Lewes

2015 Result:
Conservative: 19206 (38%)
Labour: 5000 (9.9%)
Lib Dem: 18123 (35.9%)
Green: 2784 (5.5%)
UKIP: 5427 (10.7%)
MAJORITY: 1083 (2.1%)

Category: Marginal Conservative seat

Geography: South East, East Sussex. Most of Lewes council area, part of Wealden council area.

Main population centres: Lewes, Newhaven, Seaford.

Profile: A large, sprawling rural seat covering much of the countryside to the North of Brighton, the South Downs and the valley of the river Ouse. Lewes itself is the small picturesque county town of East Sussex, best known for its extensive and sometimes controversial Guy Fawkes Night celebrations, where effigies of Pope Paul V and contemporary figures, such as Osama bin Laden, are burnt. The country house of Glyndebourne, the site of the annual opera festival, is situated just outside the town. At the southern end of the constituency is the more Labour inclined ferry port of Newhaven and the seaside resort turned dormitory town of Seaford.

Politics: The seat returned Conservative MPs for over a century until it was won by the Liberal Democrat Norman Baker in 1997. It was regained by the Conservatives in 2015.


Current MP
MARIA CAULFIELD (Conservative) Former nurse. Brighton and Hove councillor 2007-2011. Contested Caerphilly 2010. First elected as MP for Lewes in 2015.
Past Results
2010
Con: 18401 (37%)
Lab: 2508 (5%)
LDem: 26048 (52%)
UKIP: 1728 (3%)
Oth: 1403 (3%)
MAJ: 7647 (15%)
2005*
Con: 15902 (34%)
Lab: 4169 (9%)
LDem: 24376 (52%)
GRN: 1071 (2%)
Oth: 1034 (2%)
MAJ: 8474 (18%)
2001
Con: 15878 (35%)
Lab: 3317 (7%)
LDem: 25588 (56%)
UKIP: 650 (1%)
MAJ: 9710 (21%)
1997
Con: 19950 (41%)
Lab: 5232 (11%)
LDem: 21250 (43%)
Oth: 256 (1%)
MAJ: 1300 (3%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
MARIA CAULFIELD (Conservative) Nurse. Brighton and Hove councillor 2007-2011. Contested Caerphilly 2010.
LLOYD RUSSELL-MOYLE (Labour) Born 1986, Sussex. Educated at Priory School and Bradford University.
NORMAN BAKER (Liberal Democrat) Born 1957, Aberdeen. Educated at Royal Liberty School and Royal Holloway College. English teacher. Lewes councillor 1987-99, Leader of Lewes council 1991-97, East Sussex councillor 1989-97. Contested Lewes 1992. MP for Lewes 1997 to 2015. Under-Secretary of State for Transport 2010-2013. Minister of State at the Home Office since 2013. A trenchant backbench inquisitor and campaigning MP, Baker stood down as Lib Dem Environment Spokesman in 2006 to concentrate on campaigning for a full investigation into the death of Dr David Kelly. He returned as Lib Dem shadow transport secretary in 2007.
RAY FINCH (UKIP) Engineer. Contested Eastleigh 2010, MEP for South East since 2014.
ALFIE STIRLING (Green) Born 1990. Educated at Priory School and University College London.
Links
Comments - 340 Responses on “Lewes”
  1. *8% even

  2. *8% even.

  3. I think Lewes is a 50/50 fight. Blundell seems like a very strong candidate, Caulfield a terrible one.

    Anecdotally, I’ve heard from a few people that Blundell signs far outstrip Caulfield ones (although obviously that’s just one indicator). It’s a much better LD shot than Eastbourne at this point, seeing as Ansell is a decent MP and Caulfield is useless. The lack of a Green candidate here — and their backing of Blundell — seems to be significant as well.

    I’d predict around 45% for both parties and a narrow Tory win, but it could easily go either way.

    There are only a handful of seats I think the LDs could reasonably still hope to take from the Tories, and this has got to be one of the top three:

    Twickenham, Kingston, Lewes, Oxford West, Bath, Cheltenham, St Ives, maybe still a tiny glimmer of hope in Eastbourne.

  4. That is the kind of baseless character assassination dressed up as fact that Lib Dem campaigns have become famous for.

    Maria Caulfield is actually an unusually diligent and high-profile MP in a region not noted for its hard working Tory MPs. She is quite often on the regional news for something or another.

    There is no way this is a 50/50 seat or anywhere near one of the Lib Dems’ top 3 prospects. The Tories will hold it with a comfortably increased majority.

  5. I would say it’s certainly one of their top ones — top three in my estimation, but top five certainly.

    And what I’ve heard of Caulfield — prattling on about being attacked over things it’s quite clear she’s not being attacked for (usually something to do with religion) — have been entirely negative. Perhaps there’s a different sense of her on the ground, but… who knows.

    Personally, on a guess, I’d say she’ll hold, but I think it could easily be the other way. Frankly, Blundell’s campaign (from what I’ve heard from friends in the area/seen in the news and social media) seems to be very well run, whereas Caulfield’s… doesn’t.

    If I had to take a guess, I’d say it’ll be something like Caulfield 45, Blundell 43, but, again, could easily reverse that or something similar.

  6. Mr Pitt is correct here Blundell is a much nicer candidate than Caulfield and is quietly building up enough of a personal vote to win the day!

  7. Lib dems national polling suggests a disappointing night. Will never forget the shock of the liberals dire results in
    May 2015

  8. Cons hold, increased maj

  9. I think the LDs’ prospects entirely depend on if their targeting operation is better than the last time, which it seems it may be. By targeting ~40 or ~45 seats in 2015, they overextended themselves. They seem to be putting in effort in maybe just 20-25 seats now. The targeting effort in ’97 is a good example: lost vote share, gained seats. Not saying that’ll happen now, but it’s also not implausible they could translate votes to seats better than in ’15, from which they learned a pretty harsh lesson.

    I think Blundell will lose, but narrowly — probably by a comparable margin to 2015, but with the LDs and Cons both up in terms of percentage. But, like Layla Moran in Oxford West, if they keep her as candidate for next time, it’s not implausible that she could build on her result in future. That’s worked for the LDs in the past and frankly is probably their best hope now.

  10. Apparently the Greens have gained the Ouse Valley & Ringmer ward from the Tories. No detailed figures available yet.

  11. Ouse Valley and Ringmer (Lewes)
    GRN: 38.7% (+22)
    CON: 30.6% (+1)
    LDEM: 21.2% (-8)
    LAB: 7.7% (-4)
    UKIP: 1.8% (-12)

    Green GAIN

  12. The Tories have lost their majority on Lewes council after two councillors quit to sit as independents.

  13. An interesting piece by Norman Baker. Not only does he assert that the ‘body in the bag’ spy was murdered by Russians, but also that Stephen Milligan MP was murdered, after discovering Matrix Churchill arms sales to Iraq.

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8924617/NORMAN-BAKER-body-bag-spy-Gareth-Williams-murdered-Russians-smeared-MI6.html

  14. Baker has a long history of believing all sorts of conspiracy theories, albeit the more credible ones

    He’s nothing compared to Louise Bagshaw who’s made a career in the US in believing some of the most preposterous ideas ever mooted – deep state, Quorn – stuff she knows isn’t true just to make money

    Surely that’s the most reprehensible thing you can do in politics

  15. It’s also the political industry’s biggest growth sector…

  16. TIM JONES
    He’s nothing compared to Louise Bagshaw who’s made a career in the US in believing some of the most preposterous ideas ever mooted – deep state, Quorn – stuff she knows isn’t true just to make money

    Are you telling me that Quorn isn’t minced beef?

  17. Q-anon – spell checker changed it

    A belief that a cabal of satan-worshipping Democrats and celebrities is running a global child sex trafficking ring and plotting against President Trump who is fighting the cabal

    As a Trump fan I’m surprised you don’t believe it yourself Mark – I’m sure Lancs does

  18. Lol. I guessed you meant QAnon. I know very little about that. It’s interesting that you’ve assumed I’m a Trump fan – I was actually quite pleased with last week’s election result, and I wasn’t too happy four years ago.

  19. Only joking Mark.

    In the UK liberals and conservatives alike seem to see Trump for what he is – an incompetent bigot.

    18% of Brits apparently have a favourable opinion of Trump, which interestingly what the highest % UKIP ever reached in the opinion polls between 2013/15.

    No prizes for suspecting there is a massive overlap

  20. The interesting question about Trump is whether he was a cunning Machiavellian figure who always got what he wanted, or a privileged idiot who continually failed upwards because he had the right connections.

  21. PT. I’d say the latter surely despite his crass attempts to present himself as the former.

    This is what I don’t get about Trump’s popularity – his innate nastiness

    Politically I don’t agree with the likes of say Ronald Reagan but he was a charming and persuasive person who didn’t seek to rule by creating division. Thus I can understand his appeal to people on the radical right.

    But with Trump, I just don’t get it

  22. Perhaps he was channeling the anger felt by his voters?

  23. Anger and what though

    The one thing Trump’s base had in common – as well as their alleged bigotry – is that they were almost exclusively white – and as we all know, in the US white peoples have generally had it the way they want it – and very few are underprivileged

    Taxes are low, the cost of living in most red states is low, so I don’t really get what they have to be angry

    It it’s inequality and a sense that they have been ‘left behind’ then perhaps they should look at themselves as it’s they who send these millionaire Republicans who promise to cut taxes for the rich to Congress by sky high margins

  24. I think a big part of the electoral appeal of a “bad guy” like Donald Trump is that he doesn’t set standards of decency for the rest of us. Whenever I listened to Obama speeches, I felt like I wanted to become a better person, I found that very inspiring. (Some of it was empty rhetoric, but damn was the rhetoric itself good.) But I can imagine, for a certain type of voter, that Trump has the opposite appeal – his deliberately grotesque behaviour is a signal that we can forgive our own personal flaws, if being an almost self-parodically awful person is acceptable for the President, why should anyone else worry about doing the right thing?

  25. “I think a big part of the electoral appeal of a “bad guy” like Donald Trump (blah blah blah)”

    Trump’s electoral appeal is over-stated. The exit polls asked “did you vote for x mostly because of his policies or his personality”. In excess of 90% of Trump voters stated it was because of his policies. For Biden there was a much bigger vote for his personality (though still lower than for his policies).

    I know a fair few Republican voters in the US and most of them vote Republican because they are rich, want to pay low taxes, oppose abortion, oppose public healthcare (delete as applicable) and most don’t like Trump that much. Same as I and millions like me still voted Tory last year despite not liking Boris much.

    Don’t forget Trump underperformed both the senate and congressional elections on the same day.

  26. Perhaps part of the reason the Republicans did better than expected is because the Democrats are increasingly becoming a party of the liberal left – in the same way the Republicans have become a party of the conservative right.

    Just as you don’t really get any liberal Republicans, I can’t think of many conservative Democrats. I can think of many moderate Democrats – of which Biden is one – but there aren’t many conservative ones and the loudest voices in today’s Democrat party – and those that tend to get most media attention – Sanders, AOC – are just as unappealing to the majority of everyday Americans as the Make America Great brigade

  27. Hemmy: I suspect the Americans you know are through your work in – is it the petrochemicals industry? I imagine that the Americans you know are significantly wealthier than average. The fact that most Republicans you know are rich is maybe just because most Americans period you know are rich.

    There simply aren’t enough wealthy Americans for Trump to have built his winning 2016 coalition with them alone. Thing is, the other half of that coalition – the rednecks, for want of a better word – are the sort of people with fairly closed worldviews who are unlikely to know people from overseas, so again by referring to anecdotal evidence from your American friends there is likely a huge sampling bias going on.

  28. HH, it sounds as if you know some really charming Americans. I do recall reading elsewhere on these pages that you wouldn’t vote for Boris as PM, but it seems that when it came down to it, you did anyway.

    Remember Mitt Romney was caught on tape bemoaning that “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what” in 2012, in reference to Obama. Well, in the past 20 years, the Republican presidential candidate hasn’t won less than 45% of the vote. In the post-war period, no Republican has polled less than 37% in a presidential election. So to borrow from Romney – there are a lot of people out there who will vote for the president no matter what.

    PT – I suspect there is a “sampling bias” there. I believe HH works in steel, from what I can gather here. Many of us will only know people in our own little bubble. But bearing in mind the election results above, the GOP have a good starting base. Obama did poll lower than 47% during the election year in 2012 actually. The Dem candidate hasn’t gone below 48% since 1992, when Clinton got 43%. The post-war low for a Dem presidential candidate is 37% in 1972. So they can start off on about 48%, but they need to make the electoral college work for them.

  29. HH 16.11.20 2.17pm

    I’m not sure where that 90% poll comes from, but there are also plenty of others showing Trump’s unusual, cult-like following which is why he gets such high ‘strongly approve’ ratings even whilst his overall approval ratings are slightly net negative (including unusually high ‘strongly disapprove’ ratings).

    They may support his policies, but that’s also the point about what they like about HIM – in their eyes, he’s done what he said insofar as he was able:

    * 3 SCOTUS Justices appointed with strong conservative credentials
    * Reduced regulation and taxes and generally helped the economy
    * Stood up to China and Iran
    * Tough on law and order, doesn’t pussyfoot with violent protests for fear of upsetting BLM etc.
    * Constantly castigated the aloof and liberal elites represented Hilary Clinton and the establishment in both parties in general
    * In general, articulated very eloquently THEIR thoughts and frustrations on many topics of the day – part of his genius actually, regardless of how sincere one thinks he is in it.

    We might disagree with some of the above, but that’s not the point as that’s how his base sees it.
    So you have to understand what’s meant by the context of these questions / poll responses.

  30. “I know a fair few Republican voters in the US and most of them vote Republican because they are rich, want to pay low taxes, oppose abortion, oppose public healthcare (delete as applicable) and most don’t like Trump that much.”

    Clearly the ones you know are far removed from the ‘small town’ American types who constitute about 35% of those who voted in the presidential election (or 75% of Republicans / Independents who voted for Trump, put another way), and many of whom are those who, from what I can tell, only just about scrape a living together each year as well as putting a premium on honesty, hard work and law and order. Mostly very far removed from the more violent Proud Boys types who operate on the fringe and also support Trump.

    They love Trump to the point that if a negative article is written about him, it must be biased; and if a good one is written, it’s an honest one. In other words, you just try changing their minds now with any amount of mountains of evidence!

  31. “HH 16.11.20 2.17pm

    I’m not sure where that 90% poll comes from”

    CNN’s exit poll. They discussed it extensively on election night whilst awaiting the first results.

  32. A stat which really surprised me was that only 46% of Americans think Trump should concede the election

    Given he’s lost fair and square and his legal challenges are almost certain to be laughed out of court, I find that quite literally unbelievable and it shows the effect on the country four years of Trump has had

    That in itself is one hell of an accomplishment

  33. That doesn’t make sense, since over 50% of Americans voted for Biden.

  34. “A stat which really surprised me was that only 46% of Americans think Trump should concede the election”

    Sounds like fake news to me. I saw a poll stating that nearly 80% of Americans accepted Biden had won the election, including about 60% of Republican voters.

  35. From yesterday’s the times, page 35. And I quote. A Poll carried out for Politico indicated that Trump’s refusal to accept Biden’s victory and continued search for fraud was widely shared with only 46% of Americans saying he should concede immediately including only 17% of Republicans

  36. To be honest, even if the 80% figure Hemmy cites is true, 20% of Americans wanting to overthrow democracy is still quite frightening.

  37. “To be honest, even if the 80% figure Hemmy cites is true, 20% of Americans wanting to overthrow democracy is still quite frightening.”

    Many of the 20% said “don’t know” rather than outright believing that Trump had been cheated of victory.

    Here’s the poll anyway

    https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-usa-election-poll-idUKKBN27Q3DW

  38. 60% of Republican voters said they thought Trump lost due to unfair play.

    If I come across again where/who the pollster was (it was a ‘proper’ one, reported via ? Politico), I’ll post on here.

    Shows how effective the social media / turf war, combined with Trump’s tweets and speeches, is. These people clearly actually believe it (even though Trump’s inner circle mostly or entirely don’t, and are whipping things up for political gain and ongoing financial support from the base).

  39. I doubt that many of Trump’s supporters genuinely believe he’s lost the election due to fraud. They want to believe it – sure – but Trump and his legal team haven’t produced one jot of evidence. They are backing it but because they because they believe the lies but because they want Trump back in the Whitehouse for a second term. Surely it takes more than the ramblings or a proven and inept liar even in today’s alt truth world.

    Funnily enough I dreamt last night that there was a re-run and Trump walked it. I was pleased to wake up after that nightmare.

  40. Try checking out parler (Trumpworld’s alternative to twitter)

    I think many of Trump supporters really do believe the fraud, they believe it, are being fed more and more ‘proof’ and are really angry about it.

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