Brighton, Kemptown

2015 Result:
Conservative: 18428 (40.7%)
Labour: 17738 (39.2%)
Lib Dem: 1365 (3%)
Green: 3187 (7%)
UKIP: 4446 (9.8%)
Independent: 69 (0.2%)
Others: 73 (0.2%)
MAJORITY: 690 (1.5%)

Category: Ultra-marginal Conservative seat

Geography: South East, East Sussex. Part of the Brighton and Hove council area and part of Lewes council area.

Main population centres: Brighton, Woodingdean, Saltdean, Peacehaven.

Profile: Brighton Kemptown is the eastern part of Brighton and the semi-rural suburbs and villages stretching out to the east of the seat. At its western end it includes Queen`s Park ward, the centre of Brighton`s vibrant gay community, then Kemptown, the council estates of Whitehawk and Moulscoomb and then, beyond the racecourse, more affluent and genteel coastal villages like Woodingdean, Saltdean and the town of Peacehaven. At the north of the seat is Brighton University`s Falmer campus - despite Moulscoomb itself being in the constituency, Moulscoomb campus lies just over the boundary in Brighton Pavilion.

Politics: In the past Kemptown was the more Labour leaning of the two Brighton seats, but it is now the more Tory. There is also a significant Green presence here - although not when compared to their strength in Brighton Pavilion.


Current MP
SIMON KIRBY (Conservative) Born 1964, Hastings. Educated at Hastings Grammar School and Open University. Former radio, bar and restaurant entrepreneur. Brighton councillor 1995-1999, East Sussex county councillor 1992-1993, 2005-2009, Mid Sussex councillor 1999-2001. First elected as MP for Brighton Kemptown in 2010. PPS to Hugh Robertson 2012-2014, to Jeremy Hunt 2014-2015. Government whip since 2015.
Past Results
2010
Con: 16217 (38%)
Lab: 14889 (35%)
LDem: 7691 (18%)
GRN: 2330 (5%)
Oth: 1578 (4%)
MAJ: 1328 (3%)
2005*
Con: 13121 (33%)
Lab: 15858 (40%)
LDem: 6560 (17%)
GRN: 2800 (7%)
Oth: 1380 (3%)
MAJ: 2737 (7%)
2001
Con: 13823 (35%)
Lab: 18745 (48%)
LDem: 4064 (10%)
GRN: 1290 (3%)
Oth: 1281 (3%)
MAJ: 4922 (13%)
1997
Con: 17945 (39%)
Lab: 21479 (47%)
LDem: 4478 (10%)
Oth: 704 (2%)
MAJ: 3534 (8%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
SIMON KIRBY (Conservative) See above.
NANCY PLATTS (Labour) Born London. Campaigns and Communications Consultant. Contested Brighton Pavilion 2010.
PAUL CHANDLER (Liberal Democrat) Educated at Felsted School and Essex University. Contested South Worcestershire 1987, 1992, Worcester 1997, 2001.
IAN BUCHANAN (UKIP) East Sussex councillor since 2013.
DAVY JONES (Green) Educated at Brighton Hove & Sussex Grammar School. Local government consultant and yoga teacher.
JACQUELINE SHODEKE (Socialist Party GB)
MATT TAYLOR (Independent)
Links
Comments - 138 Responses on “Brighton, Kemptown”
  1. The boundary changes in 1997 increased the 3000 Con majority in 1992 to over 10000 but Labour still won.

    I would imagine that the pre-1997 Brighton Kempton would be now an ultra safe Labour constituency.

  2. Never is probably going too far – voting patterns change in unforeseen ways. But for the foreseeable future it is very unlikely.

  3. East Brighton by-election, 08.02.18 (caused by the resignation of the Lab Cllr after being elected the MP):

    Lab 1,889
    Con 481
    Green 316
    LD 114

  4. No surprise there. I’m guessing this must have had a pretty massive GOTV operation for a local by-election.

  5. Its the largest local party outside london i think

  6. Watching the Syria debate now, it strikes me just how similar Lloyd Russell-Moyle is to the young Jeremy Corbyn. Same left-wing views, same background travelling the world fighting obscure foreign-policy causes, he’s even got a similar beard.

    I suspect he will be on the front bench before too long – probably as a shadow foreign minister.

  7. Both also have their roots in the Woodcraft Folk. Little tidbit from a fellow Woodcrafter.

  8. Lloyd Russell Mole (MP for Brighton Kemptown) has advocated compulsory purchase of former council properties purchased under right to buy, and also suggests that the state should have “right of first refusal” to buy any private property when it is up for sale (at a fraction of the fair market value presumably).

    Welcome to what’s coming when Corbyn or his successor inevitably enters Downing Street sometime in the next 10 years. Not even Corbyn himself would have dared to advocate such an attack on property rights 5 or 10 years ago. Now such ideas are entering the left of centre mainstream.

  9. Well, my chances of ever owning a house grow slimmer by the day…

    If I didn’t know better, I’d think this was a cynical ploy to make people more dependent on the state and therefore more likely to vote Labour. But unfortunately I suspect Lloyd Russell-Moyle really does believe this stuff…

  10. Jeez I never thought I would publicly agree with that pompous luvvie Stephen Fry, but he’s dead right that we are increasingly being forced to choose between loony PC obsessed Marxists on the left and loony nationalists/Brexiters on the right, with basically no viable option in the middle except for a bankrupt (financial and political), irrelevant Lib Dem party.

  11. It is rather depressing. I can see the appeal of Corbyn to young people though (I’m 35…don’t really consider myself young any more). The Tories have spent far too long buttering up the elderly (although I think it’s a great thing pensioner poverty has been so reduced).

  12. I agree.

    Time to go back to 5% interest rates and the property bubble to be popped as in the early 90s. As a property owner in SE England I will lose hundreds of thousands in equity but it’s the right thing to do to save our kids from a miserable future.

  13. Yes. There’s nothing weird or extortionate about 5% rates, but a whole generation has now been raised to think.that 0.5% rates are the norm and to be expected.

    I would lose money too if the bubble popped, but I can’t pretend to be too fussed really. I’ve come to realise that high house prices get us precisely nowhere in the grand scheme of things, unless you plan on moving to somewhere far cheaper eventually. And that is way, way easier to write than to actually do. Once you’ve got used to living in a ‘nice’ area with great transport links, it is actually very hard mentally to move to somewhere more remote. That’s not necessarily snobbery, just reality.

  14. Incidentally one of my oldest friends lives here (we met on the first day of university).

    Gay, working at the university of Sussex, living in downtown Brighton with his partner, he sounds the perfect cliché of a Corbynista. But he has become scorchingly right wing these days. He gets rather embarrassed when I remind him of the good natured names he called me on election day 1997 when I voted for John Major; he has long since overtaken my political views on the right.

    Interestingly he tells me that Russell Mole is well known in Brighton for being a bit, erm, sleazy. Now The Sun is on his case re property confiscation they might start poking into that, though it won’t be the scoop it would have been 20 or 30 years ago.

  15. I certainly recognise the trend that you speak of. Gay people (especially gay men) do not have first dibs on liberal, inclusive thinking. No political party really offers much to gay people specifically (we are far too small a segment of the population), and the Tories are no longer seen as openly homophobic. I think the recent linking of the Labour party with ‘benefits’ also puts off some gay people…virtually impossible to play the benefits game in Britain if you don’t have kids.

  16. Those of us from quite poor working class backgrounds who have moved into the monied middle classes probably have the harshest views on benefit scrounging (and I’d guess quite a lot of gay people come into this category because they can focus on their careers without kids getting in the way).

    A 19 year old cousin of mine just had a baby with an unemployed deadbeat and got a council house pretty much instantly. These are not always right wing urban myths.

  17. The thing is, the needs of gay people are not that different from the needs of the general public, and on most issues where they do have specific requirements, there is bipartisan consensus anyway.

    Part of the reason for this consensus is that gays and lesbians are well-represented within all parties in parliament. This means that there plenty of MPs with a naturally good understanding of the issues who can influence legislation, e.g. when Crispin Blunt led a rebellion to keep poppers legal.

  18. “Part of the reason for this consensus is that gays and lesbians are well-represented within all parties in parliament.”

    I agree.

    This is also the reason why HIV/AIDS got the huge amount of attention and resources it needed (not just here but elsewhere in the western world).

    If AIDS in the west had largely killed poor people far away from the lives of politicians and celebs (as is largely the case in Africa) much less would have been done and the carnage would have carried on indefinitely.

  19. Polltroll- you are quite right that gay people are well represented in politics, entertainment and the media (rather like Jewish people). That doesn’t make growing up as a lonely gay teenager in a less ‘liberal’ part of the country necessarily easier, although I guess it does offer hope that things can get better.

    HH- that’s not great, although I really don’t see an alternative. A lot of young girls become mothers because they don’t see a realistic prospect of doing anything else with their lives. Not everyone can be ‘winners’ under a capitalist system.

  20. “This is also the reason why HIV/AIDS got the huge amount of attention and resources it needed (not just here but elsewhere in the western world).”

    Which is especially surprising given that the Thatcher government was outwardly pretty homophobic.

    One of the funniest political stories about the 80s comes from (Lord) Norman Fowler, describing how he tried to explain to Thatcher what oral sex was during the AIDS scare.

  21. Thatcher really was an odd case. Simultaneously populist, ‘in touch’ but also quite remote and sheltered as well. HH’s story about not knowing how to use a debit card in a supermarket was bonkers.

  22. “HH- that’s not great, although I really don’t see an alternative. A lot of young girls become mothers because they don’t see a realistic prospect of doing anything else with their lives. Not everyone can be ‘winners’ under a capitalist system.”

    In some cases that’s true but you can’t generalise too much.

    My uncle was happy to have my cousin and the baby living with them but understandably he can’t stand her boyfriend being under the same roof. My cousin chose to leave to be with the boyfriend so declared that she was homeless. To me that makes her less of a priority than many who will be behind her on the housing list for years. She has nice parents who are comfortably off and gave her a good childhood, she certainly isn’t the type who would have had no prospects without getting pregnant.

  23. “HH’s story about not knowing how to use a debit card in a supermarket was bonkers.”

    Even worse, it was not knowing how to pay by cheque. This was some time in the 80s/early 90s, long before her sad final decline.

    I’d forgive someone born in 1925 not knowing how to use debit cards.

  24. I stand corrected. That’s even worse!

    That’s a shame regarding your cousin. There’s still plenty of time for things to sort themselves out, though it will be harder with a kid.

  25. Quite common in my extended family unfortunately.

    Hopefully my daughter won’t carry on the family tradition.

    I’m kind of on the other extreme as my kids didn’t arrive until my mid/late 30s, we kind of stick out like a sore thumb amongst the rest of the family.

  26. As far as I am aware the only gay, lesbian or bi Mp’s in parliament to have kids are those who conceived them in heterosexual relationships.

  27. So MP’s with the experience of raising a family in a same sex couple are possibly non existent.

  28. Lloyd Russell-Moyle has revealed that he is HIV-positive.

  29. My post on here from November 5th-

    “…Russell Mole is well known in Brighton for being a bit, erm, sleazy. Now The Sun is on his case re property confiscation they might start poking into that, though it won’t be the scoop it would have been 20 or 30 years ago.”

    Brave of him to come out about his status before the Sun or the Mail got there first. It won’t do him any harm in Brighton and I strongly suspect there are at least a couple of other HIV positive (mostly older) MPs. Russell Mole is only a young man and it’s sad his activities have caught up with him like this, as I’ve seen happen to a few people I know over the years.

  30. The sad thing is many people contract HIV and pass it on without ever knowing they had it and there are so many people who have just happened to have had an intimate relationship with someone undiagnosed.

    There is an excellent blog called Don’t Look Back Always Going Forward. Written by a young American woman who contracted HIV while travelling with the Peace Corps. It’s very revealing how HIV is just something that everyone knows about but no one talks about and so many people are victims of HIV because of a lack of education. I don’t think she given contracted through sex. So many people think they are safe when they aren’t.

  31. People younger than my generation, which was scared shitless by the 1980s AIDS awareness adverts when we were at school, have just become ignorant and complacent about the issue. My generation also watched at an impressionable age the horrible deaths of people like Rock Hudson, Liberace and Freddie Mercury. It’s important not to generalise as people can become HIV+ simply by being unlucky. Nevertheless the several people I know who became infected all took stupid risks and didn’t think of the consequences.

  32. I recently discovered John Hurt voiced thise commercials. Puts a bit of a dampener on that kind old man impression i got of him

  33. In the 1980s John Hurt was far from a kind old man. He was a notorious “hell-raiser” who was often drunk and got into fights with photographers etc and was always in the newspapers. I’m surprised his liver lasted as long as it did. One of my all time favourite actors nevertheless.

  34. I have a couple of friends who have HIV. Whilst it’s nothing to dance a jig about, they seem to cope with it pretty well and you certainly couldn’t tell they have a chronic illness. The medication these days is great I think. It’s now a manageable condition, not really any worse than having high blood pressure and seemingly easier to manage than something like diabetes. He is brave in making this public as there is still stigma there.

  35. HH makes a very valid point regarding some people being unlucky. That respectable, middle class married woman next door with two kids could potentially get it if her husband likes using prostitutes while away on business, for example. Technically anyone who has ever had unprotected sex has put themselves at risk. Of course, gay men and sex workers are at far,far higher risk than anyone else and should take precautions.

  36. Yes it is incredibly well managed now by medication and it probably affects your life less than diabetes or high blood pressure. The way AIDS devastated people’s lives has left a stigma that the reality no longer matches. Contracting HIV was death sentence but now people can have intimate relationships with people with HIV even if they can pass it on as long as you take Prep. Which is the underlying point. If people protect themselves they won’t contract HIV but we don’t do enough to talk about that.

    Which goes back to the orginally point that people have to be aware that it isn’t only sex that can lead to contracting HIV even if unprotected sex with sex workers or unprotected anal sex increase the liklihood you should remain safe no matter what

  37. Yes, unfortunately though the widespread use of PrEP has caused may people to decide that condoms are no longer required. As a result, instances of other STDs are going through the roof, including some really nasty stuff like drug resistant gonorrhea.

  38. “Yes, unfortunately though the widespread use of PrEP has caused may people to decide that condoms are no longer required. As a result, instances of other STDs are going through the roof, including some really nasty stuff like drug resistant gonorrhea.”

    This goes hand in hand with the constantly reducing effectiveness of antibiotics. The sexual revolution of the 1960s coincided with the widespread development of antibiotics; before then one of the main threats to young people (girls especially) about the evils of being promiscuous was the chance of getting nasty incurable STDs, some of which could eventually be fatal.

    In the long term I can’t see how we can avoid returning to those days. It is worrying for parents of small children today (daughters especially) to think of what future awaits them in this regard. We all enjoyed our youth and they are entitled to do so as well, but it is now fraught with so many more severe threats.

    On HIV-AIDS, it has morphed from basically a gay disease in the 80s into a disease primarily affecting heterosexuals in Africa today. Even in the UK, the latter demographic now accounts for most new diagnoses. Even in Africa though huge strides have now been made to combat the disease. On a business trip to Africa in around 2000 I was really struck by the toll AIDS was having on the workforce of all the companies I visited; today they are managing the problem much more effectively.

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