Page last updated at 09:12 GMT, Thursday, 15 April 2010 10:12 UK

Candidates fight for marginal seat in Croydon central


The south London constituency is one of the most marginal in the UK, with the Conservatives winning in the last election by only 75 votes.

Croydon Central is likely to be one of the most closely fought seats in the general election with the Conservatives taking the south London constituency in the last election by just 75 votes.

In 2005, the seat was taken by then Conservative Andrew Pelling, who is now running as an independent candidate.

Conservative leader David Cameron has sent a personal letter to residents describing Mr Pelling as "hostile" and warning that a vote for him could split Tory support.

People are fed up with Labour - they don't want to see Labour back in again.
Peter Lambell, Liberal Democrats

Mr Pelling decided to stand as an independent in March, saying it would enable him to "freely" talk about issues that concerned members of his constituency.

In response to David Cameron's letter he said: "It does seem that the Conservative party feels that I can win.

"Currently David Cameron is putting around a letter to every household in this constituency saying 'don't vote for this man, don't vote for Andrew Pelling', which seems like a very negative approach to campaigning."

Gavin Barwell, Conservative candidate for Croydon Central, said: "Croydon Central is one of the seats David Cameron needs to beat Labour.

"Our message to people in Croydon is very clear. If you want change don't vote for an independent or one of the minor parties - they'll get a Labour MP and five more years of Gordon Brown."

Before 1997, the Conservatives held the constituency seat but it was won that year by Labour MP Geraint Davies.

'Three horse race'

Labour candidate Gerry Ryan said: "No matter what's going on inside the Tory party - we've got three leading candidates, it's a three horse race - I've got to knuckle down, I can't afford to slip up."

Liberal Democrat candidate Peter Lambell said people wanted a change from Labour.

He added: "People are fed up with Labour - they don't want to see Labour back in again.

"I think no one's got any confidence in what the Conservatives are offering and I think the Liberal Democrats are offering a real change."

Candidates announced for Croydon Central so far include: Conservative, Gavin Barwell; Labour, Gerry Ryan; Lib Dem, Peter Lambell; Green, Bernice Golberg; Independent, Andrew Pelling and Michael Castle; BNP, Cliff Le May; UKIP, Ralph Atkinson; Monster Raving Loony Party, John Cartwright.

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