Croydon’s top Tory Barwell admits: I am politically homeless

WALTER CRONXITE, Political Editor, on the Conservative peer’s criticism of the Truss government’s reckless ‘Mini-Budget’

‘Reckless’: ‘Lord’ Gavin Barwell has been critical of the Tory ‘Mini-Budget’

Baron Barwell of Croydon in the London Borough of Croydon has had enough of the Conservative government.

The patience of the man who was Tory MP for Croydon Central for seven years finally cracked on Friday afternoon, as he pronounced himself politically homeless.

I haven’t left the Conservative Party,” he tweeted. “It has left me.”

After months of grumblings from the sidelines about his old mate, the philanderer law-breaker and serial liar Boris Johnson, over the way that his government was “getting Brexit done” and causing lasting damage to the nation, Friday’s Mini-Budget saw  “Lord” Barwell finally lose it.

And the former senior official at Conservative Central Office and sometime chief of staff at No10 Downing Street reckons that he is far from alone among his erstwhile Tory mates, too.

‘A budget for the rich’: How Saturday’s Grauniad front page characterised the Chancellor’s measures

Doing the rounds of the news and politics shows, as broadcasters sought reactions to Kamikaze Kwasi Kwarteng’s statement in the House of Commons earlier in the day, Barwell claimed that his apparent dismay – if not disgust – at the financial measures announced was shared by sitting Tory MPs.

Interviewed by Andrew Marr on LBC, Barwell said, “Since I tweeted… Conservative MPs have contacted me and expressed sympathy with that view.

“There are definitely people in the party who are deeply uncomfortable about some of the things the Chancellor had to say today.”

Barwell had got the ball rolling with his own critique of the measures announced in the ill-fated dash for growth and tax cuts aimed at those earning over £155,000 a year.

“This wasn’t a Mini-Budget,” he wrote. “Taxes were too high, but cutting my taxes while doing nothing for those on Universal Credit is wrong.

“Funding this by borrowing more when debt interest is already at record levels is reckless. Looser fiscal policy is going to mean higher interest rates.”

Ouch No1: Barwell’s tweets were highly critical

More than once, Barwell described his erstwhile colleagues’ financial announcements as “reckless”

Indeed, Barwell saw the measures as being politically disastrous. Responding to a tweet from Paul Johnson, the Director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, who laid out the stark detail of the winners and losers from Kwarteng’s tax cuts, Barwell wrote, “Indefensible. And also terrible politics.

“Conservative MPs may want to do the math on how many of the people who are eligible to vote in their constituencies win and how many lose…”.

Labour MP Karl Turner responded to Barwell’s public wailings by suggesting that he should cross the floor in the House of Lords to join the Labour benches.

Ouch No2: Barwell continued his criticisms into the weekend

“A kind offer, but my politics are of the liberal centre right,” Barwell replied.

“I haven’t left the Conservative Party – it has left me. As a result I find myself increasingly homeless, and from the messages I get and conversations I have I think I am far from alone.”

Stephen Mann, until May a Labour councillor in Croydon, highlighted that Barwell would not be the first Croydon Central Tory MP to end up joining the Labour Party. Barwell’s predecessor as MP, Andrew Pelling, joined Labour in 2011, a year after losing the seat in the Commons. To lose one big beast politician may be regarded as a misfortune for Croydon Tories. To lose two looks like carelessness…

Barwell is very busy these days. In his post-Commons, post-Downing Street career, he is a director or adviser to at least six major corporations. Little wonder, then, that he says he rarely attends the Lords, and doesn’t claim the £323 daily attendance allowance.

Barwell appears to be aspiring to a new opposition party to the Tories. Charles Tannock, a former Conservative MEP (the European Parliament… remember that?), said, “You’re not alone Lord Barwell and if Tory party ever splits to create a new moderate pro business centre/centre right internationalist pro European one upholding good governance and integrity I would hope you would take a leading role in it. I think PR might encourage such a split.”

Pigs might fly: how yesterday’s Observer lampooned Kamikaze Kwarteng and his dash for growth

When it comes to the economics, though, Barwell has been less lucid. Remarks like saying that the Conservative Party is so bad that interest rates are back up to levels last seen when Gordon Brown was Prime Minister, after the 2008 global financial crash, ignore the impact of rates now rising across the globe.

The Tories are still borrowing at real negative rates, as inflation rises to 11per cent, so its an opportunity not to be missed. And taxes will still be at their highest since the Second World War, even after this fiscal boost to an economy facing serious international headwinds.

As a member of the “liberal centre right”, Barwell is seemingly romantically divorced from economic realities.

Much as he was divorced from the realities of delivering Brexit from No10.

Read more: A bad week for Tory MP just got very much worse for Croydon
Read more: ‘Rabbit hutch’ flats and the Chief Secretary: Philp’s conflicts
Read more: ‘The Prime Minister admits he lied’ says Tory Lord Barwell

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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
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5 Responses to Croydon’s top Tory Barwell admits: I am politically homeless

  1. derekthrower says:

    Barwell a big beast politician? Oh come on. He is to a certain extent the architect of the mess we are living in Croydon due to his ill judged tinkering in development and with his inept management of the Conservatives as Chief of whatever it was created the conditions for the succession of these nut jobs we have now in charge to push the £ to it’s lowest ever value against the $. Amongst all the other things we can bring up that he has done. More of a big jobs politician.

  2. George Wright says:

    “Oh what a wondrous web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” In much the same way as they said remember The Alamo, we need to remember Grenfall and the way the warnings were ignored. I still haven’t seen a satisfactory answer about Lord Gavin’s part in this. He has also stuck like glue to Ms May, who seems to have forgotten how her party treated former female P.Ms, one of whom was indeed her! So, there seem to be questions to answered before any party opens their heart to Lord B. He is NOT of the calibre of Andrew Pelling and it would seem best to leave him as a lone voice, crying in the wilderness that is being created by this government.

  3. Lewis White says:

    Baron Barwell certainly seems to have the Midas touch.

    Having lost a safe Conservative seat, and then having written a book about it, and in spite of all, was rewarded by becoming an advisor to Theresa May PM, and then, after her time was up, was rewarded by an elevation to the Lords by his former boss, he seems to have in fact very soon afterwards discovered the very Magic Money tree that so Mrs May thought did not exist!

    What a shame for Mrs May. Had she had access to just a few fruit -laden branches of that arboreal bestower of wealth, she might still be PM.

    Or, maybe she was right– for the Country, at least since the decline of North Sea Oil, and Brexit, the MMTree was in terminal decline, and was (since her time) finally killed off by the arboricultural form of Covid

    But for a select few, the MMT is far from a mirage of a tree. It is very real, growing lustily, and yields bumper crops every month of every year!


    And the good news, for a further very lucky few who already own a big orchard, is that a very recent high wind has delivered a surprise promise of a forthcoming windfall of even more rich golden delicious fruit, from an as yet secret orchard of MMtrees, the whereabouts of which only a very few members of the new Government have seen on a recently discovered old map, which some terrible unpatriotic cynics believe to be a forgery!

    It is rumoured that, on the bottom of the said map, is written unapologetically in bold red ink, the words “To those who already have, shall be given”.

  4. Politically homeless? No, that’s just special pleading because he was kicked off the high table, even though he was only service, and has no way of getting back.

    Politically Clueless? Yes, that’s much more accurate. He’s only ever sort of succeeded when the doors have been open or held open for him. In general he has lost more important elections than he has won and, again, only got into the feeding trough at Downing Street because his face and background fitted.

    His greatest victory was to lead the unlucky minions into premature worship and accommodation in the now deceased Westfield project.

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