On 3rd May Croydon went to the polls to elect 70 councillors to represent the borough on the Council.
Once the ballot boxes closed and the votes were counted, Croydon elected 29 Conservative councillors and 41 from the Labour Party. Whilst we Conservatives made considerable progress across the borough, Labour remain in control of the Town Hall.
Beneath the headline figures this result is one of significant optimism for Conservative-voting Croydon residents.
The election context
Since 2014 there has been two General Elections, the Mayor of London and GLA election, a controversial referendum – and a Conservative-led Government for the last eight years. Polls have consistently predicted Labour making significant gains in London – with Labour often getting more than 50% in the polls. The Councils of Barnet, Wandsworth, Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea were mooted to fall to Jeremy Corbyn’s party.
What Croydon Labour thought would happen
Based on the polls, and them thinking they genuinely are a competent administration, Croydon Labour believed they would take 45 councillors easily.
As a result they didn’t bother publishing their full list of candidates until the day they were legally required to in April. We Conservatives announced most of ours last autumn, with the complete list out in early 2018.
Labour’s full manifesto was published with less than a fortnight to go until the election. Conservative pledges were issued allowing months for residents to peruse it, formulated after listening for hundreds of hours in hundreds of gatherings to thousands of residents.
Labour’s website www.croydonlabour.org.uk has been down for many months now, giving residents no opportunity to find out about their Labour-run Council. In 2014 they ran on a promise to be ‘open and transparent’, the reality is evidently anything but. Ours has been consistently updated, giving residents the chance to see what we're really offering Croydon.
And Labour didn’t campaign much. Croydon Conservatives have been out for many years, hosting public meetings and listening to residents across the borough. Labour didn’t start knocking on doors until just a few weeks before polls opened - taking the good people of Croydon for granted.
What actually happened
Conservatives in London retained control of Wandsworth, Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea. In communities such as Walsall, Dudley, Sutton and Nuneaton, Conservatives broke new ground. In Barnet, Redditch, Basildon and Peterborough, we took over control of the local council - all against expectations.
In 2014, Croydon Labour’s share of the popular vote put them ahead of the Conservatives by 2.6%. In 2018, despite taking the constituency of Croydon Central just one year ago, Labour’s lead has slipped to a 2.5% lead in overall proportion of votes cast.
Last year Croydon Council underwent a boundary review, giving the Conservatives a notional group of 28 councillors (because of population changes two southern seats effectively disappeared). With the 2018 results declared, Croydon Conservatives gained one of the marginal Addiscombe East seats – electing Cllr Jeet Bains to the Council - giving us a group of 29.
Conservative candidates significantly closed the gap in wards like Addiscombe East, New Addington South and Norbury Park. With Labour-won wards with slim majorities like Fairfield and Waddon still very much in play.
It’s difficult to understate how significant this is. If a total of 874 people who voted Labour on the day split over four marginals wards had instead voted Conservative, the Conservatives would have won a majority of 38 Council seats to 32 to Labour - that’s how close it was.
Given the context, Labour’s expectations, and their decreasing vote share, it’s clear Labour’s hold on Croydon is slipping - and they know it.
So thank you – thank you to everyone who voted for a positive, idea-rich Croydon Conservative Party.
We will keep up the pressure on Labour to push them to be an administration that truly listens, rather than dictates, to its residents. We will work with them where they are acting in the interests of Croydon, but will not shy away from scrutinising the impact of their decisions and opposing them when we think they are wrong for our borough.
Bring on 2022.
The full list of elected Conservative councillors, 2018-2022
Addiscombe East – Cllr Jeet Bains
Coulsdon Town – Cllr Luke Clancy, Cllr Mario Creatura, Cllr Ian Parker
Kenley – Cllr Jan Buttinger, Cllr Steve O’Connell
Old Coulsdon – Cllr Margaret Bird, Cllr Steve Hollands
Park Hill and Whitgift – Cllr Vidhi Mohan
Purley and Woodcote – Cllr Simon Brew, Cllr Oni Oviri, Cllr Badsha Quadir
Purley Oaks and Riddlesdown - Cllr Simon Hoar, Cllr Helen Redfern
Sanderstead – Cllr Lynne Hale, Cllr Yvette Hopley, Cllr Tim Pollard
Selsdon and Addington Village – Cllr Helen Pollard, Cllr Robert Ward
Selsdon Vale and Forestdale – Cllr Stuart Millson, Cllr Andy Stranack
Shirley North – Cllr Sue Bennett, Cllr Richard Chatterjee, Cllr Gareth Streeter
Shirley South – Cllr Jason Cummings, Cllr Scott Roche
South Croydon – Cllr Maria Gatland, Cllr Michael Neal, Cllr Jason Perry
Find out who your Conservative ward teams are, what they’re doing in your area and how to contact them by visiting our website.