South Croydon MP Chris Philp holds on to seat amid Conservative losses

Conservative Chris Philp has held his South Croydon seat, seeing his majority slashed despite increasing the number of votes he gained.

He gained 33,334 votes in the safe Conservative seat, with a reduced majority of 11,406 over second-place Labour candidate Jennifer Brathwaite who took 21,928 votes – with a huge 11% increase in the Labour vote.

Turnout in the constituency was 73.5%, up from 70.3% in 2015 and nationally the party had some disastrous losses.

He said: “I was delighted to increase number of votes by 2,000 when other Conservatives didn’t do so well.

“It really comes down to hard work locally, working on local issues and getting things done.”

Neighbouring marginal seat Croydon Central was taken by Labour Sarah Jones from Gavin Barwell, Minister for Housing, and Mr Philp paid tribute to his fellow Conservative.

He said: “I’m gutted that Gavin Barwell lost, my friend and parliamentary neighbour.

“He didn’t deserve to lose, he was a fantastic local MP and I’m devastated by that result in Croydon Central.”

Mr Philp made healthcare in the area a priority during his campaign, having previously successfully campaigned to restore morning opening hours at the Minor Injury Unit / GP Hub – a vital service for those with non-emergency injuries.

He believes his close attention to local issues and continued championing of Croydon’s causes helped him to retain his seat on a night when Theresa May’s call for an early election now seems seriously ill-founded.

On the early election he said: “It’s extremely easy to look at any situation in life, whether it’s in politics or otherwise, and say this or that should have been done differently.

“I’m not going to engage in hindsight, in 20:20 vision.

“It made sense at the time but clearly with the benefit of hindsight you might take a different view.”

He confirmed that he expects to continue working with the Labour Council and with the newly-elected Labour MP Sarah Jones in Croydon Central.

He plans to carry on with business as usual and working hard for his constituency.

He said: “Priorities will remain, as they always have been, standing up for Croydon, looking after Croydon, working on things like Southern Railway, continuing to fight to keep Croydon special.

“The labour council are continually trying to concrete over Croydon South and build ugly buildings that spoil the local area.

“I’m going to keep fighting that and working to make sure Croydon’s economy remains prosperous.”

He is proud to have obtained £300 million from the government at end of 2016 for work to upgrade the signals and points on Southern Rail lines in to London. Rail travel in the area has been blighted in the last year with delays, over-crowding and strikes causing chaos.

The constituency voted 54.2% to Remain in last year’s referendum.

Mr Philp hinted that the Tory issue nationally could be a lack of clarity on Brexit.

He said: “We were always going to go to Europe trying to negotiate constructively for a sensible deal that suited them and suited us, that involved free-trade, that involved people with skills being able to move and I don’t think that should change.

“Perhaps we weren’t clear enough with people that that was our objective.”

The seat has been held by the Tories since its creation in 1974 with all three of its MPs in that time being Conservative.

In 2015, as a newcomer, Mr Philp secured the biggest conservative majority in Croydon South since 1992 with 54% of the vote.

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