Mid Sussex

2015 Result:
Conservative: 32268 (56.1%)
Labour: 7982 (13.9%)
Lib Dem: 6604 (11.5%)
Green: 2453 (4.3%)
UKIP: 6898 (12%)
Loony: 329 (0.6%)
Independent: 958 (1.7%)
MAJORITY: 24286 (42.2%)

Category: Ultra-safe Conservative seat

Geography: South East, West Sussex. Part of the Mid Sussex council area.

Main population centres: East Grinstead, Haywards Heath, Burgess Hill, Cuckfield.

Profile: A long, twisty seat along the eastern side of West Sussex. The seat consists of three towns, East Grinstead, Haywards Heath and Burgess Hill, and a rural area to the west around the village of Cuckfield. The area is on the rail line from Brighton to London, and is mainly an affluent middle class commuter area, though is also home to company headquarters and businesses in its own right. The village of Hickstead is situated in the seat, but its famous showjumping course is actually just over the boundary in Arundel and South Downs.

Politics: The seat has been represented by the Conservatives since its creation in 1974. Though the 70s and 80s it was a rock solid Conservative fortress, but during the years of Liberal Democrat strength the majority here was cut to four figures. With the Lib Dem collapse the Conservatives once again enjoy an overwhelming majority.


Current MP
NICHOLAS SOAMES (Conservative) Born 1948, Croydon, the grandson of Sir Winston Churchill. Educated at Eton. Former Equerry to Prince Charles and stockbroker. MP for Crawley 1983-1997. First elected as MP for Mid Sussex in 1997. junior agriculture minister 1992-1994, Minister of State for the armed forces 1994-1997. Shadow Defence secretary 2003-2005.
Past Results
2010
Con: 28329 (51%)
Lab: 3689 (7%)
LDem: 20927 (37%)
UKIP: 1423 (3%)
Oth: 1487 (3%)
MAJ: 7402 (13%)
2005*
Con: 23765 (48%)
Lab: 6280 (13%)
LDem: 17875 (36%)
UKIP: 1574 (3%)
MAJ: 5890 (12%)
2001
Con: 21150 (46%)
Lab: 8693 (19%)
LDem: 14252 (31%)
UKIP: 1126 (2%)
Oth: 601 (1%)
MAJ: 6898 (15%)
1997
Con: 23231 (43%)
Lab: 9969 (19%)
LDem: 16377 (31%)
Oth: 740 (1%)
MAJ: 6854 (13%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
NICHOLAS SOAMES (Conservative) See above.
GREG MOUNTAIN (Labour)
DAISY COOPER (Liberal Democrat) Born Suffolk. Educated at Nottingham University. Strategic planner. Contested Suffolk Coastal 2010.
TOBY BROTHERS (UKIP)
MIRANDA DIBOLL (Green)
BEKI ADAM (Independent) Born Cuckfield. Runs a farm business.
BARON VON THUNDERCLAP (Loony)
Links
Comments - 321 Responses on “Sussex Mid”
  1. As I expected, Soames has endorsed Rory Stewart for the leadership. Though as Stewart has only two endorsements so far and is a May loyalist Remainer, he has practically zero chance in the contest.

    In the final stages it will be interesting to see whether those on the Soames wing of the party swing behind Hunt, Gove or Johnson. That will likely be a key determinant of who gets to the final two.

  2. Rory is seen as likely to endorse Gove out of those three – possibly so would Soames.

  3. Depends on how things go. I don’t think Gove will make it to the final stages. There must be a nightmare scenario where Boris makes it to the final 2 alongside either Raab or an ERG headbanger like Baker, making Boris the more liberal choice. That would be the dream scenario for Boris as the wets would have to come on board and he’d be seen as a unifier.

  4. Some of the wets are preparing to endorse Johnson if he is facing a Raab/Baker/McVey opposition. Equally others are sounding like such a scenario would confirm the government will collapse within the next year.

  5. In all fairness, I would also prefer Boris to Raab, Baker or McVey.

    We can expect a lot of Tory MPs to try to engineer an outcome which avoids that kind of choice.

  6. ‘In all fairness, I would also prefer Boris to Raab, Baker or McVey.’

    Whilst Stewart the only candidate from the Left of the Party, he has hardly any chance of making the run off and I’m sure MPs will do all they can to make the run off between a candidate from the Right (Johnson or Raab) verses one of the centre (Gove Hunt, Javid)

    If the choice were between Johnson Raab, Baker or McVey, I think even I would back Boris every time

  7. It’s only fair to point out that Wets are split between a few candidates. Most are backing Hunt, but Ed Vaizey, Bob Neill, Giles Watling are backing Gove. Helen Grant & Hugo Swire are supporting Raab and Jack Berry & Stuart Andrew are running the Boris campaign.

    It’s often about who gets on with you (or rather doesn’t), so you get some strange bedfellows – as well as outright lies. After all some of the declared Davis MPs didn’t vote for him.

    But only 80 have so far declared who they support.

  8. The wets really have nowhere to go. (Unless you count Rory Stewart, who has gone rogue. Admittedly in a rather charming fashion, but still he’s gone rogue.)

  9. I don’t think Watling, Berry and especially Squire – who had to be bribed with a knighthood to support staying in the EU – can be described as wets, but a lot of them do seem to be backing Gove, whose candidacy seems to be on the ascendancy

  10. Jake Berry was the wettest Tory MP (his voting record during the 2010-2015 Coalition years was featured on I think ConHome at the time). I think I mentioned on here that I’d wondered – other than his Freemasonry [one of only 3 Con MPs to declare it] – why he was backing Boris back in 2016. Then in emerged he was shagging Boris’s asst – who he then left his wife for.

  11. Surely Watling must have been a Leaver to have been selected in Clacton. I doubt a wet MP there would last very long.

  12. IIRC he was first selected to fight the 2014 by-election, back when (a) the Tory Party was significantly more reasonable and (b) CCHQ had more influence over selections. Then, in a snap election, it’s quite natural that the local party would have gone with the previous candidate rather than frantically chasing round for a new one.

  13. Watling was on Question Time a while back and confirmed that he voted to Remain (I was shocked too). He came across as likeable and spoke pretty well, but was rather lightweight.

  14. Thanks, I stand corrected.

    “He came across as likeable and spoke pretty well, but was rather lightweight.”

    Well two out of three ain’t bad, as Meatloaf said. A large number of politicians these days fail on all those counts – dislikeable, speak like fingernails running down a blackboard, and rather lightweight.

  15. ‘speak like fingernails running down a blackboard’.

    So true. Irrespective of party, there are some truly excruciating voices on.display in British politics at the moment. I.did like Cameron’s voice and Emily Thornberry has an excellent voice (notwithstanding some of the cobblers she comes out with). Much of the rest are awful, frankly.

  16. The best voice in British politics belongs to Geoffrey Cox.

    This is not a matter of opinion. It’s the objective truth.

  17. “The best voice in British politics belongs to Geoffrey Cox.”

    Maybe if Brian Blessed is doing the judging. I’m not impressed.

    I agree with Tristan on this – Cameron was an excellent speaker. May too robotic and nervous.

    Particularly on the Labour benches, there are now loads of MPs incapable of pronouncing their t’s properly (I believe this is called improper use of glottal stops?). It drives me crazy. I went to a shit comprehensive school yet even there in the 1980s the teachers would have told us off for speaking like that in a public speech.

  18. Yes Watling was a CCHQ-import from memory (I think that’s what happens in by-elections these days – or it was under DC/GO), so v much a Cameroon then no-hoper v Clacton’s v well known MP defector.

    In fact the former Bread actor was about to come off the Candidates’ List and retire when the snap election was called.

    All Cons by-election PPCs really were dire during that Parliament – with even the victor in Newark being named Generic due to his leaflets – although the vicar in Greater Manchester was possibly the worst.

  19. I visited Clacton a few months ago and the Conservative Association office is on the main road a few streets from the rail station. It was plastered top to toe with posters of Giles Watling giving him opinion on this that & the other. It definitely gave the impression that he was some kind of narcissistic man of the people populist type, kind of how you would expect Peter Bone’s constituency office to look like.

  20. ‘The best voice in British politics belongs to Geoffrey Cox.
    This is not a matter of opinion. It’s the objective truth.’

    Not for me I’m afraid…far too shouty and theatrical. Whilst Cameron’s accent is what I’d call ‘pleasant posh’, his poshness is rather sneery, forced and alienating.

  21. Cameron’s the kind of guy Middle England parents would love their daughter to marry. Pleasant posh is a good description. Almost the picture perfect family man.

    I would not like my daughter to marry a Geoffrey Cox and I very much doubt I’m alone.

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