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Croydon Central: A constituency divided

BACKING BARWELL: Footballer Sol Campbell has been drumming up support for Gavin Barwell

OUTSIDE CROYDON Town Hall, conversations with candid voters reveal a split in the community with Ukip seemingly enjoying a surge in popularity.

All eyes will be on the ultra-marginal seat of Croydon Central where Gavin Barwell will be battling to retain the seat he won by just 3,000 votes in 2010.

He faces strong competition from Labour's Sarah Jones. In 2010, Labour lost by approximately six per cent of the vote.

Croydon resident Eunice Owusu 45, a Croydon resident, said her vote was about preservation. “I voted Conservative," she said. "I don’t know who is going to win but I think that we should leave the present government because the economy is good and we should keep it that way.”

Hoping for an opposite result was Labour supporter Arun Minhas, 29 who said: "I voted Labour and I think they are going to win because a lot of people like what they stand for. The last government wasn’t particularly good. Everything has been made difficult for Black and Asian people, from visas to benefits, [policies have negatively affected] students. They’ve made life very hard."

One voter who only wanted to be identified as a Cambridge graduate explained his strategic voting.

"I voted Conservative because of the FPTP [first-past-the-post] system, otherwise I would have voted for UKIP," he said.

"I think political correctness is driving this country mad, taking over common sense; people are scared to say or do as they please and freedom of speech is at jeopardy."

The 24 year-old admitted to voting for the right wing party in the European elections and defended Nigel Farage. He added: "I feel that all the negative campaigning against Farage, labelling him a racist, is not true at all. His policy would favour non-white immigration to the country and this is just common sense stuff."

In 2010, 1,448 people in Croydon Central voted for the British Nationalist Party.

It is expected those votes will be absorbed by Ukip this time around.

With polls closing at 10pm tonight (May 7) there are, however, still a number of the population who remain unsure on who has the best plan for Britain.

Jason Wallis, 34, said: "I’m still undecided. I will probably make up my mind in the booth, but it would take something that touches me for a party to secure my vote. The things that concern me are the economy, jobs and the NHS."

*Ade Onibada (@sincerelyade) will be live tweeting from Croydon Central as the results come in later this evening

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