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”
  1. The deep south in the end seemed to be better for remain that I (and I’m sure at least some others) would have anticipated

  2. I really don’t agree regarding the south east. In my view, Remain ought to have done an awful lot better there given how prosperous it is. However, I do agree regarding the south west and I wonder if concern about the future of agricultural subsidies was a factor. Of course we also shouldn’t forget that there are some trendy liberal areas too: Bristol, Stroud, Bath, Cheltenham, and Exeter.

  3. There was an east-west split in the Home Counties with west being marginal Remain and east being strongly Leave.

  4. ‘There was an east/west split in the Home Counties with west being marginal Remain and east being strongly Leave’

    I would suggest that is largely because those Home Counties on the West – Berkshire, Bucks, Surrey – are more prosperous than those on the East – Kent and Essex which have many more working class voters living in them

    Hertfordshire and Surrey were more even but largely they too split along East/West lines

  5. Essex isn’t actually in the ‘South East’ region, but Tim’s overall point is right. Kent is overall not as prosperous as the western Home Counties.

  6. Yes the M4 corridor was very good for Remain.

  7. Only a minor boundary change to Mid Sussex. Bolney ward (with 2,118 voters) is transferred to Arundel & South Downs.

  8. Nicholas Soames has decided he isn’t retiring as an MP after all.


  9. What a pity.

  10. He’s by no means the oldest (not even in the top 20 IIRC), but he would be asking to be the MP aged 72-77 in the next Parliament.

    HH will probably know more locally re his chances of re-adoption.

  11. Why would he want to quit as an MP? Fatty does sweet bugger all work in his constituency and still gets paid for it (and gets away with it)…sounds like a good deal to me. I do find him occasionally amusing but overall old Soames is something of a joke.

  12. Thick as a Brick, as Ian Anderson would say

  13. Like all other parents in West Sussex, we received a letter a few days ago saying that the county council may reduce the school week to four days per week for all the county’s schools due to a vicious funding dispute with the government.

    The Guardian picked up the story this morning


    The Tories will almost certainly lose control of West Sussex county council in next May’s local elections if this goes ahead.

  14. Copied from another site: “Hillary Clinton’s 26.16% of the vote in West Virginia is the worst result for a Democratic presidential candidate ever (they were more receptive to the Democratic Party during the Civil War than they are today…). It is also the second worst result in West Virginia for a major party in the state’s history. Taft got 21.11% in 1912, but unlike Clinton he at least had the excuse of a three-way race”

    I’d be interested to hear views about this from H.Hemmelig who has lived in West Virginia and is therefore much better qualified than anyone else here to comment

  15. Isn’t Tim Kaine, HRC’s running mate, a senator or something in Virginia? His presence on the ticket might have been worth a few points in the state this year.

  16. Lovely to see Pete back and I hope his return to the site is permanent.

    Hope I don disappoint his high expectations with my short answer. On top of the standard drift of WV away from the Democrats which has been going on for 15-20 years, there were two additional factors this year. First, Hillary Clinton, who is despised more than anywhere else in these culturally conservative working class industrial states. Not just because of her membership of the liberal elite and environmentalism, but because of the (perceived) immorality of her husband and her standing by him for no better reason than naked political ambition.

    Second, and perhaps more important, coal. The US coal industry has collapsed in the past two years with a massive number of mine closures, layoffs and a very severe impact on US industrial production. Today, US IP growth is lower than the EU for practically the first sustained period in living memory. Though it isn’t fair to totally blame Obama for this, he has got the blame.

    WV now has all three congressional seats under GOP control with the last Democrati senate seat up for electio in 2018. It will be one to watch for sure.

  17. @Maxim

    That’s what the BBC pundits on the night were going with. Indeed the state’s results (which I haven’t looked at in detail) were obviously very divided – for most of the count Trump was ahead, at times well ahead, but the late counting areas, which the pundits said were the Dem-leaning bits where a lot of civil servants live, ultimately led to a Clinton win by a fairly comfortable margin.

  18. Virginia is nothing at all like West Virginia, even in the rural counties far away from DC. Virginia was part of the confederacy whereas WV has always been rust belt.

  19. The late counting areas were all in the North of the state which politically is a bit like Greater London, whereas Southern Virginia is a lot more traditionally Southern

    It is very different from West Virginia though

  20. Having been there, northern virginia is probaly comparable to parts of london, the more prosperous suburban parts but doesn’t have a great deal in common with other parts, like say romford or croydon

  21. There seemed quite a lot of orientals too – a group not exactly overrepresented in greater london

  22. Not sure why it’s on this thread, but we have some family in WV.
    This was one of only two states where Trump one every county. The other was Nebraska.

    In one of George W Bush’s elections the comment was made that the Democrat only won counties in the flyover states that contained a University. I suspect Clinton did a bit better than that in Nevada and Colorado, but not much. Counties do vary in size from a few thousand to a few million people. So this may have been nearly true again this time.

  23. “This was one of only two states where Trump one every county. The other was Nebraska”

    Hate to be the over zealous psephology geek but Trump carried every county in Oklahoma.

    Not only that he didn’t actually carry every county in Nebraska. Douglas county (containing the bulk of Omaha) narrowly went Clinton as did Lancaster county (containing the state capital Lincoln) by just 77 votes.

  24. There are some parts of Virginia which resemble West Virginia – eg Buchanan county in the far west which voted 63% for Bill Clinton in 1992 (when of course he failed to win the state) but gave HIlary less than 20% this year.
    Of course when Bill Clinton was failing to carry Virginia he also failed to carry Fairfax county in the DC suburbs. John Kerry first carried that county in 2004 and this year that county accounted for Hilary Clinton’s entire lead in the state.

    PS I put my comment here because I was addressing it to HH and this is where he lives (or did the last time I was here). Not having posted lately I didn’t know which particular thread had been taken over by discussions of the US election (there is always one – perhaps the Western Isles this time ? )

  25. I do still live in Mid Sussex yes.

    I do think it’s very interesting how the safe states for the GOP seem to be gradually shifting from the sunbelt / bible belt nurtured by Reagan and Bush to rustbelt states further north. 10-20 years ago you would never have predicted West Virginia and Ohio to be safer for the GOP than Georgia and North Carolina.

  26. HH
    Adding to that 10-20 years ago one would never have believed the Dems would win Colorado and Virginia in a year they lost Michigan and Pennsylvania. The times they are a changing…

  27. I’m sure PW will have been delighted to see how well Trump did on Staten Island:


    The biggest Republican lead there since 1988.

    Meanwhile the Republicans had by far their worst ever result on Manhattan Island.

  28. The electoral events of the last few months reminds me of this comment from July 2007:

    ‘ Derbyshire NE, Rother Valley, Don Valley, Bassetlaw and Penistone/Stocksbridge have near identical social makeups and elecion results.

    They have a number of characteristics that could bode well for the Conservatives in future:

    Extremely white, very few students, no extremes in wealth, socially conservative, distrust of London and Europe, good motorway communications leading to new commuter developments, formerly dominated by old-labour industry (coal) but no longer, discredited local Labour party.

    With the right sort of leader (David Davis would be better in these areas than David Cameron) and Rosindell style local candidates the Conservatives would have great potential.

    This may sound far-fetched but how many people would have predicted only 10 years ago that the Republicans could win West Virginina (by 15% no less) whilst losing New Hampshire.

    This could also apply to the four Labour constituenies in Cumbria. ‘

    also this

    ‘ I’m interested in the theme Richard has been developing here and on other seats, what we might call the ‘West Virginia syndrome’. This, if anything is, is the key to the future long term success of the Conservative party – far more than trying to curry favour with the long lost metropolitan chattering classes in Hornsey & Wood Green.
    If they can successfully tap in to the resentment against that liberal elite they can break the ‘my family have always been Labour’ attitude in places like this, especially as Labour in power still demonstrates an orientation towards the prejudices of that metropolitan elite. ‘

    It seems some of us were aware of what was going to be the defining electoral trend of the coming decade.

  29. Richard is right on this. It’s all about identity politics from here,

  30. It is amusing to see the outrage of the BBC and Guardian that working class white Americans ‘voted like a minority’.

    It seems that not all minorities are equal.

  31. It would be wrong to overplay the UK/US comparison in this respect. Trump’s victory in the electoral college against a dreadful opposing candidate could well prove to be the last hurrah for the angry wwc in the US. The demographic trends are clear. There simply won’t be enough of them to propel a presidential candidate to victory in the future.

    The U.K. is different. For the foreseeable future as long as the left continues to alienate the wwc to the extent that it does now it will be out of power.

    One caveat re one of the seats mentioned above; if the boundary changes go through in their current form NE Derbys won’t exist for future elections. The most Conservative wards in the current seat are set to end up in Derbyshire Dales, with the rest being divided between two constituencies that to me look very difficult for the Tories to win.

  32. Yes Richard I have very fond memories of Staten Island and I’m delighted to see it vote GOP so strongly (likewise WV which I have also visited). Is that me you were quoting at the end of your previous post? (it certainly sounds like the sort of thing I’ve been banging on about for years). Of course it is UKIP rather than the Conservatives who I hope will be able to capitalise in these areas but clearly there are questions over our effectiveness in the medium term and potentially over our very existence in the long term.
    No doubt Theresa May will be more effective than David Cameron in this respect too

  33. Alternatively it could be the time when the American wwc realises its block voting power.

  34. Pete

    It was you and the quotes come from the Derbyshire NE page on the old site:


    Its satisfying to see that we were both picking up on what was to be the key electoral trend of the following decade.

    While the MSM and political leaders were obsessing about Islington guardianistas and ‘The new Americans’.

  35. Quite. Minority-focused identity politics is, in hindsight, so blindingly obviously suicidal that it is remarkable that the centre-left never realised the corner they were painting themselves into. The clue is in “minority” – ie not enough to carry an election.

    Keiran: an additional factor is that Donald Trump may put some people off voting Republican ever again, much like Margaret Thatcher and even Enoch Powell may have done in this country. That effect could last fifty years.

  36. Enoch Powell was one of the best vote-getters the Tories ever had.

  37. @Runnymedel I’m not sure he was at the time but someone who expessed his kind of views would probably go down very well now. As someone who identifies with the more liberal side of the Tory the Tory party I have come to terms with this.It amazes me that propnemts of liberalism (like myself) don’t realise that it is a dying ideology. The Tories I think will weather the storm nestled in their wealthy ideologically fiscally right wing seats across the country but Labour is another matter they hold a huge amount of seats seats that fundamentally disagree with the core values of the party and people like Rivers (who I have actually grown quite fond of) are in compete denial of the emerging reality.

  38. Runnymede’s right just on the facts of the swings, of course.

    Both nationally and in his West Midlands region – both when he stood and when he told people to vote Labour the swings were greater.

    As well as the 14 Royal Mail vans of post he received after the speech and the Dockers marching for him and so on.

    The twitterati, BME/race relations industry just didn’t exist then. Plus the far Left MPs including Benn respected Enoch as they agreed on Europe etc and both were Parliamentary orators. Shouting ‘racist’ would hardly stop someone who could quote most conventions and Constitutional Acts in English, Latin or Greek.

  39. Polltroll – “minority – not enough to carry an election”

    It can be though. After all most Cllrs & MPs are elected with only 30% of the electorate and groups are concentrated in areas. Hence Vaz in Leicester, Lammy in Tottenham etc. Plurality Jewish wards tend to have all Jewish Cllrs and so on.

    In fact for any of the minorities courted I can think of examples where it worked. eg in Merseyside even the minority Liberal Party was successful by courting the gay vote. Now you might think that that 5% wouldn’t get you v far. But in fact in one year they won a couple of wards and came within 100 votes of winning 3 other wards. Because with eg a 20% turnout and with a lot of the wards being 3 or 4 way marginal in the ’90s, if you got your vote out you could win wards with electorates of 10,000 with just 500 – 750 votes.

    It relied on the WWC vote remaining intact which was the error.

  40. ‘ I’m not sure he was at the time’

    Then you need to read up on some history. He swung both the 1970 election (for the Tories) and the 1974 one (against them). He had a huge popular following that cut across party lines.

    It’s amazing how many people are taken in by the left/BBC rewriting of the history of both the 1970s and 1980s.

  41. Runnymede,
    I agree with your lesson from history. What you don’t mention is that 1974 saw the Liberals go from 7% to 19% so Enoch Powell was perhaps the architect of 3 party politics in Britain which lasted for 36 years!

    2016 has indeed been the year of the populist demagogue but politics tends to cycle and a liberal or centrist (eg Blairite) backlash is not out of the question… chance events such as by-elections may well determine what happens and when

  42. Brexit is another issue that cuts across party lines on both sides of the debate and can hardly avoid dominating the agenda up till 2020 if not beyond…

  43. Richard,
    Maybe the general tenet of that 2007 post had some validity, but of the 5 constituencies specifically mentioned they all showed a net swing from Tory to Labour in 2015 except NE Derbyshire, while the UKIP vote went up of course but by wildly variable amounts.. i have not checked but probably boundary changes will unfortunately make comparisons next time difficult. If there was a GE tomorrow only NE Derbyshire looks remotely vulnerable…

  44. ‘1974 saw the Liberals go from 7% to 19% so Enoch Powell was perhaps the architect of 3 party politics in Britain which lasted for 36 years!’

    Indeed it did – and a lot of those extra Liberal votes came, extraordinary as it might seem, from Powellite voters.

    So in a very weird sense, Powell kick-started the modern protest-party Lib Dems.

  45. State swings between 2000 and 2016 from Dem to Rep:

    wv 17.93
    tenn 11.15 – loss of Gore vote
    arka 10.75
    misso 7.85
    kent 7.36
    ri 7.36
    okla 7.26
    alab 6.72
    louis 5.99
    iowa 4.91
    nd 4.07
    sd 3.53
    wyom 3.12
    mich 2.68
    conn 2.67
    penn 2.65
    ohio 2.52
    ny 1.97
    indi 1.81
    nj 1.55
    main 1.22
    missi 0.83
    dela 0.81
    flor 0.69
    wisc 0.58
    minn 0.44
    kans 0.15
    mass 0.01
    nh -0.82
    sc -0.84
    nebr -1.32
    ariz -1.36
    illi -1.99
    mont -2.27
    neva -2.98
    geor -3.27
    idah -3.84
    nm -4.08
    mary -4.16
    nc -4.55
    oreg -5.28
    wash -5.35
    texa -6.11 – loss of Bush vote
    colo -6.62
    hawa -6.64
    virg -6.68
    alas -7.89
    verm -8.02
    cali -8.75
    utah -10.75 – Independent vote effect

    A strong swing to the Republicans in Appalachia and oddly Rhode Island.

    A strong swing to the Democrats in the Pacific coast states and the South-West.

    The huge swing to the Democrats in California explains the swing in the national vote.

  46. What an absolute disgrace this man is:

    Nicholas Soames MP ‘woofs’ at Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh MP

    Not the first time he’s been caught and accused of sexist remarks.

  47. I though his excuse that he offered the “friendly canine salute” because he felt she “snapped” at Boris Johnson, was comical

    Everyone knows what he meant

  48. Soames has received throughout his life a bizarre tolerance from being Churchill’s grandson.

    Does anyone think he would have achieved anything if he hadn’t had the privileges of birth.

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