Chris Philp poses with his arms raised in front of a group of Conservatives

Croydon South MP surprised to keep hold of seat after exit poll predicted defeat

Chris Philp was surprised yet delighted to keep hold of his Croydon South seat, as he admitted the Conservatives need to do better.

The former Minister of State for Crime, Policing and Fire defied the exit poll’s prediction and retained his place in parliament ahead of Labour’s Ben Taylor.

The exit poll had earlier predicted the Conservatives would lose Croydon East, West, and South, but while Croydon East and West were retained by Labour, Philp won his constituency by more than 2,300 votes.

Philp said: “By working hard, by delivering for local people, we have managed to pull off this unexpected victory.”

Regarding the Conservatives’ electoral defeat, he said: “Clearly, nationally, these are a bad set of results for the Conservative party.

“We need to listen respectfully to the messages that the voters were sending us, recognise we need to do better in a whole number of areas, respond positively, constructively, to that with plans that help address those concerns.”

He said his local priorities included constructing a new pool in Purley, and delivering a new medical centre and banking centre in Coulsdon.

He also intends to work with the police to deploy more officers in Croydon’s town centre to reduce crime.

In Westminster, he hopes to hold Labour’s new government to account and advocate for lower taxes and policies that will help businesses prosper.

Philp said: “Ultimately, that’s what helps people improve their standard of living.”

When asked how he would celebrate his win, he said: “Straightaway, I’ll be getting a little bit of sleep.”

He added that his team had been awake for more than 26 hours.

Taylor, who left soon after the declaration of results, was not available for comment at the count.

He later posted on X (Twitter): “Proud and grateful, words will never be enough to thank everyone who was part of the journey and helped to put Labour on the map in Croydon South. 

“Looking forward to a weekend with the wonderful ladies in my life who kept me going throughout,” he said, referring to his wife and daughter.

Croydon South has elected Conservative MPs since the seat was established in 1974, with Philp having served as its MP since 2015.

Ipsos UK’s exit poll for Sky News, BBC, and ITV News predicted that the seat would be a Labour gain with a 99% likelihood.

However, Philp received 19,757 votes to Taylor’s 17,444, winning with a majority of 2,313 votes.

Meanwhile, Croydon East and Croydon West, both predicted to go to Labour, saw their Labour candidates win.

Their MPs are Natasha Irons for Croydon East and Sarah Jones, who was the MP for Croydon Central until the seat’s abolition this year, for Croydon West.

Irons is a cabinet member in Merton Council, while Jones was Shadow Minister for Industry and Decarbonisation.

Following the declaration of their victories, they both emphasised Labour’s central campaign message of change.

Irons said: “I really want to focus on issues that affect young people.

“As London’s youngest borough, I think Croydon has massive amounts of potential and opportunities for young people.

“I think Croydon could lead the way in what it means to be a young person in this country.”

Meanwhile, Jones said: “The people of Croydon West deserve a government that matches their ambition for a brighter future.

“This election was about change, and I believe that a serious government can and must make people’s lives better.”

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