Hastings & Rye

2015 Result:
Conservative: 22686 (44.5%)
Labour: 17890 (35.1%)
Lib Dem: 1614 (3.2%)
Green: 1951 (3.8%)
UKIP: 6786 (13.3%)
MAJORITY: 4796 (9.4%)

Category: Marginal Conservative seat

Geography: South East, East Sussex. Contains the whole of the Hastings council area and three wards from the Rother council area.

Main population centres: Hastings, Rye, Winchelsea.

Profile: A seat on the south-east coast at the eastern end of Sussex. Hastings, Rye and small town of Winchelsea are all historic cinque ports. Hastings is naturally best known for the 1066 Battle of Hastings, though the site of the battle is actually in the neighbouring constituency of Bexhill & Battle. It was once an important fishing port (a fishing industry remains, but much reduced) but thrived as a victorian seaside resort. It met with the decline common to most such seaside resorts with the growth of foreign package holidays, falling into deprivation and decline, run down hotels becoming bedsits and accommodation for asylum seekers. More recently Hastings has begun to recover though regeneration and redevelopment projects. Rye is another historic town and tourist centre, though more genteel with cobbled streets and medieval buildings. To its south east is the village of Camber and the brash holiday parks of Camber Sands.

Politics: This was an unusual Labour gain in 1997. The Liberal Democrats had been in second place in 1992 and it would have seemed more natural for them to benefit from the anti-Conservative tide. In the event it was the Labour party, possibly aided by an opinion poll published in the Observer shortly before polling day showing the Labour party best placed to defeat the Conservatives in the seat. The seat was regained by the Conservatives in 2010.

Current MP
AMBER RUDD (Conservative) Born 1963, London. Educated at Edinburgh University. Former managing director of a recruitment and consultancy firm. Contested Liverpool Garston 2005. First elected as MP for Hastings and Rye in 2010. PPS to George Osborne 2012-2013, Government whip 2013-2014, Junior Energy minister 2014-2015. Secretary of Stat e for Energy since 2015.
Past Results
Con: 20468 (41%)
Lab: 18475 (37%)
LDem: 7825 (16%)
UKIP: 1397 (3%)
Oth: 1649 (3%)
MAJ: 1993 (4%)
Con: 16081 (37%)
Lab: 18107 (42%)
LDem: 6479 (15%)
UKIP: 1098 (3%)
Oth: 1239 (3%)
MAJ: 2026 (5%)
Con: 15094 (37%)
Lab: 19402 (47%)
LDem: 4266 (10%)
UKIP: 911 (2%)
Oth: 1545 (4%)
MAJ: 4308 (10%)
Con: 14307 (29%)
Lab: 16867 (34%)
LDem: 13717 (28%)
Oth: 1667 (3%)
MAJ: 2560 (5%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
AMBER RUDD (Conservative) See above.
SARAH OWEN (Labour) Born Hastings. Advisor to Alan Sugar.
NICK PERRY (Liberal Democrat) Born 1976, St Helens. Educated at Cambridge University. Social worker. Contested Hastings and Rye 2010.
ANDREW MICHAEL (UKIP) Retired hotelier. Appears on Channel 4`s Gogglebox.
JAKE BOWERS (Green) Journalist and blacksmith.
Comments - 429 Responses on “Hastings & Rye”
  1. ‘Over time Mid Sussex seems to have adopted a harder edged Conservatism, probably because of many people moving in from Tory London suburbs like Bromley and South Croydon’

    The Tories used to poll well in excess of 60% of the vote in the 1970s and 80s – and the Lib dem collapse in 2015 is similar to what happened elsewhere in southern England suburbia – where they had displaced Labour as the Tories nearest challengers since the 1970s

  2. “The Tories used to poll well in excess of 60% of the vote in the 1970s and 80s”

    As they also used to in Bromley, Beckenham and Croydon South.

    I don’t doubt the Tories’ vote share has eroded a bit over time but it’s a different kind of Tory voter today. The more rural Sussex types are dying out and being replaced by incomers from suburban Outer London, of whom I am one myself I guess.

    Re the Lib Dem collapse you are right in parliamentary terms, but locally their collapse has been very severe. They controlled Mid Sussex District Council about 10 years ago yet today barely have a single seat. Where I live most of the East Grinstead wards were Lib Dem held then, today they struggle to get past 20% of the vote in most of them even in by elections.

  3. The Lib Dems used to poll well locally in East Grinstead and Burgess Hill in particular.

    This is usually the first signs of recovery when a party is on its was back up

  4. Agreed and I don’t see any such signs right now.

    Despite this being a Remain seat and a large number of new housing developments making the local nimbys very upset.

  5. It’s funny, I always associated NIMBYism with hostility to immigration, which is basically NIMC (not in my country). I guess the remain vote in a seat like Mid Sussex will be more of a safety-first, protect-our-assets measure than a strong identification with the ideals of the European project. And if protecting your assets means embracing newcomers nationally, but opposing them locally, then people will do that because most people aren’t that ideological.

  6. People here are upset about diminishing green space, gridlocked traffic, inability to get kids into the schools they want, huge pressure on hospitals and doctors’ surgeries. Very little direct hostility to immigration though arguably it is a major factor in all of the above.

    New housing developments often increase house prices locally rather than reduce them so “protecting assets” isn’t normally a reason for objecting to development, unless the development is right next door and eg encroaching on / overlooking you in particular.

    Basically a problem of inadequate infrastructure, but the residents would rather the potential infrastructure remains as fields, not an easy issue at all.

  7. Amber Rudd refuses to rule out resigning if a free vote is not held next week on the different Brexit options.

  8. Hastings is a reasonably strong ‘Leave’ seat (56%- I’m actually surprised it’s not higher frankly). Rudd must know she is playing with fire here, particularly given her small majority. Maybe she has looked into the abyss and has realised that losing her seat is inevitable at some point anyway, so why not stand up for what you believe in. I actually don’t mind her so I think she will be a loss to British public life- although of course CCO could sort her out with a nice bombproof seat somewhere should she lose.

  9. ‘Hastings is a reasonably strong ‘Leave’ seat (56%- I’m actually surprised it’s not higher frankly). ‘

    I totally agree

    As by far the most deprived town in East Sussex, Hastings has most of the distinguishing features areas which a much stronger Leave – being a seaside town and all that entails, high unemployment, low wages, run down, high proportion of elderly people etc

    The one difference is that there is an ever-growing student vote

    This does though have all the hallmarks of a seat where Labour have done their homework and really gone to town so to speak – buoyed perhaps by the swing they obtained in Kemptown, which would probably still had gone Labour had Corbyn been trailing May by the sort of margins every poll was predicting

  10. This was a symbolic seat in 2015 and emblematic of Labour’s failure in that election with Rudd winning by 5000 and also the site of the Edstone.

    That said it’s hard to see how Rudd will hold on next time if the Tories fall short of a majority again, this is surely in the top 5-10 most likely Labour gains in the context of Labour gaining seats.

    The 2018 vote shares for Hastings district (excluding the rest of the seat) were as follows:

    Lab 48.6
    Con 31.3
    Grn 10.8
    LD 8.3
    Others 2

  11. Amber Rudd has decided she can support no deal afterall
    Looking harder and harder no deal can be stopped – the only way is if Boris gets a deal through and I am not sure that will happen.

  12. Rudd’s conversion to no deal leads to her being rewarded with staying at DWP and also being given the Equalities brief

  13. I’m surprised Boris didn’t give Rudd the boot. She made some quite personal criticisms – albeit true – of him during the referendum campaign and her conversion to being able to support no deal was every bit as unconvincing as Jeremy Hunt’s

    I’m not sorry she’s hung on – more surprised Boris missed a trick

  14. Tbf she’ll probably end up sacking herself again, if Universal Credit carries on being a bureaucratic shambles.

  15. Amber Rudd has resigned from the government and plans to stand as an independent Conservative at the GE. Rudd was specifically unhappy about the treatment of the 21 rebels.

  16. That makes no.5 of the Cameroon Cabinet Ministers who only joined the Party in 2005 to stand down. Claire Perry was the other announcement.

    Standing as an Ind Cons isn’t permitted, but then I recall she didn’t know what an imprint was when she was a PPC, so electoral law obviously wasn’t her strongpoint at the Home Office.

  17. I think that means Rudd’s tenure of the DWP job was even shorter than Stephen Crabb’s was. How many DWP ministers have we been through since the introduction of Universal Credit?

  18. The Lab party along with the LibDems should agree to an election on 31 Oct and let’s get this sorted! This is becoming unbearable.

  19. “The Lab party along with the LibDems should agree to an election on 31 Oct and let’s get this sorted!…”

    So would we leave the EU while the votes were being counted?

  20. The Number 10 line appears to be if it’s justiciable (which they don’t even concede), a Remainer will have to take Court action to prove it.

    But that means only after the EU Summit which ends on Oct 19th (a Saturday).

    So really not much time at all to stop a no deal exit. Just 8 working days in fact (and only 6 or 7 siting days in the House).

    It really is a game of chess/chicken to get MPs and the EU to back any new deal.

  21. @ Rudd did nearly 10 months at the DWP – a few months longer than Crabb.

  22. Tory Candidate here involved in controversy about hustings comments about employment of disabled people and also past social media comments on immigration and Grenfell.

  23. Depressing but utterly unsurprising.

  24. Really quite unpleasant comments about people with disabilities earning less too. Was confronted about it at hustings and said they did not understand value of money.

  25. Isn’t that the attitude that many right wing Tories have to work anyway? That the plebs should be happy with crumbs of the table, and the ‘stupid’ (not my thoughts) plebs deserve even less? I’m not defending her but anyone who doesn’t think the likes of Raab and JRM think like this in private is kidding themselves.

  26. Given that adults with learning disabilities will fall onto Universal Credit they will be sactioned for not job seeking. Quite happy to push you into a job but don’t ask for money

  27. Yes. Depressing beyond belief.

  28. She is now being investigated for Anti-Semitism along with the Tory Candidates in Ashfield and St Helens South and Whiston. The later case seems to me to be the most serious as it resolves around an allegation of the use of the dual loyalty sterotype.

  29. The main character in the current BBC TV drama series Roadkill, Peter Laurence (played by Hugh Laurie), represents Hastings, so presumably this seat.

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