The Labour Party chose the marginal seat of housing minister Gavin Barwell to launch its General Election campaign, calling for council houses to be built across the country.
Barwell holds a slim majority of just 165 in Croydon Central, the fourth most marginal seat in the country, and Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Corbyn visited the constituency to make it the launchpad for Labour’s General Election campaign.
Corbyn told supporters: “We are here in Croydon because we want to win Croydon. We want a Labour MP who will stand up for the people of Croydon.
“The Labour council in Croydon is building council houses – we want a Labour Government that is building housing across our country.”
Barwell first won the seat at the 2010 General Election and narrowly hung on to it in 2015. He went on to write a book, How to Win a Marginal Seat: My Year Fighting for my Political Life. He was appointed housing minister in July 2016.
However, the pro-Brexit policy of the Government could put him in a difficult position.
Croydon voted 54% to remain at the EU referendum last year. Barwell himself voted Remain but made it clear that he supported the holding of the referendum. He supported the legislation to trigger Article 50.
All Government roles will be dissolved on May 3 as campaigning steps up for the General Election.
If Barwell does retain the seat and the Conservatives stay in power, there is no guarantee he would be kept as housing minister.
If he goes he would join the alumni of Mark Prisk, Grant Shapps, Kris Hopkins and Brandon Lewis who have all held the ministerial brief since 2010.
Barwell seems proud of his record so far.
Honoured to have served as MP for my home town for last 7 years. Proud of what I’ve achieved & looking forward to standing for re-election
— Gavin Barwell MP (@GavinBarwellMP) April 18, 2017