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 - 300 Responses on “Sussex Mid”
  1. I live in Burgess Hill, previously HH and have had some contact with some of the candidates. I am not a member of a party.

    Toby Brothers (UKIP) is very confident of 1st or 2nd on 7 May, I know that’s his job but it wouldn’t be a shock to me. He was well-applauded at a hustings this week, even though it was primarily on environmental issues and one would have expected a more hostile audience for him.

    Cooper is quite capable and likeable and I could see her holding 2nd place before scooting off to another constituency with better chances next time round.

    The independent, Beki Adam, comes over very well and may get protest votes from those who find UKIP distasteful.

    People are becoming more fed up with Soames but I’d be very surprised for him to lose it. I could see a significantly reduced majority for him.

  2. Conservative Hold. 10,000 maj

  3. Labour came second here for I think the first time in the seat’s history with the LDs fourth:

    Con 32,268 (56.1%)
    Lab 7,982 (13.9%)
    UKIP 6,898 (12.0%)
    LD 6,604 (11.5%)
    Green 2,453 (4.3%)
    Ind 958 (1.7%)
    Loony 329 (0.6%)

    Con +5.4%
    Lab +7.3%
    UKIP +9.5%
    LD -26.0%
    Green +3.1%

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/politics/constituencies/E14000817

  4. Excellent result for Soames and confirms H Hemmelig’s views about the seat’s demographics.

  5. Daisy Cooper didn’t do very well.

  6. Happy I at least managed to get my own seat right.

    Soames’s 24,000 majority came without lifting a finger.

    This seat’s politics are now becoming heavily influenced by white flight from outer south London…primarily Croydon and Bromley. It has bolstered Tory support significantly, though it is a more right wing lower middle class kind of Conservatism than used to prevail in the seat, which was at times susceptible to the Lib Dems. UKIP could probably have done significantly better had they campaigned.

  7. Where now for Daisy Cooper after a terrible result like that I wonder?

    Interesting to hear about how the area is changing demographically there Hemmelig BTW. Thanks.

  8. By the way, has anyone managed to find what the final results were for England? The BBC broke the 2010 election results down into their national and regional components but did not do so for this election- yet another sign of its decline I am afraid.

  9. I noticed that too

  10. I’m having to spend many hours doing the regional results myself because of the BBC’s laziness. Of course they could have done it very easily with their sophisticated computer systems.

  11. I had a chuckle at Quentin Letts’ sketch of Cameron’s triumphant appearance before the 1922 committee:

    ‘A pink-faced Sir Nicholas Soames, overheating like a Ford Zephyr climbing Hellfire Pass, said, though we were still half an hour from the noonday gun: ‘I’m off for a cocktail.’

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3077556/What-Sturgeon-posing-s-not-MP-QUENTIN-LETTS-day-Scots-MPs-hit-London

  12. They also haven’t bothered to do the seat totals for the local elections.
    Links to council web-sites only of course provides more detail but is slower if requiring a summary of totals.

  13. Yes the BBC’s efforts this time around are very poor. The interactive results map is harder to use than the 2010 version as well.

  14. Maybe even harder to use than the 2005 version, which is still available to look at.

  15. Everyone uses websites on mobiles these days, which explains the worse service for those of us with more demanding wants.

  16. Mid Sussex council is now a one-party council with all the seats being represented by Conservatives.

  17. Really disappointing. The stupendous momentum just went backwards temporary like stuck in reverse gear. Will get the show on the road and move forward vigorously to just be in time to win this seat back (and an overall majority)

  18. An extremely interesting article on ConHome explaining why the local opposition to expanding Gatwick will be much more stubborn than is realised at a national level, and at least a match for the opposition to Heathrow’s third runway:

    http://www.conservativehome.com/platform/2015/06/adrian-pepper-aviation-expansion-the-perils-of-going-for-gatwick.html

    It very much chimes with the feeling on the ground here and in neighbouring seats, where despite getting zero national coverage the expansion of Gatwick was by far the biggest issue in the local general election campaigns. It made up about three quarters of Soames’ single election leaflet.

    Though the surrounding true blue seats are vociferously opposed to expansion, Crawley is much more half and half, as it houses a large proportion of the airport’s workforce.

  19. Of course there wouldn’t be an airport at all at Gatwick if the views of local residents had been taken into account at the time it was first developed.

  20. Of course we’d all still be travelling by horseback if the views of local residents had been taken into account…….

  21. Indeed, nor would monstrosities like the Euston Arch have been demolished or things of beauty such as the Colliers Wood tower or Birmingham’s bullring have been erected. We might even have had a dual carriageway across Christchurch meadow in Oxford.

  22. All true, but from a political standpoint the airport expansion issue could get quite difficult for the government, given their tiny majority. Both the Heathrow and Gatwick options will upset a considerable number of Tory MPs and voters, and in the case of Heathrow will result in a clear broken promise. As the article says, Cameron and Osborne are said to favour different options.

  23. Sir Nicholas Soames, than whom nobody could be more establishment, has been attacking Tom Watson in the House of Commons, as I understand it for making unwarranted allegations of child abuse.

    That may well be, Whistle-blowers work under intense pressure and they are likely not to get things 100% right, particularly in very deep-seated and complicated situations.

    However, if Sir Nicholas is to intervene in such matters should he not also concentrate on sorting out the aftermath of very serious abuse cases in which there is no doubt that the perpetrator (or perpetrators) was guilty, not least the case of ex-TV peronality Saville? From what came out, it is clear that the “establishment” has been riddled with criminality and corruption. Ordinary people like me do not have the information to identify where exactly these problems are. So Sir Nicholas Soames, having decided to involves himself in such matters, should seek to sort things out on our behalf without fear or favour.

  24. “However, if Sir Nicholas is to intervene in such matters should he not also concentrate on sorting out the aftermath of very serious abuse cases in which there is no doubt that the perpetrator (or perpetrators) was guilty, not least the case of ex-TV peronality Saville?”

    I think your attitude demonstrates part of the problem here Frederic. There is not just doubt whether Savile was guilty, legally he is not guilty. He was never tried in a court of law, now never can be, thus in the eyes of the law he is innocent and no matter how damning allegations are, they can only ever be unproven allegations.

    The fundamental tenet of innocence until proven guilty is being seriously threatened in these kind of cases.

  25. Agreed. I mean anyone could pretty much accuse Saville of anything from here on in and it would be faithfully reported in the media.

    The whole thing is a mess. Serious cases of child sex abuse and rape are being mixed in with ‘so and so ageing male celebrity pinched my arse in 1972’. The word ‘paedophile’ is bandied around completely out of context. The first type of historic allegation should absolutely be investigated, the latter is a total waste of police time.

  26. I totally agree.

    There is massive scepticism about the way all this is heading amongst the public at large, especially those old enough to actually remember life in the 60s and 70s. Most people look back at their childhood sentimentally and simply do not recognise this idea that those years were an appallingly evil time where children were forever dodging paedophiles. I’d go back to my late-70s and early-80s childhood in a heartbeat, and regret that many of the freedoms I had then are denied to my own kids today.

    I remember sitting behind an old lady on the train last year loudly ridiculing the criminal sentence given to Max Clifford for pinching a few arses, or words to that effect, when murderers regularly get sentences of half that length. The evil mother in Scotland jailed for just 4 years for beating her own toddler to death when he vomited, for example.

  27. This is what happens when you start a witch hunt and whip up hysteria.

  28. I was hoping it would die down and we’d recover some sanity and a sense of perspective, but 3 years in it still hasn’t happened.

  29. I posted a message a couple of days ago which is still “Awaiting Moderation”. So perhpas I can put the point more briefly.

    The problem of sexual standards at Westminster is so serious that it is not going to go away in three years, or ever. And the courts are never going to get to the bottom of it. A number of the people concerned are dead and it is just too complex and expensive to bring everybody who might be involved to tria.

    On the other hand people who have been traumatised need and deserve restitution.

    In the end, the only solution is for people to desert en masse the parties which have for many years allowed this sort of thing to go on..

  30. A gloriously frank interview with Sir Nicholas on ConHome.

    http://www.conservativehome .com/highlights /2016/03/interview-nicholas-soames-compares-brexiteers-to-an-alsatian-that-must-be-kicked-really-hard-in-the-balls.html

    H.Hemmelig will presumably approve of his MP’s support for Europe – and perhaps also his views on the Daily Mail? 🙂

    Of specific interest to this site is the remark ‘…I’m coming to the end of my political life..’

    Now I’m sure that doesn’t come as a shock to any of us, but nevertheless it is (I think) the clearest indication we’ve had that this may be his last parliament.

  31. ‘I’m coming to the end of my political life’

    And what a stunning political life that has been.

  32. Lol…indeed. God bless Fatty and his ‘wardrobe’ like proportions. A career that his been nothing short of a triumph. From Prrimce Charles such any in the mid 90’s to…Prince Charles sycophant in the 2010’s, he’s been nothing if not consistent (in both character and girth).

  33. Such any should read ‘sycophant’ arghhh.

  34. Retract those claws, Runnymede 😉

  35. “H.Hemmelig will presumably approve of his MP’s support for Europe – and perhaps also his views on the Daily Mail?”

    I quite like the Mail except for the fact that its website is dominated by celeb trash.

    My views on Soames are quite finely balanced. I agree with him on the substance of most things including Europe, though he’s quite an ideological European whereas my vote for Remain will be based mostly on self-interest. Given that, though the interview was a good read I don’t think it’s very helpful for him to be so aggressive with those who disagree with him. In general I really dislike his snobbish, military bully style which shines through the article like a searchlight. He’s also an absolutely terrible constituency MP. The 24,000 majority he is bragging about in no way reflects his efforts on the ground.

  36. ‘… I don’t think it’s very helpful for him to be so aggressive with those who disagree with him’

    He’s not really got anything to lose, *if* this is his last term.

    He’s always been a Cameron loyalist. Closer (politically) to the PM and Major, than Thatcher.
    In seems like most Old Etonians are on the ‘moderate’ wing.

  37. ‘ In general I really dislike his snobbish, military bully style which shines through the article like a searchlight’

    Amazing how genetics works.

    He certainly resembles his Grandad physically, but there is not the slightest trace of his Grandfather’s wit and intellect – in fact little trace of any intellect at all…

  38. ‘He’s not really got anything to lose, *if* this is his last term.’‘

    He’s always been one to call a spade a spade anyhow Soames – he’s never been one of those calculating careerist MPs willing to whistle to whichever way the wind blows in an attempt to curry favour

    Soames might be a snob – but personally I think the Tories were in a much better state when there were more people like him in the party – I’d rather him than the likes of Runnymead any day of the week

  39. “…he’s never been one of those calculating careerist MPs…”

    I suggest it’s more a case of him not possessing the ability to pursue a high flying career rather than him having taken the high road of loyalty to his principles in preference to a career.

  40. ‘I suggest it’s more a case of him not possessing the ability’

    Of course you would

    Personally I would have thought Soames is both too lazy and too rich to be bothered with high office and therefore can afford to say what he feels

    If MPs like Theresa Villiers can make the cabinet, I would have thought Soames could do it no problem – had he the inclination, which he clearly doesn’t.

  41. Soames went straight from Eton to a commission in the Hussars bypassing university. Sure sign of wooden top who nevertheless has connections.

  42. Nicholas Soames is Nicholas Soames and nobody’s ever going to change him. He’s a dying breed – both in personality and in being a Tory with the views he has on Europe – so it will be a shame when he retires.

  43. ‘Soames went straight from Eton to a commission in the Hussars bypassing university. Sure sign of wooden top’

    If only I’d had the sense to realise university was not for me.
    But unfortunately it’s seen as ‘the done thing’.

  44. ‘Soames went straight from Eton to a commission in the Hussars bypassing university. Sure sign of wooden top who nevertheless has connections.’

    There has to be a place for the wooden tops.

    You might hope it isn’t the House of Commons though.

  45. 53 – 47 for remain here.

  46. It’ll be interesting to take a quick look at Nick Soames’ Twitter page.

  47. Just seen the regional percentages for the first time (on Wikipedia) and it was 52% Leave in the south-east.

  48. I expected Leave to win here, based on feeling on the ground. Given the wealth in the area I guess the dire economic warnings in the last 10 days of the campaign were quite effective, as in other similar areas nearby.

    If there is a snap GE I very much expect that Soames will stand down.

    Extrapolating from the polling, it’s likely at least 40% of Tory voters voted Remain. To assume that most of them will stick with a Brexit fuelled Tory party is highly complacent IMO. Personally I will cease voting Conservative in all elections for the foreseeable future, perhaps many others feel equally strongly.

  49. John D – of course they are.

    Thatcher famously said [to] the Wets were embarrassed by their wealth and felt guilty, hence their views – whereas she understood hard work etc.

  50. 52% was pretty good for Leave in what is a pretty wealthy area. Kent was of course very strong for them but so too was south west Hampshire coast >60% in Gosport and Havant for example.

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