 172 votes ahead of former councillor Tony Pearson.
Woodley and “Head Boy” Oliver Lewis are both expected to be in Tony Newman’s cabinet come next week.
Somewhat pleasingly, the good people of New Addington seemed entirely disinterested in the far-right offerings of UKIP and the BNP: they polled fewer than 400 votes between three candidates.
CROYDON COUNTER: Tory 1, Labour 4
3.15am UPDATE: Ruth Dombey, the controversial leader of Sutton’s Liberal Democrat-run council, has held her seat in Sutton North – but only by little more than 200 votes.
However, the LibDems are losing seats elsewhere, as Simon Wales, Dombey’s deputy leader, and cabinet member Wendy Mathys both lost in Sutton West.
The Tories have also won all three seats in Cheam, ousting Mary Burstow, the wife of the area’s former MP, and they also gained three seats in Stonecot ward.
It’s too early to call the final balance of power on the council, which may end up NOC – no overall control. There are some at the count suggesting that Nick Mattey’s slate of three independent candidates may have won all three seats in Beddington North.
3.00am UPDATE: Some sighs of relief over in Sutton, where Tim Crowley, the leader of the Tory group, has held on to his seat in Carshalton South and Clockhouse ward, after earlier thinking he was out on his arse. Someone miscounted, apparently.
This is a good example of split votes – the ward has returned two Tory councillors and one LibDem, Amy Haldane, who polled more votes than any other candidate.
Less good news, though, for Crowley’s deputy leader, Neil Garratt in Beddington South, who looks to have lost.
2.49am UPDATE: Croydon result: New Addington North.
This is what was previously Fieldway ward, and was an area where what is left of UKIP were focusing their campaigning.
As it was, it did not make much difference, as Simon Hall retained his seat and Momentum activist Felicity Flynn won a place on the council for Labour. This was on a 27 per cent turnout.
CROYDON COUNTER: Tory 1, Labour 2
2.45am UPDATE: The growing dissatisfaction with the council leadership and the way the council is run is highlighted by some further Survation polling, which found that 50 per cent of Croydon voters want a directly elected mayor – as they have in other London boroughs Lewisham, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Hackney.
Only 15 per cent of respondents opposed the idea.
However good the outcome might be for Labour tonight, such a poll result is a strong indication that the public considers Tony Newman and the “strong leader” model of civic management to be more like … the wrong leader.
2.30am UPDATE: Labour has conceded defeat in Kensington and Chelsea. The live blog over at uk.businessinsider.com reports: “There were some suggestions that local outrage over the Conservative government’s handling of the Grenfell Tower fire could give Labour enough votes for a historic victory, but this has not happened. A Labour source told me that Advance — the party set up in response to the tragedy which killed 71 people — has won votes which otherwise would have gone to Corbyn’s party.”
2.25am UPDATE: The Croydon Council website carrying election news is, now, up and running. Though the returning officer’s idea of declaring a vote seems to entail announcing the winner and forgetting all the other candidates. They don’t even manage to get the date of the election (it was held on May 3) correct, as they have dated the result with Friday’s date.
Inside Croydon, as you might expect, doesn’t hold with that sort of shoddy conduct.
Vidhi Mohan polled 1110 votes for the Conservatives in Park Hill and Whitgift.
Labour’s candidate, Rinil Perera, received 618 votes. The LibDems polled 133, Greens 126.
“Privileged to have been elected as councillor for the new Park Hill and Whitgift ward. Thanks to all those who supported me. I will work hard to help and support all residents in my ward,” said Mohan, the man who when he was a Tory cabinet member managed to spend millions of pounds of riot reciivery funding in his own ward, away from the areas which were worst affected by the rioting that took place in August 2011.
2.05am UPDATE: The first result is in for Croydon.
Vidhi Mohan, the Tory front-bencher who scarpered from Fairfield for fear of losing his seat, has been returned as the first ever councillor for the new, one-seat ward of Park Hill and Whitgift.
CROYDON COUNTER: Tory 1, Labour 0
2.00am UPDATE: With the results to be declared in the next couple of hours, there’s extraordinary developments at the Sutton Council count at the Westcroft Centre.
It is looking like the LibDems may retain control, but with a much-reduced majority, and it appears that council leader Ruth Dombey’s Sutton North seat could be at risk.
Dombey’s fate may depend on postal votes, where the LibDems have always been well-marshalled, while her deputy leader, Simon Wales, looks vulnerable in Sutton West ward as the Tories seem poised to win all three seats there.
Mary Burstow, wife of former LibDem MP Paul Burstow, has been seen in tears at the count at the prospect of losing her seat on the council, as the Tories seem set to sweep Cheam ward.
Perhaps most extraordinary of all, in Beddington North ward, the site of the Viridor incinerator, where there were 15 candidates, the vote has been described as “carnage”, with lots of “split votes”, where electors have given their support to candidates from more than one political party, or to the independents.
Early indications are that the Liberal Democrats’ core vote has held up, but the Conservatives are making some gains and Labour – who had no councillors before the election – look to have chances of winning as many as four seats, in Wandle Valley and St Helier wards.
1.40am UPDATE: And here’s the vote shares for the last local elections in Croydon, and the 2016 London elections.
Croydon 2014 council election vote shares
Croydon 2016 London Assembly list vote shares
It is worth remembering that in 2014, the national party leaders were David Cameron, Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and (for UKIP), Nigel Farage.
1.30am UPDATE: More on the historical comparisons between past local elections in Croydon (see 00.45am).
Labour’s previous highest share of the vote in Croydon council elections was 40.8 per cent in 1971.
The Conservatives’ previous lowest share of the vote in a Croydon council election was the 33.4 per cent achieved four years ago under Mike #WadGate Fisher.
But this election is being fought over new wards, some crossing over constituency boundaries. The re-drawn political map was supposed to even-up the number of electors in each area.
But this table – which also shows an estimated 2014 result based on the wards being contested this year – shows that it has not quite achieved that:
1.10am UPDATE: Over the county border, Tandridge district council in Surrey is a Conservative hold, by two seats, according to the BBC.
In what is a very fractured political make-up, where six councillors have been elected who stood either as independents or representatives of the Oxted and Limpsfield Residents’ Association, the LibDems won four seats tonight, and the Tories took four. Two wards areas were not contested this time around.
The turn-out varied wildly from ward to ward, from 33 per cent to more than 51 per cent.
1.00am UPDATE: Meanwhile, Crerar has detected a tad of expectation management going on by Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, over Labour’s much-vaunted hopes of seizing Tory model borough Wandsworth from the Conservatives, who have held the south London Town Hall since the dawn of Thatcherism.
Tonight, talking about the chances of Labour winning the council in his own backyard, Khan has said that Wandsworth is “above even our wildest expectations”.
Which is a bit of a reverse ferret from what Mayor Khan was saying so bullishly six months ago, as Crerar highlights.
00.50am UPDATE: The BBC and Pippa Crerar, the Guardian’s deputy political editor (who has decent contacts across the capital from her years working at the Evening Boris), are citing sources who reckon that Richmond council is looking like a LibDem gain from the Tories.
“This is the Brexit effect in action,” Crerar notes.
00.45am UPDATE: With turnout at yesterday’s polls likely to be low, and influential in the outcome in some key wards, it might be worth taking a look at the percentage of voters who exercised their democratic rights at previous Town Hall elections.
Croydon local election turn-outs
2014 38.6%* – Labour win
2010 63.8%** – Tory win
2006 40.4% – Tory win
2002 34.5% – Labour win
1998 37.8% – Labour win
*Local elections held together with European elections
** Local elections held together with General Election
00.25am UPDATE: Early whispers from the Croydon count is that a Labour target ward, Shirley North, might not be as much of a shoo-in for Tony Newman’s mates as they had hoped.
Shirley North’s Labour candidates included Rob Elliott, the partner of Fieldway councillor and Labour finance cabinet member Simon Hall, and Mark Henson, the husband of Ashburton councillor Maddie Henson. What with the Butler-Scott axis on planning and housing, it is clear that it is not just Sutton’s Tories who like to keep things in the family as far as generous councillor allowances are concerned.
Newman and the Croydon Labour leadership invested a lot of time and effort in trying to win Shirley North, with frequent visits from the popular local MP, Sarah Jones, as well as other leading figures among large squads of canvassers. So failing to win all three council seats in the reconfigured ward will be something of a blow for Newman and his clique.
11.55pm UPDATE: Meanwhile, over at Trinity private school in Shirley, where the unaccountable council chief executive Jo Negrini has decided she wants to stage the Croydon count, and website where the election results are to be posted has… CRASHED!
Way to go, Jo!
11.45pm UPDATE: Over the course of the night, we’ll be crossing for news from the Westcroft Centre in Carshalton where the Sutton count is taking place. All indications are that the results there might be a good deal more intriguing than the narrative in Croydon, which ought to be a comfortable Labour hold.
On the eve of today’s elections, Sutton’s Liberal Democrats, who have had an iron-grip on the borough for nearly 30 years, looked increasingly desperate. Their last-minute cross-borough leaflet drop had a message exhorting Labour voters to switch to the LibDems just to keep out the Conservatives.
This has been a tough campaign for the LibDems. The botched introduction of a new waste collection service by Veolia (the same people responsible for Croydon’s bins) spawned #SuttonBinShame, while the borough’s streets and parks have become noticeably grubbier in the past year.
Add in the conviction of Alan Salter, who was discovered to be defrauding two local charities for the elderly while he was a sitting LibDem councillor, and the looming presence of the Beddington incinerator, and a number of other eco-disasters around the Beddington Farmlands, and it is clear why the LibDems haven’t been too keen to knock on doors.
Their desperate trump card has once again been St Helier Hospital. Some rather dodgy claims that the Council “invested” in the hospital by contractually forcing the hospital trust to spend the money on refurbishment look set to be thoroughly debunked and complaints made.
Despite the LibDems’ overwhelming majority on Sutton Council – until Thursday, they held 43 of the 54 seats – the fact remains that many of those wards were marginal in the 2014 elections, so it would not take much of a swing in several wards for changes to be seen.
The opposition parties hoped for a high turnout. This is the key to denting the solid LidDem core vote. As usual, all parties are claiming a high number of vote pledges. In some central Sutton wards, all parties are expecting victory, which probably just tells us that the electorate occasionally tells fibs too.
The biggest threat for Labour in Sutton – after a very strong campaign reflecting the party’s growth across the capital – is their likely inability to get out the vote, especially the youngsters who have become supporters in the last couple of years.
11pm UPDATE: Survation has now published a deeper breakdown of its exit poll figures.
They say, “John Elledge in his ‘implausibly long and detailed borough-by-borough guide’ to the London Elections for the excellent Citymetric blog had the following to add [about Croydon]:
“Although historically safe Tory, the borough’s combination of leafy suburbs in the south and grittier, more inner city patches in the north has recently turned into a proper marginal. It’s also tended to run ahead of the nation, going Labour in 1994 and switching back to the Tories in 2006”.
Survation continues: “Croydon has 39 Labour councillors to 29 [Editor’s note: figure corrected by Inside Croydon] Conservative. So while not an electoral ‘scalp’ – if Labour does not do ‘well’ in Croydon, the prospects for Labour in boroughs they seek to ‘turn red’ would look dimmer.”
We’ll be keeping an eye on Wandsworth, Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea and Barnet through the night.
Survation said: “So we polled members of the public in Croydon today – May 3 – using a large pool of landline and mobile telephone records for residents and found the following (adjusted for likelihood to vote, with undecided and refused voters removed):
Can I ask for which party will you vote/you voted in your Croydon borough council elections?
Lib Dem 4%
Those results mean that Labour are down nearly 4 per cent on what they polled across the borough in last June’s General Election, though the Tories, too, are down by 2 per cent on their 2017 votes, when Gavin Barwell lost his Croydon Central seat. Whatever happened to him?
10.35pm EXIT POLL: The returns have been counted and weighted, and the Survation exit poll of Croydon voters, carried out today, predicts a significant win for Labour:
Such an outcome means that Tony Newman retains control of Croydon Town Hall, with a slightly increased majority.
Those figures suggest a swing from Conservative to Labour from the 2014 result of 5.3 per cent.
Shirley North, a Labour target seat where two candidates are partners of current councillors, could be close but might end up being a split seat between Tory and Labour.
At this point, based on the Survation polling, we are predicting a Town Hall for the next four years starting with
Labour 44 seats
Conservatives 26 seats
10.20pm UPDATE: We’ve been running a sweepstake in Inside Croydon Towers these past couple of weeks, ever since we got the news that Winston McKenzie, like a punch-drunk boxer, has lifted himself off the floor and was swinging in an election again.
McKenzie, as our loyal reader will know, has never won an election. Indeed, he’s often finished last among the candidates. On one occasion, he managed to poll fewer votes than someone who had withdrawn from the election.
This year, having started a new political party (Membership: 2), he was standing in Waddon ward today.
Will he, like a Norwegian EuroVision entry, get nul points?
We reckon he might struggle to get 30 votes. What do you think?
10.10pm UPDATE: Earlier today, responding to our latest coverage of the “Scott-free” leaflets in Woodside, and a rather scary picture of the chair of planning when out on the campaign trail, our loyal reader asked whether we could find a more flattering picture of Councillor Paul Scott, the architect of Labour’s boundary changes strategy and controversial chair of the planning committee.
Will this do?
10.05pm EXIT POLL: We’re waiting on the finalised details from the borough-wide exit poll, but early indications suggest that the vote in Croydon is much closer than might have been expected.
If that is confirmed at the ballot box, it means that despite the London-wide swing to Labour and the wave of Corbynmania, somehow Tony Newman and his Blairite cabal in Croydon have managed to reduce the political advantage locally – factors such as Brick by Brick and the scandal around the borough’s Children’s services clearly having some traction with voters.
10pm UPDATE: And that’s a wrap… quite literally outside one central Croydon polling station.
Early indications suggest that in Croydon, despite the warm spring day, turn-out has been low.
One polling station in the north of Fairfield ward, one of Labour’s target wards, was visited by just 43 voters in the first four hours of polling.
And low turn-outs tend to favour the Conservatives.
But would that be enough to turnaround the Tory misfortunes of last year’s General Election?
Then the vote shares across the whole of the borough were:
One unknown factor which could hit Labour prospects is the predicted collapse of the UKIP vote. In 2014, the local elections were held on the same day as the European elections, and Kippers picked up a chunky vote share, more than 20 per cent in the wards in New Addington and 18 per cent in Waddon – making UKIP the Tories’ scapegoats for the loss of seats in those wards.
Four years on, with Brexit looming, UKIP have managed to field just eight candidates across the whole of the borough.
So where will all those Kippers from four years ago have voted today?
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