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
2010
Con: 20468 (41%)
Lab: 18475 (37%)
LDem: 7825 (16%)
UKIP: 1397 (3%)
Oth: 1649 (3%)
MAJ: 1993 (4%)
2005*
Con: 16081 (37%)
Lab: 18107 (42%)
LDem: 6479 (15%)
UKIP: 1098 (3%)
Oth: 1239 (3%)
MAJ: 2026 (5%)
2001
Con: 15094 (37%)
Lab: 19402 (47%)
LDem: 4266 (10%)
UKIP: 911 (2%)
Oth: 1545 (4%)
MAJ: 4308 (10%)
1997
Con: 14307 (29%)
Lab: 16867 (34%)
LDem: 13717 (28%)
Oth: 1667 (3%)
MAJ: 2560 (5%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
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.
Links
Comments - 411 Responses on “Hastings & Rye”
  1. Wandsworth Voter

    Chicken running is now explicitly forbidden under CCHQ rules unless an MP’s seat is abolished by boundary changes, or they are deselected.

    Therefore Rudd would need to lose in Hastings then come back in Mid Sussex in a by election if Soames stood down for her.

    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. This partly explains the collapse of the Lib Dems, who were not far off Soames as recently as 2010. OTOH it is a Remain seat largely due to its wealth and large number of commuters, again similar to Croydon South and Bromley/Beckenham. I think in current circumstances Rudd would go down fairly well.

  2. ‘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

  3. “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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

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

  9. 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.

  10. ‘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

  11. 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

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