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
Con: 28329 (51%)
Lab: 3689 (7%)
LDem: 20927 (37%)
UKIP: 1423 (3%)
Oth: 1487 (3%)
MAJ: 7402 (13%)
Con: 23765 (48%)
Lab: 6280 (13%)
LDem: 17875 (36%)
UKIP: 1574 (3%)
MAJ: 5890 (12%)
Con: 21150 (46%)
Lab: 8693 (19%)
LDem: 14252 (31%)
UKIP: 1126 (2%)
Oth: 601 (1%)
MAJ: 6898 (15%)
Con: 23231 (43%)
Lab: 9969 (19%)
LDem: 16377 (31%)
Oth: 740 (1%)
MAJ: 6854 (13%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
NICHOLAS SOAMES (Conservative) See above.
DAISY COOPER (Liberal Democrat) Born Suffolk. Educated at Nottingham University. Strategic planner. Contested Suffolk Coastal 2010.
BEKI ADAM (Independent) Born Cuckfield. Runs a farm business.
Comments - 321 Responses on “Sussex Mid”
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  1. Electorate:

    2000: 73,822
    2006: 73,997
    2012: 78,434

  2. In terms of vote share, what effect will fracking have on the Tories here? As the Greens have been the only ones being vocal in their opposition to it, like in Balcombe the other day (see the Mid Sussex Times and Green MEP Keith Taylor’s fracking film expose Drill Baby Drill), how much if any effect will this have should it be continued and grow louder as it travels across the SE? Also what effect will it have on UKIP as protest votes are mostly going to them now, but they are in favour of fracking and FFs, despite intense opposition in particular in the true blue areas one would expect them to do well in.

  3. i think h. hemmelig now lives here

  4. Tories flocking together – birds of a feather. Its their electoral problem.

  5. It’ll give them more seats at the next boundary review.

  6. Depends how they are worked out – but it means they are still piling up more votes in areas where they already have no real chance of losing

  7. To what extent is the LD vote protest votes/Tories in denial here?

  8. The Greens are too left wing to be able to make hay with the fracking issue here. The Lib Dems are hampered by being part of the government.

    Therefore if there is any political benefit from such protests it will go to UKIP, regardless of what their national stance on the issue is

  9. “Tories flocking together – birds of a feather. Its their electoral problem.”

    That’s a lazy stereotype Mike – and in our own case it’s not even factually correct. We are moving here from a far safer Tory seat (Beckenham).

  10. @HHemmelig
    Even if voters feel threatened in their day lives and know that no party is/will be doing anything about it save us Greens?

  11. But realistically, voting Green won’t get anything done about it, not in a general election anyway. And by crafting their whole appeal as a party to attracting trendy lefties in places like Brighton and Oxford, the Greens have lost the significant potential they might have had with rural and suburban small-c conservatives.

    Voting Lib Dem in enough numbers to win the seat would help to elect a Labour-led government who might be more cautious on fracking, if only so as not to lose votes in Lancashire. But realistically the Tories won’t lose here.

  12. Yeah no I agree, but do you really think the Greens lefty streak will be that muxh of a turn-off. I mean it’s not like we’re pc or anything like that πŸ˜‰

  13. I don’t know about this constituency, or the impact of the fracking issue, but in general I think the Green’s appeal is pretty limited.

    I read their manifesto at the last election and it’s pretty authentic left-wing stuff. I can’t see it having mass appeal and I also think that, whilst I don’t personally take to her, Caroline Lucas had some appeal. I don’t think Natalie Bennett has anything like the same appeal, and actually comes across quite badly (her performance on QT a couple of months ago was a good example).

  14. If the LD vote really is in deep trouble in Haywards Heath then perhaps the big man could double his majority, to coin a phrase.

    Sorry Mark and Gloy.

  15. HH & Chris K – I agree re the Green leader. In fact I was struck by how woefully poor both the new Plaid leader and her were on both The Daily Politics and BBC Question Time.

  16. I agree.about the leadership unfortunately. What if Caroline was to be reinstated?

  17. “I agree.about the leadership unfortunately. What if Caroline was to be reinstated?”

    It’s a matter of focus. Lucas seems to be spending all her energies campaigning against Page 3 girls and against undercover police officers sleeping with activists they infiltrate….both of these are causes that will no doubt go down well in the vegan cafes of Brighton Pavilion, but in middle England they are seen as a lefty irrelevance.

    As I said before, Natalie Bennett wouldn’t look out of place as a third rate actress on Neighbours.

  18. Lancs Observer – I agree re Leeann Wood. I thought she was lightweight in the extreme on QT, particularly in relation to economic policy (one of her central themes seemed to be a desire to raid corporate pension schemes to fund her public schemes – I work for such a scheme and I suspect that this policy would not end well!).

    In fairness to LW, she does have some personal charm that Bennett lacks so is at least ahead on that front.

  19. Agree with HH’s point.

    I think the Green’s problem is that they are a very left-wing party with an environmental cover, rather than a true environmental party with left-wing leanings.

    I think they may pick up some general anti-politician support at the next GE and maybe, just maybe might pick up a further seat. But I think they’ll always be on the margins.

  20. I’d have to agree with that. The Greens basically cater for a niche market. Most people who want more left-wing policies than we currently have will prefer the more traditional outlook of the Labour Party.

  21. I think the Greens will always be caught by the electoral system.
    If the two main parties fell apart there would be a natural divide of Labour into two or three different parts, including a red-green option.
    The centrist greens and some LD’s may find a home together in a largely apolitical National Trust-type party.

  22. I am very much in agreement with most here.

    If the greens focused on green issues, protecting the countryside and green belt and opposing huge new estates on the edges of towns then they would have broader support. All the left wing politics probably does turn people off the party.

    If they concencentrated on the above issues as well as find a more centrist position on the bread and butter issues than they would prove quite popular in small towns up and down England.

  23. The National Trust party would appeal to a lot of rural, Countryside Alliance Tories as well.

  24. When they polled 50,000 votes in seats such as Sussex in the 1989 Euros they probably did.

    Tories who wanted a rest that sweltering summer
    after a decade of being woken up at 4am for 10 years by that hard lady Mrs Thatcher.

  25. How I wish we could have someone like Thatcher now πŸ˜‰

  26. There can’t be someone like Thatcher now because there is virtually no-one in the political classes who hold the same kind of social views as she did.

  27. And no-one at all who would have the appetite for confronting vested interests. Indeed, a cynic might say that today’s politicians are mostly in the business of either appeasing or pimping for vested interests.

  28. I fear we won’t see anyone like that ever again.

  29. Protests are very quickly gathering momentum here, having reached the national press. Many ‘hippy’ and middle class professional types as well as several mothers have got involved and supposedly tens of thousands of rural Tories are going to desert them. They won’t go Labour or UKIP, and with the LDs conspiring with the antagonists, if this does happen surely there will be a massive Green surge in the Sussex seats/on the Sussex councils?

  30. You hope….

  31. I thought that Balcombe was in Horsham constituency in any case? And I fear that WindsofChange is indulging in wishful thinking on a grand scale.

  32. I recall the last time the Liberals collapsed, the Greens took 30% in the Euro elections but failed to win a single seat. The would have won loads of seats on the current multi member regional constituencies…and the must have been ahead in a number of Westminster constituencies.

  33. I recalled the Green vote being 30% but it was actually 15%…which would still be enough to win a few Westminster constituencies but it is impossible to know which ones.

  34. Horsham? I don’t know? πŸ™‚ Even the DM is publicising the protesters’ anger with the Tories- there must be something there?

  35. It will give various anti-Tory parties a slight boost but won’t affect the overall result of the constituency much.

  36. So I’m being over-optimistic then? πŸ˜‰ What about the effect on the council?

  37. stop asking questions! Just tell us what you think instead of looking for approbation all the time – it’s rather grating.
    The possibility of the local result in Balcombe itself being affected cannot be discounted.

  38. Incidentally I can confirm that Balcombe is in Horsham, not this constituency, as I thought. It’s one of a number of villages (others are Turners Hill, Crawley Down & that part of Copthorne which is in W Sussex) which were moved from Crawley to Horsham in 1997. It may have been in Mid Sussex from 1974 to 1983 though.

  39. My 2015 forecast here:

    Con 38
    UKIP 22
    LD 18
    Lab 11
    Green 6
    Others 5

  40. Highly unlikely that UKIP will jump from 2.5% to 22%. Not their type of seat. I would doubt that they would pick up more than 6-8% of the vote here at the most.

  41. I agree – I don’t think C would lose that many votes to UKIP.
    Looks like the Others are too high aswell.

  42. Not one of Alexander’s better forecasts IMHO.

  43. I live here and my sense is that the Tories would very likely do better if they had a more assiduous constituency MP. Despite his modest majority, Soames is invisible locally and he and his local party are very complacent. When he is reported in the local press it is usually in a negative and/or highly class-conscious light, for example getting done for speeding in his Rolls or unlawfully riding quad bikes on the road during a hunt meeting. And I say this as someone who generally agrees with him politically.

    That said, the area is receiving a lot of in-migration from the more Tory suburbs of south London which is bolstering the Tory voter base and will perhaps weaken the Lib Dems a bit more than average. UKIP did well in the local elections but the district is a bit too prosperous for them to do all that well in a general election, especially now the fracking issue is dead. I expect at least a modest increase in the Tory majority.

  44. I think A Brown has become a UKIP supporter and hacked into Gloy Plopwell’s account.

    Sorry I couple of beers earlier.

  45. Re fracking, polls in the NW showed most were in favour. A majority in fact. I also doubt if many of the hippies who were with Bez in Salford are on the Electoral Roll.

  46. “I couple of beers earlier”

    – I bet it was quite a few!

  47. Interesting about Soames. I’ve wondered why the Tory result here always seems underwhelming, when you look at the recovery in similar seats and particularly the 1992 result.

  48. ‘That said, the area is receiving a lot of in-migration from the more Tory suburbs of south London’

    But the Tories are virtually on the same level here with regards to their majority as they were in 97 – and there’s not many seats where that is the case

    The Tories used to rack up huge majorities in the 1980s under arch wet Tim Renton – who from what I understand was much like Soames with regards to his invisibility

    You’d expect towns like East Grinstead and Burgess Hill to have a strong Lib Dem pressence

  49. It’s fair to say that generally speaking Soames has done better than the municipal Tories though since 2010 that might no longer be the case.

  50. “It’s fair to say that generally speaking Soames has done better than the municipal Tories though since 2010 that might no longer be the case.”

    That’s because the Tory councillors are as lazy as Soames is. I live in a marginal Con-LD ward and have never heard from my councillor, not a single leaflet or newsletter, same goes for Soames.

    “But the Tories are virtually on the same level here with regards to their majority as they were in 97 – and there’s not many seats where that is the case”

    A lot of the in-migration is very recent. There have been a lot of new houses built since 2010 at least here in the north of the seat. Most of my neighbours are recent incomers from London (as indeed are we).

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