Pivotal gains made by Labour on polling day look to have placed the party's candidate for Croydon Central in the driving seat ahead of next year's general election.

Four of the seven new seats seized by Labour on Thursday were in the closely-contested Parliamentary constituency, where the party edged out the Conservatives in both seats and voter numbers.

It means Gavin Barwell, current Croydon Central MP, faces a battle to retain the seat he won by 2,879 votes in 2010.

Sarah Jones, Labour's candidate for Croydon Central in the election next May, said: "I think it's a great platform that we can build on but I wouldn't take anything for granted at all.

"The fact that we went into previously Conservative wards and managed to switch them to Labour is great sign and I think it shows that we have the bodies on the ground, that we were going and talking to more people, that we were listening to arguments and were reflecting what people wanted in our manifesto.

"That bodes well but I wouldn't take anything for granted because the general election is a very different kind of election and there will be plenty of challenges."

Mr Barwell admitted he faced a challenge to retain his seat but pointed out the popularity of Coun Mike Fisher's Conservative council did not necessarily match his own. 

He said: "If you add up the votes across Croydon Central Labour would have just won the seat last Thursday, so really that doesn't tell me anything new because I already knew it was going to be a close fight next year.

"I think it's one we are perfectly capable of winning but it's by no means a foregone conclusion and we are going to have to work very hard over the next 12 months.

"It will remain to be seen the extent to which I am more or less popular than the Conservative council was."

At the start of Thursday night's local election count the MP, formerly councillor for Coulsdon West, predicted Labour would reclaim Croydon Council.