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
Con: 16217 (38%)
Lab: 14889 (35%)
LDem: 7691 (18%)
GRN: 2330 (5%)
Oth: 1578 (4%)
MAJ: 1328 (3%)
Con: 13121 (33%)
Lab: 15858 (40%)
LDem: 6560 (17%)
GRN: 2800 (7%)
Oth: 1380 (3%)
MAJ: 2737 (7%)
Con: 13823 (35%)
Lab: 18745 (48%)
LDem: 4064 (10%)
GRN: 1290 (3%)
Oth: 1281 (3%)
MAJ: 4922 (13%)
Con: 17945 (39%)
Lab: 21479 (47%)
LDem: 4478 (10%)
Oth: 704 (2%)
MAJ: 3534 (8%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

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.
MATT TAYLOR (Independent)
Comments - 139 Responses on “Brighton, Kemptown”
  1. As we get down to the wire it looks like UKIP may pick up some steam with some of their members reporting strong support in Mouslcombe and Whitehawk among disgruntled labour voters. Tories will have been bombarded with expensive flyers from Simon Kirby making a lot of his achievement in obtaining £400m for the hospital project. IN Kirby’s case it is probably being in the right place at the right time as the push for a new hospital is decades old. It seems that given the Tory only won by a tiny 1200 votes in 2010 party HQ decided they had to give Kirby a little help. Many locals will be up to speed on the reality concerning the hospital. With a hard left female candidate batting for Labour there will be little support from the outlying towns. Labour and Green will do best in Kemptown and parts of East Brighton but anything east of Roedean is UKIP or Tory. THis is a hard seat to predict but my guess is pretty even support going to UKIP, the Tory and Labour. Libdems and Greens will be lucky to hold their deposits.

  2. Conservative Hold. 100 maj

  3. Full results:

    Con 18,428 40.7%
    Lab 17,738 39.2%
    UKIP 4,446 9.8%
    Green 3,187 7.0%
    LDem 1,315 3.0%
    Other 142 0.4%

    Majority 690 : 0.8% swing to Labour (Quite a novelty in a Lab / Con marginal!).

  4. Clearly divided by the Green candidate’s vote share. If it wasn’t for that, Labour would’ve taken this.

  5. Nonsense, Greens only up 2% on 2010.

    UKIP also probably take more from Tories than Labour in the S-E region than other parts of the country (not sure if others agree on this, maybe it’s not so pronounced outside of London)

  6. Peacehaven no doubt saved the Conservatives here.

  7. Did UKIP try phone canvassing OR did they do a doorstep canvass.

    Or did they have adverts in the local newspapers?

  8. This has every chance of being a Labour gain in 2020 I would have thought, as it is still yet to catch up with the Brighton effect that saw Hove gained by Labour, albeit with the Tories not helped by the lack of an incumbent MP to defend the seat. If Kirby holds on and increases his majority in 2020, expect a considerably increased Tory lead in the polls and overall majority nationally.

  9. “Nonsense, Greens only up 2% on 2010. ”

    Yet the total number of votes they won in this seat is bigger than Kirby’s majority. Not hard to guess who Green voters have more in common with politically.

  10. Kemptown could just go back on Labour in 2020- it is not inconceivable given the Lib Dems are now extremely low, I think they would have to squeeze the Green vote to get over the line here, and that won’t be all that easy for them to do.

  11. Much more of a classic marginal than quirky Pavilion or Labour-trending Hove.

    Labour will only pick up this seat (barring the vagaries of boundary changes) when and if their star starts to rise again.

  12. Agreed with every word of that TBH. The majority looks a bit deceptive I would have thought, and that the figures betray a possibility of this seat deserting Labour once more in 2020 if the national situation doesn’t get any better for Labour by that time. Of the three seats in the Brighton and Hove area, I think this seat has trended away from the Tories the least and I think all resources will be poured into this seat by the city’s activists in five years time to pull off a potentially surprising hold by the narrowest of margins.

  13. I would think that Labour would expect to win this seat next election unless they go into complete meltdown. Even though they went backwards in most marginals outside London, the seat became more marginal for Labour this election and the ‘left’ vote increased by 7%, so the seat is definitely trending away from the Conservatives.
    However, the Green vote may increase substantially (relatively) next election as the unpopular Green minority council has been all but eliminated outside of Brighton Pavilion, especially if the Greens are in a better place nationally that allows them to minimise tactical voting.

  14. Well it depends how the constituency boundaries change. If the Boundary Commission creates a Brighton East and Seahaven (as it wanted to do at the aborted review) it could be very tough for Labour to win as the Tories would have a substantial notional majority and the Green vote would be significantly lower in that previously proposed seat.

  15. Very true, and until we know boundaries it’s going to be very difficult to second guess what the results might be, so my views only relate to current boundaries.
    Certainly agree that boundary changes that lead to any of the Brighton seats incorporating more rural areas will be disastrous for Labour/Greens and great for Tories.

  16. Had there not been a Green candidate on the ballot paper Labour would almost certainly have won here in 2015. The same is true of 6 other seats which rather implies that Cameron owes his overall majority to the Greens.

  17. But even if the Greens had not stood in any seats where the combined Green/Labour vote was greater than the Conservatives, Cameron would still be in power. He would either have a strong minority government, or get UUP, DUP support. Anything north of 315 votes and the Conservatives would be in government for certain, and very likely if above 300.
    Also, many Green voters would not have voted, some might have gone to other minor parties, I would hazard a guess many could have gone Lib Dem etc.

  18. I agree with that – though I am not suggesting all Green voters would otherwise have supported Labour.In the 7 seats I am referring to the Tory majority is much smaller than the Green vote. However, with just 323 seats commentators would be openly speculating how long Cameron’s Government could survive – every by election in a Tory seat would be critical. As it is this will not become a minority administration until post 2018 -if indeed at all.Had he started the Parliament with 323 and subsequently dropped below 320 he would have become pretty vulnerable – it being far from certain that the DUP would want to keep him going indefinitely should he become seriously unpopular.

  19. I agree that the majority/government would be more vulnerable but I’ve seen a lot of Labour voters (not suggesting you are one) say that the Greens cost them the election when Labour needed to be north of 280 seats absolute minimum to realistically form a government that would keep the Conservatives out of power. In my opinion, the Conservative majority was just a formality.

  20. I think the Tories would have needed 310 seats to for a minority Government – on the basis that no minority party outside Ulster – other than UKIP – would support them. I really cannot see the LibDems doing so this side of 2050 – revenge is far more likely to be uppermost in their minds. In my view Labour – notwithstanding any outcry – would have made a serious attempt to form a minority Government even had it only managed 250ish.

  21. They would have tried but I can’t honestly believe they would have succeeded. I mean, can you imagine Labour needing to get the support of the SNP, Plaid Cymru, Greens etc on every issue? If that government ended up lasting to the next election (big if), I would expect to see Labour sliding towards the 200 seat mark.

  22. It would depend how Labour would have governed . In reality, I suspect the other anti-Tory parties – including the SNP – would have accepted the precarious position of the Government and largely co-operated. I am not persuaded that Labour would have suffered at the following election as a result of any constitutional misgivings regarding the second largest part forming the administration. Much more likely that it would have been judged performance..Indeed it may have led to a rather concensual style of governing. I also consider it not unlikely that if the anti – Tory parties amassed 315 seats that the DUP might in due course have acquiesced rather than seeking to obstruct.

  23. Ah well, all entirely academic now. You would imagine that 331 seats against a deeply fractured opposition would be enough to see the Tories through this Parliament.

    I’m afraid I see the situation now as more akin to the 1980’s than any other time (although I know that the electoral maths is very different). If the several and combined forces of the opposition do not get their act together in short order, there is more than a possibility that Tory hegemony will become the norm again

  24. I bet the Green Party candidate here was a believer in winning here…

  25. Dr.John, in general I agree with you. The “But” is that the Tories are actually more vulnerable to rebellion than in the 2010 – 2015 parliament when they had a formal agreement with the LibDems. In particuar, a not particularly big rebellion could scupper electoral redistribution – again! – and when the number of seats is going to be reduced there are likely to be a number of MPs keen to stop their constituencies from disappearing.

  26. I think that the proposed ‘Brighton East & Seahaven’ constituency extending to Seaford and slicing Newhaven to form a corridor to Seaford was a total mess.

    The Brighton wards could have instead been linked with the 3 Lewes City Wards with the rural Kingston Ward in between. “Brighton Kempton & Lewes” would have made a much more sensible constituency in my opinion.

  27. @Dalek

    That was my submission to the boundary commission too. They didn’t like the huge sprawling rural constituency (Seaford & Hailsham) which would have been the consequence though.

  28. Nancy Platts, the defeated Labour candidate here, has been appointed as Corbyn’s trade union liaison manager.

  29. The original proposals contained a brighton east and lewes seat largely along the lines dalek suggested although I think it contained a few more staunchly tory rural wards like ditchling and included rottingdean. Even in 2010 it would have been a semi-safe tory seat

  30. It’s amazing the size of the Green and UKIP vote here.

    I could imagine that the Green’s polled strongly in Brighton & Hove council wards while UKIP polled strongly in the Lewes council area.

    Had Brighton Kempton continued on its old Brighton boundaries it may have evolved into a Labour – Green marginal. On the current boundaries there are far more Conservatives and the potential Green vote is potentially reduced as left wing voters consolidate around Labour against the Conservatives.

  31. UKIP did well in the 2013 East Sussex CC election in Peacehaven if that’s any indication of their vote in this seat. They might have also taken a bit of support from some of those Labour-inclined estates in the east of Brighton.

  32. Dalek

    It isn’t Kempton it is KemptoWn….IIRC it is locally often split into two words Kemp Town, given that the name derives from it being Mr Kemp’s town.

  33. Brighton wards in this constituency:

    1950-1983: Elm Grove, Hanover, King’s Cliff, Lewes Road, Moulsecoomb, Pier, Queen’s Park, Rottingdean, St John’s

    1983-1997: Hanover, King’s Cliff, Marine, Moulsecoomb, Queen’s Park, Rottingdean, Tenantry, Woodingdean

    1997-2010: King’s Cliff, Marine, Moulsecoomb, Queen’s Park, Rottingdean, Tenantry, Woodingdean

    2010-present: East Brighton, Moulsecoomb and Bevendean, Queen’s Park, Rottingdean Coastal, Woodingdean

  34. Goodness l don’t remember St John’s ward – l moved to study in Brighton just as the old ward boundaries changed. Where was that? And surely there was a Warren Ward before 1983, which covered most of what are now East Brighton & Woodingdean? (IIRC)

  35. Were you at Sussex University? The excellent SeparatedByACommonLanguage blog is written by an American lecturer based there. I recommend it.

  36. Would probably have been won by Labour on the 2005 boundaries.

  37. Brighton Cllr Michael Inkpin-Leissner (Hollingdean & Stanmer) has defected from Labour to Ind.

    He cited Labour’s stance on the EU, Corbyn and that the Party’s Momentum wing want to, “form an axis with German Communists Die Linke.”

  38. If there is any Labour gains in the election – which seems very unlikely on current polls- this is a contender.

  39. Note the Greens have announced they won’t run here. With a 10% UKIP vote to squeeze Kirby should still be fine, I’d have thought.

  40. Last election for every 4 lib dem to Labour switchers there was 1 lib dem to green

  41. If there are going to be any surprise Labour gains, this could be one of them…

  42. Word on da street is that Labour are quietly confident of taking the seat if they manage it it could well be their only gain in england

  43. This appears to still be the likeliest Labour gain from the Tories in that it has the shortest odds – currently still a rather generous 5/2 with Paddy Power.

  44. Betting odds don’t appear to have moved with the polls quite as I would have expected. 5/2 seems generous but, horrible as it is to say, the events of Monday evening will significantly change the nature of the election. I’ll wait for some more national polls to come out before making any firm predictions, but in any case a few MPs losing their seats pales into insignificance next to 22 brutal murders.

  45. I have just Completed straw phone poll for Brighton Kemptown (Sat 27/May) and its a LAB gain, with about 3.8% swing from Con to Lab; The Results

  46. I think Croydon Central and Brighton Kempton are the most likely Lab Gains. The polls have narrowed so much that we could see many Con Gains from Lab but a few Lab Gains from Con (just as in 2015).

  47. Interesting that the Conservative vote went down for the sixth time in succession in Pavilion and Labour have never polled as highly in either kemptown or hove which are now on paper very safe and ultra safe respectively

    Kyle and Lucas have strong personal votes but Kirby was fairly well liked too – his party’d position on Brexit less so, and that’s the main reason he lost by such a large margin Theresa May’s stance on Brexit have cost her popularity in places they used to be competiive

  48. The Labour majority here was so large that it probably would have been a Labour gain even at the start of the campaign.

  49. This does look gone for the foreseeable future. In retrospect an outstanding hold in 2015.

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