Brighton, Pavilion

2015 Result:
Conservative: 12448 (22.8%)
Labour: 14904 (27.3%)
Lib Dem: 1525 (2.8%)
Green: 22871 (41.8%)
UKIP: 2724 (5%)
Independent: 116 (0.2%)
Others: 88 (0.2%)
MAJORITY: 7967 (14.6%)

Category: Semi-marginal Green seat

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

Main population centres:

Profile: Brighton Pavilion is the western side of the Brighton, a georgian seaside resort that has avoided much the economic.


Current MP
CAROLINE LUCAS (Green) Born 1960, Malvern. Educated at Exeter University. Former communications officer and advisor for Oxfam. Oxfordshire county councillor 1993-1997. Contested MEP for South East England 1999-2010. First elected as MP for Brighton, Pavilion in 2010. Principal Speaker for the Green party from 2003-2006, she became the first Leader of the Green Party in 2008.
Past Results
Con: 12275 (24%)
Lab: 14986 (29%)
LDem: 7159 (14%)
GRN: 16238 (31%)
Oth: 1176 (2%)
MAJ: 1252 (2%)
Con: 10397 (24%)
Lab: 15427 (35%)
LDem: 7171 (16%)
GRN: 9530 (22%)
Oth: 1014 (2%)
MAJ: 5030 (12%)
Con: 10203 (25%)
Lab: 19846 (49%)
LDem: 5348 (13%)
GRN: 3806 (9%)
Oth: 1520 (4%)
MAJ: 9643 (24%)
Con: 13556 (28%)
Lab: 26737 (55%)
LDem: 4644 (9%)
Oth: 2710 (6%)
MAJ: 13181 (27%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
CLARENCE MITCHELL (Conservative) Educated at Friern Barnet County School. Media strategy advisor, former spokesman for the McCann family and former BBC journalist.
PURNA SEN (Labour) Deputy Director of the Institute of Public Affairs.
CHRIS BOWERS (Liberal Democrat) Writer and tennis commentator. Lewes councillor since 2007. Contested Wealden 2010.
NIGEL CARTER (UKIP) Born 1950, Chelmsford. Educated at King Edward VI Grammar, Chelmsford. Contested Brighton Pavilion 2010.
CAROLINE LUCAS (Green) See above.
HOWARD PILOTT (Socialist Party GB)
NICK YEOMANS (Independent)
Comments - 948 Responses on “Brighton, Pavilion”
  1. Lib Dems are maybe doing so badly because no-one believes a word they say any more? They went from left-of-Labour to propping up a Tory government, why would anyone take them seriously as a centrist party?

    Could also be because they’re only likely to put much effort into maybe 20 seats (including the ones they already hold) for the foreseeable future?

  2. I suppose Tim Farron wasn’t the best choice for centrist appeal

  3. Not while Corbyn’s still leading Labour.

    Of all London seats I’d say Holborn and St. Pancras (with Islington S. a close second) should be best for the Greens, but even Natalie Bennett as leader could only manage third place. Realistically to win seats they need Labour to be unpopular with the type of people that vote Green and a seat where there are several competitive parties so the threshold to win is low.

  4. Maxim
    I agree it would be a bad deal for the Greens but likelihood is Labour wouldn’t accept anything less even if its just cos the local CLP’s kick up a fuss.

    As for Bristol West there is no chance of Labour standing aside, the Greens could offer to actually campaign for Labour in every other seat and Labour still wouldn’t give up Bristol West, especially when it makes so little sense. The Greens are the only alternative to Lab in Bristol West so there is very little risk of split voting, its a straight Lab/Green fight now there is no need for a pact there.

    As I said the Greens aren’t even asking Lab to stand aside in seats like those, they keep emphasising seats that Lab has no chance of winning so a seat with a Lab MP is totally off the radar.

  5. Several points I’d like to make:

    1) If Labour stood aside in Bristol West (zero chance of it happening) though the Greens would be a near lock to win the seat.

    2) I’m not going to bit your head off Rivers10 don’t worry but do you have any data to back up that assertion? The data I’ve seen suggests the Tories lost far more votes to UKIP than Labour did but the Tories won the election because they got a fair amout of 2010 Labour/Lib Dem voters switching to them.

    3) The Greens still have near zero chance of winning Bath or the Isle of Wight even if Labour stands aside. Bath could only be competitive for the Greens if the Lib Dems implode but given their local strength and Bath’s LibDem history it is highly unlikely that it will so Bath will likely remain ConvsLibDem for the foreseeable. As for the Isle of Wight the Greens are NOT winning or getting within a country mile of winning a seat with a 62% Con+UKIP share of the vote. If Labour stood aside they would still be marooned in 3rd with around 20% of the vote. They could just squeeze into second if UKIP has a bad year but in that event the Tory share will be higher than it is currently.

    4) If or when the Greens get another seat in parliament on first past the post it almost certaibly be a seat that is currently Labour held (or that SNP seat in Glasgow where Patrick Harvie did very well at the most recent Scotish Parliamntary election. I think North is the Westminster equivilant?).

  6. Pepperminttea
    I agree totally with everything you have stated re points 1,3 and 4 and yes Glasgow North is the closest equivalent seat. Re Bath + Isle of Wight as I said I agree 100% with you but their the seats the Greens keep banging on about. FWIW though I wouldn’t be 100% dismissive of the I of W, Islands seem to act very weird in British elections, I’m actually pretty amazed the Greens did as well as they did there.

    Onto the main contentious point re UKIP. I’m aware of the Electoral Calculus data but that’s just one source so be wary, I could provide rather convoluted seat by seat examples explaining why that data is possibly incorrect but its fairly irrelevant since I explicitly stated that UKIP cost Lab more SEATS not votes and in a FPTP election that’s what counts. UKIP may have cost the Tories more votes but if most of those votes were in safe seats it doesn’t really matter, however they seemed to hit Lab primarily where it hurt. Side note even without UKIP I still believe the Tories would have won just that they’d probably be about 10-20 seats lower than at present and thus deprived of a majority.

    First we have to look at how Labs vote roughly breaks down. It comes in roughly four main parts.
    1) WWC voters in council estates or working class, lower middle class neighbourhoods.
    2) Ethnic minority voters
    3) Middle class public sector professionals
    4) Students
    There are other groups obviously but their the main sources of Lab support. As we know UKIP do VERY well amongst the first demographic but totally flop amongst the other three. Bearing that in mind lets look at the seats Lab won and lost from/to the Tories

    Dewsbury is something of an anomaly and I think we can agree that Malik was right and that he only lost in 2010 cos of the intervention of an independent taking a big chunk of Labs Muslim vote, this probably shouldn’t have even fell to the Tories in the first place but anywho…

    Dewsbury UKIP 12%
    Wolverhampton SW UKIP 11%
    Lancaster and Fleetwood UKIP 10%
    Wirral West UKIP 7%
    City of Chester UKIP 8%
    Hove UKIP 6%
    Enfield North UKIP 9%
    Ilford North UKIP 9%
    Brentford and Isleworth UKIP 6%
    Ealing Central and Acton UKIP 4%

    Now compare to the seats Lab lost
    Plymouth Moor View UKIP 21%
    Southampton Itchen UKIP 13%
    Telford UKIP 18%
    Derby N UKIP 15%
    Corby UKIP 14%
    Vale of Clwyd UKIP 13%
    Gower UKIP 11%
    Morley and Outwood UKIP 16%
    Bolton West UKIP 15%

    To conclude UKIP did markedly better in all the seats the Tories gained compared to the ones Lab gained, coincidence? Until further evidence is given yes so we delve deeper.

    Look at all the seats Lab gained, they all have some combination of high levels of Public Sector Workers, Students or Ethnic Minorities, in these seats Labs support is not dependant on the WWC thus UKIP did little harm to them.

    Compared to the seats Lab lost, all are very homogeneous, have little to no student population and compared to other seats few of the middle class public sector workers that Labour can rely on. In all these seats Lab’s vote was near totally dependant on the industrial (oftentimes elecerly) WWC and UKIP obviously ate into it significantly, allowing the Tories to slip ahead.

    I could go on, providing electoral results from wards in said seats, elaborating as to how the Tory vote in all the above seats was the kind that might be immune to UKIP but this has been a lengthily post so I’ll stop but its clear to me that in the bulk of marginals UKIP hit Labour worse than they hit the Tories.

  7. The Tory vote wasn’t immune to UKIP anywhere. It’s simply that the Tories picked up a sizeable chunk of the 2010 LD vote in many places which balanced out and sometimes exceeded the losses to UKIP. Labour gained most from the LDs in studenty type seats but in the type of marginal you list they gained less than they lost to UKIP.

  8. H.Hemmelig
    You raise another very important issue re the Libs, its another area that is often misunderstood. Some (like Electoral Calculus) say “Lab benefited massively more from the collapse of the Lib Dems than the Tories” this might be true in terms of raw votes but as you said Labour took the studenty, intellectual, radical types who are concentrated in certain seats, this allowed Lab to pick up quite a few Lib Dem seats and build-up huge majorities in already safe Lab seats. The Libs in the Lab/Con marginals though seemingly broke mostly for the Tories.

    I like to give the example of Warrington South since it was a three way marginal once upon a time, UKIP and the Greens are not really a factor and I know the seat pretty well. I wont bore anyone with the maths but basically to get the result we did the Lib Dem vote HAD to have broke mostly for the Cons which given the nature of the Lib Dem voters in that area is not at all surprising in hindsight.

    As for Tory immunity to UKIP what I meant was certain demographics are less inclined to drift towards UKIP and of those demographics that are also reliably Tory, a disproportionate amount can generally be found in the seats the Tories won off Labour.

  9. Twitter saying Corbyn asked Lucas to join Shadow Cabinet but she refused. So it’s come to this.

  10. I cant imagine that being true to be honest.

  11. The office of Lucas has denied they were offered a position, take from that what you will.

  12. That sounds untrue. I’m pretty sure you can’t have a member of another party in your shadow cabinet

  13. The Labour constitution doesn’t actually specify any requirements for who can be in the Cabinet or Shadow Cabinet – I heard Gordon Brown wanted to offer Paddy Ashdown a position, for example.

  14. I think Lucas would be right to turn it down. If it was a Cabinet post in a Corbyn govt, then yes, but I think the shadow cabinet should be about presenting a potential alternative to govt, under one banner. If Labour & Greens had an electoral pact, however, then that changes things.

  15. However, if Lucas has denied it, then I see no reason to doubt her.

    Mind you, wouldn’t it be great to see her wiping the floor with Leadsom as shadow environment sec?!

  16. FWIW I think its real shame Lucas isn’t in Labour, I think she’s definitely one of the most impressive MP’s in the house today.

  17. Who said anything about an alliance? I just wished she was a Lab MP.

  18. Maxim does raise a good point though. Many commentators have mooted a possible “progressive alliance” as a way of sorting out Labour’s woes, forgetting that many Labour voters, indeed the ones who are already most put off by Corbyn, are in no way progressive.

    (Also, can we get a way from using the word “progressive” as a lazy way of meaning “left-of-centre, in a good way”. It’s become almost as cliched as “neoliberal”.)

  19. ‘Forgetting that many Labour voters, indeed the ones who are already most put off by Corbyn, are in no way progressive’


    That’s why UKIP are more of a threat to Labour than they are the Tories

    Whilst Corbyn might cause a few voters to raise their champagne glasses in places like Brighton & Hove and Islington, his appeal to those WWC voters that UKIP and the Tories are increasingly succesfully targeting is extremely limited

    This has been a problem for Labour for many years now, and way predates Corbyn’s leadership, but the current Labour leadership still show no signs of even recognising this, let alone trying to address it

    IMO Labour needs a leader in touch with working class Britain like never before – and there are no obvious candidates

  20. The Green-Labour alliance – which I’ve previously dismissed as simply not going to happen for many reasons I can’t be bothered to repeat now – might be more realistic if there is a split in the Labour party. Those who stayed in the Corbyn faction would probably be less hostile to co-operation with the Greens and may be willing to give up contesting Brighton Pavilion, Bristol West etc. to support the Greens against the other Labour faction.

  21. I agree that a “Progressive Alliance” would do little to help Labour. Depending on the details, it could help the Greens and Lib Dems a lot more, which is no doubt why Lucas keeps proposing it.

    But there’s a lack of understanding of Corbyn’s appeal. If it was restricted to a “few voters” with “champagne glasses” in “Brighton & Hove and Islington”, he wouldn’t be leader, and the party would have lost vote share in local, PPC, and Parliamentary by-elections, as was widely predicted. Yet the votes indicate that Labour under Corbyn is doing slightly better in majority WWC areas than Miliband – not a high bar, but a step in the right direction for the party.

    Corbyn has a long history of support for trade unions, and that counts for something. Not nearly as much as it would have done 30 or 40 years ago, and quite a lot of trade unionists were voting Labour anyway, but there are WWC votes coming from that direction. Beyond that, I think his trump card is that he is widely seen as honest. That’s not necessarily enough to get WWC voters to vote Labour, but it’s valuable in politics.

    In addition, Corbyn is uniquely well placed to appeal to Eurosceptic Labour voters (well, of anyone who might ever lead the party, anyway). My suspicion is that Eurosceptic Labour voters are mostly working class and more socially conservative. While I understand why anti-Corbyn MPs have tried to make the leadership contest about his activity during the referendum campaign, that is bound to alienate those less progressive Labour voters, potentially improving Corbyn’s position with them.

  22. Corbyn defence policies will not go down well with Social conservative’s. Same with his general attitude to immigration.

  23. There is already loads of evidence he isn’t going down well, too. You can draw tenuous comparisons (e.g. with 2015) as Warofdreams has done to try and show him in a better light but the proper comparison is with 2011 when Labour were performing about 7pts better at the time of the local election and about 15pts better than they are now. And of course Labour went on to lose the following election.

    And his personal ratings are absolutely dire (see the ComRes poll from the weekend, when people even think he’s nastier than Theresa May and he has a 40 per cent lead on incompetence).

    It is true that it is something of a simplification to say all his support among members comes from young progressives in Brighton and Islington. But Labour members aren’t the electorate.

  24. Comparing election results is hardly “tenuous”; Labour’s local election results this year were in line with Miliband’s best results. That’s not enough to win the general election, obviously, but it’s also clear that Corbyn’s leadership didn’t take the party to “sub-Foot levels”.

    It’s hardly surprising that Labour are performing poorly right now, clearly the party is massively split. People will apportion the blame for the split differently, and some will argue that the split is necessary or will be beneficial in the long-term, but it’s the split which is currently depressing the party performance (plus the inevitable honeymoon period for May).

  25. “If honeymoon periods are so inevitable, where is Corbyn’s?”

    It’s a fair question; it seems every Prime Minister has had some sort of honeymoon period (sometimes brief, as with Brown), but not every leader of the opposition gets one – Hague, for example, didn’t. Why that should be is hard to say, I’d be interested to hear thoughts.

  26. “First opposition leader to lose seats in local elections since 1985”

    Strictly speaking, the first since Cameron in 2010 as he wasn’t Prime Minister until after the election. Cameron’s results in the 2010 English locals were rather worse than Corbyn’s this year, though of course it didn’t matter in the slightest.

  27. Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley have predictably won a landslide in the Green leadership election with 87.7% of the vote.

    They have put ‘progressive alliances that will deliver more elected Greens than ever before’ at the centre of their campaign. Will be interested to see if anything becomes of that. I doubt it, because other ‘progressive’ parties really have no good reason to help the Greens.

  28. Even Labour standing aside in one seat that the Greens could conceivably win would go down extraordinarily badly with the PLP and non-Corbynite members, not to mention the local party (and potentially MP) concerned. I think that Labour helping the Greens is therefore a complete non-starter. The Greens might decide that next time they shouldn’t contest key LAB/CON marginals but that would be up to them. I’m not sure they can expect Labour to offer anything in return.

  29. Yes especially because virtually every seat that the Green’s could conceivably win is already a Labour held seat. The only one that Labour might actually stand aside that would give the Green’s a very outside shot at a second seat would be Bath but there the Lib Dems have a hold over than anti Tory vote and they certainly wouldn’t be standing aside. Of the other two seats where the Greens finished ahead of Labour, Somerton and Frome and the Isle of Wight, the chance of the Green’s winning those (especially the former) even with no Labour candidate is exactly zilch.

    Lucas is deluded if she thinks that this ‘progressive alliance’ thing will actually work. Unless by ‘progressive alliance’ she means turning the Green Party into a sub branch of Labour and standing aside in every marginal and perhaps saving Corbyn’s Labour one or two seats.

  30. At grassroots level, Labour is now basically a mass membership Green party

  31. Maxim
    Your right that’s how a 10 for 1 deal would work but as has been said there is no unearthly chance in hell Lab is going to sacrifice a seat they currently hold and given that the Green’s only real prospect is Bristol West that kind of throws a spanner in the works.

    The only other options are the already mentioned Bath and I of W, I don’t think Lab standing aside would help the Greens by all that much but Lab wouldn’t have much to lose so if the Greens wanted to go for it…

    The other option is Lab standing aside here in Pavilion, I actually think this wouldn’t be a bad deal as it would make Lucas’s victory here all but assured so the Greens could focus all their attention elsewhere and Lab don’t have anything to lose since they probably wont win Pavilion back while Lucas is MP anyway.

  32. As for the PLP getting he rights to the Lab name…fat chance.

  33. Maxim
    I agree in all instances either he Greens don’t need help or the help they receive wouldn’t make much of a difference, its why I don’t think their will be anything in the way of electoral pacts.

  34. Actually against Corbyn-led Labour Brighton P may be quite tight. We know there is a lot of crossover btwn Green supporters and Corbynistas. In Brighton would they stay with Lucas or switch to Corbyn-led Labour?

    Given that perhaps there is an electorally viable 10:1 deal. But the non-Corbynite part of the PLP would react furiously to Labour standing aside for Lucas, and from the Greens perspective a deal that is only helping them defend a seat, not attack new ones, may miss the point.

  35. Maxim
    “Labour gave the Greens a free run in the three Brighton & Hove seats and then the Greens stood aside everywhere else maybe that’d be a good deal”

    Again not a chance, Kemptown is one of Labs primary target seats, there’s no way they’d back down and Hove even less so since Labour hold it.

    Realistically the only deal I can see Lab accepting is if they stand aside in Pavilion, Bath and I of W and the Greens then don’t stand in every marginal seat in the country. Even so the moderates in the PLP would still complain about that and as for the Greens well they would know their being shafted in such a deal.

  36. Saw a Guardian comment suggesting that the Greens could stand aside in marginal constituencies where the Labour candidate was committed to proportional representation. That seemed like a rare good idea between the constant mud-slinging.

  37. Im not sure the proposed pact with labour is good news forvtge greens – despite corbyn being politically closer to them than any of his predecesers

    There is an underdiscussed ‘well-to do’ shire element to the Green vote comprising people whom have never in their lives voted Labour and never would. Such a pact might risk losing such longstanding supporters

  38. I should also mention that this vote i refer to is about 80% female

  39. Just how much autonomy do local Labour and Green parties have? ISTR back in 2010 the Greens contemplated not standing in Barking but the local party stood firm.

    How possible is it to negotiate a pact if the local parties can’t play ball? From what I can see from outside, Brighton & Hove Labour aren’t exactly as friendly with the Greens as Corbyn & Lucas and probably aren’t interested in giving up on a seat they held as recently as 2010.

  40. The “well to do shire element” of the Green vote, which was highly visible at their high point at the 1989 Euros, mostly disappeared long ago. The Greens’ radical socialism now trumps any lingering shire-based environmentalism. I expect much of their 1989 vote now resides either with the Tories or UKIP.

  41. Generally speaking from my knowledge CLPs have a good deal of autonomy to an extent. CLPs own all their own assets and depending on the local party the branch have almost entirely autonomy over choosing their candidates. I’ve been at EC meetings where there has been an absolute uproar because of a candidate chosen by one branch but that branch’s decision still stood. However, we did have one case of a candidate standing who members of the CLP thought their legitimacy was questionable and the regional party was dragged in.

    The only exceptions are all woman shortlists, when the national party intervenes because of concerns (Falkirk, Rotherham, etc.) and County selections which are taken by the regional party. I also said it depends because some places like Brighton have a CLP and a District Labour Party, separating constituency issues and district issues.

  42. In my opinion, although I agree with most of the comments above re: the lack of impact a progressive alliance would have in 2020, I think Caroline Lucas and co. are switched on enough to realise this is a long ball game. Therefore, moving into a much stronger position in seats like Bath in 2020 would be the main aim.

    However, I personally think simply having Labour agree to support a move towards Proportional Representation would be the best and dare I say achievable aim of any collaboration between the two parties.

    In terms of this particular seat, as a Labour party member, I would be disappointed if the party fielded a candidate here against Lucas in 2020.

  43. Labour have always sounded supportive of electoral reform in opposition and ditched it when in government. Can’t see that changing unless forced on them in a rainbow coalition.

  44. HH
    “Labour have always sounded supportive of electoral reform in opposition and ditched it when in government. Can’t see that changing unless forced on them in a rainbow coalition”

    But these days that looks to be the best Labour can hope for. The loss of Scotland means that a Lab overall majority is a BIG ask. It would probably only take the Tories losing about 30 odd seats though for a left of centre rainbow coalition to form a government with PR as an absolute red line for the smaller constituent parties.

  45. To be fair the London Assembly, Welsh Assembly and Scottish Parliament use a PR hybrid AMS to elect representatives while the Scottish locals and EU election are pure PR STV and closed list respectively.

    Labours problem is when it achieved power MPs opposed PR because it meant they were at risk. Rivers10 is right though even MPs like Chuka are considering it now, he drew up plans for regional assemblies to replace parliament and PR to replace FTPT

  46. The thing is, though, the SNP don’t really want proportional representation at Westminster because they don’t want representation at Westminster at all. And, at least at the moment, neither the Lib Dems nor the Greens have enough seats to really be able to offer Labour anything.

  47. Polltroll
    “the SNP don’t really want proportional representation at Westminster”

    They have explicitly stated that they support PR at Westminster, they have even acknowledged that it would cost them seats but they support it on principle, theyd look plain daft to try and wriggle out of it.

    ” the Lib Dems nor the Greens have enough seats to really be able to offer Labour anything”

    The collective “left of centre” smaller parties have 16 MP’s, that might not be massive but its 16 less seats Labour need to form a government, and besides the SNP are the big players and they have good relations with the Greens and long standing great relations with Plaid (they often speak at each others conferences) I’d say one meeting between Sturgeon, Wood and Lucas would be all it takes to get the SNP to go along with pushing Lab for PR.

  48. ”The collective “left of centre” smaller parties have 16 MP’s”

    I don’t think you can call the Lib Dems left of centre or presume in any way that they would support a hard left Labour party in fact its probably highly likely they wouldn’t.

  49. In fact propping up Corbyn’s labour could well be the thing which would finish the Lib Dems off for good. In that scenario they can kiss goodbye to any held seats or target seats in even remotely Tory friendly areas (even Farron would be in serious trouble in this scenario) as well as all the Tory tactical voters that saved Clegg and Mullholland. In fact propping up Corbyn’s Labour may well reduce them to 0 seats.

  50. Pepps
    The Lib Dems would prop anybody up who offered them PR

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