Worthing East & Shoreham

2015 Result:
Conservative: 24686 (49.5%)
Labour: 9737 (19.5%)
Lib Dem: 3360 (6.7%)
Green: 2605 (5.2%)
UKIP: 8267 (16.6%)
NHA: 1243 (2.5%)
MAJORITY: 14949 (30%)

Category: Very safe Conservative seat

Geography: South East, West Sussex.

Main population centres:



Current MP
TIM LOUGHTON (Conservative) Born 1962, Eastbourne. Educated at Priory School and Warwick University. Former fund manager. Contested Sheffield Brightside 1992. First elected as MP for East Worthing and Shoreham in 1997. Parliamentary under-secretary for children and families 2010-2012.
Past Results
Con: 23458 (48%)
Lab: 8087 (17%)
LDem: 12353 (26%)
UKIP: 2984 (6%)
Oth: 1515 (3%)
MAJ: 11105 (23%)
Con: 19548 (44%)
Lab: 11365 (26%)
LDem: 10844 (24%)
UKIP: 2109 (5%)
Oth: 677 (2%)
MAJ: 8183 (18%)
Con: 18608 (43%)
Lab: 12469 (29%)
LDem: 9876 (23%)
UKIP: 1195 (3%)
Oth: 920 (2%)
MAJ: 6139 (14%)
Con: 20864 (40%)
Lab: 12335 (24%)
LDem: 15766 (31%)
Oth: 921 (2%)
MAJ: 5098 (10%)

2015 Candidates
TIM LOUGHTON (Conservative) See above.
BOB SMYTHERMAN (Liberal Democrat)
MIKE GLENNON (UKIP) Former teacher. West Sussex councillor. Contested Worthing East and Shoreham 2010.
CARL WALKER (NHA) University lecturer.
Comments - 250 Responses on “Worthing East & Shoreham”
  1. The comparison between the Liverpool effect is an interesting one though I think some people are getting carried away.

    The areas affected by the Merseyside/Liverpool effect have been Liverpool’s immediate urban satellites (Wirral, Sefton) and a few middle size towns just outside it (e.g. Ormskirk). However the effect does not radiate that far and peters out rapidly as soon as it hits rural Cheshire/Lancashire.

    Thus by applying the same rule to Brighton: Worthing, Shoreham and perhaps Lewes (which hugs Brighton quite tightly and Lewes is a pretty left wing town already) and a few of the adjacent villages will get better for Labour. However the bulk of seats like Arundel and South Downs (far too rural and goes miles away from Brighton), Mid Sussex (goes all the way up to the Surrey border), Bognor Regis and Littlehampton (too far along the coast but may trend Labour due to it’s own ‘seaside’ factor) and even more so Wealden (miles too far and far too rural) are way outside of Brighton’s potential orbit.

    Brighton will certainly help Labour in the Worthing seats and Brighton’s immediate environs but the idea that it’s influence will turn all of rural Sussex Labour is just silly.

  2. I threw it out there because I was curious lol. It’s reassuring to know incidentally that the Brighton Labour machine can only permeate so far into the vast rurality of Sussex ha ha. Only joking of course but I think we’d have to agree the likes of Chichester and Horsham are the truly rock solid ultra safe Tory seats of the counties going forward with Mid Sussex and Arundel and South Downs there or there abouts?

  3. Well Labour won’t win any of those though even in Wealden they had a respectable swing. But have a look at Lewes…a surprisingly good result for the Tories in a seat with a left-leaning element in a region where they were doing badly.

  4. Had Lewes been a Con/Lab rather than Con/LD marginal, the Tories would have lost it – if that makes any sense.

    These rural Sussex seats could go Labour in a 1997-style landslide, but will probably remain out of play in normal times.

  5. Also what will continue to help the Tories across Sussex applies also in most of the Hone Counties- a large enough elderly population whose views and mindsets favour them in terms of votes…

  6. Polltroll – no it hasn’t. It was common for Lewes (whose boundaries have changed only slightly over the years) to have 30,000 Tory majorities before the LD surge, even though there was always a little Labour support in Newhaven & Lewes itself.
    TheResults, the Brighton effect, if there is one, is already happening in Worthing West. The 18,000 Labour vote is far above anything the party has achieved at least since my childhood, possibly ever in fact, in a seat where Labour has never been even slightly competitive in a single council ward in my memory. Worthing West is joined on to Brighton & Hove by continuous urban development, as is this seat. The effect will probably be felt in the conurbation centred on B&H but not outside. Newhaven is joined on to the city by almost continuous development but the rest of the Lewes seat is separated by countryside unless you count Falmer, which is tiny.

  7. Well, I’m sure that this seat’s proximity to Hove has had a major effect. However, it has yet to make Arundel & South Downs or Lewes into winnable seats for Labour’

    They are totally different seats though

    Arundel & South Downs is primarily a A/B commuter seat, whereas Lewes is largely a middle class, liberal, public sector seat and both unsurprisingly bacled Remain in the EU refrendum

    Inh comparison Worthing East & Shoreham is much more working class and has suffered like many other run-down seats on the South East coast away from Brighton & Hove.

    Unsurprisingly it was a pretty strongly pro-Brexit and if anything Labour’s huge increase under Corbyn here goes against the consensus that these sorts of places are becoming increasingly Conservative, whereas posher seats are becoming less so

  8. Barnaby is surely right. Rural Sussex seats are not in any danger. Yes there were sizeable swings to Labour as there were in much of the south east but the Conservatives still piled up the votes. Moreover with a non-Keynesian Conservative party facing the most left-wing incarnation of Labour since 1987, don’t expect class dealignment to stick around. As Barnaby rightly said on the Mansfield thread that could well mean the Tories lose some of the grpund they have gained in poorer ex-industrial areas but it will also mean that Labour will go backwards in plush Home Counties seats.

  9. Barnaby – can I just say that your encyclopedic knowledge has been sorely missed?

    I also admire the steadfastly non-partisan nature of your contributions, which is hugely impressive given the emotional wringer you must have been through over the last two years especially.

  10. People often forget seats like Watford are in the plush home counties and Labour cut the Tories majority from 10k to 2k

  11. Well I wasn’t referring to Watford because it isn’t that plush. However a reversion to class-based voting probably wouldn’t help Labour there.

  12. Labour are now back in real contention in the Milton Keynes, Northampton and Swindon seats. I think that’s significant and shows Corbyn has gone down well in the large town seats…

  13. Of course Watford, Gloucester, Worcester, and Stafford as well..

  14. Watford is actually quite affluent – it’s just not particularly pretty.

  15. Which could be why the Tories aren’t stronger?

  16. I know Watford fairly well since I abortively did teacher training there amongst other things. The Cassiobury Park & Nascot areas are pretty affluent, but the rest of the constituency isn’t really, even if not much of it is really poor. I didn’t think the Labour results were particularly good in Gloucester (especially), Worcester & Stafford, though the last-named was certainly less poor than it had been. Perhaps the hospital issue is becoming less of a barrier to Labour now.
    Polltroll thanks for your kind remark, and Tory I have always found you unfailingly courteous & unpartisan in your comments too. There are others on this site who are also very good in that regard.

  17. I’m remembering that Pete Whitehead & I were talking about doing a short film about Watford as a constituency pre-the 2015 election, perhaps a shame it never got off the ground.

  18. I went to college in what used to be cassio. Watford it self is pretty working class. Its the outer parts like South Oxhey and Abbotts Langley that are a bit more affluent

  19. 12th October 2017

    Cooke (Lab) 21,511
    *Loughton (C) 21,455
    Mountshaft (UKIP) 1,409
    Bitchton (LD) 1,343
    Williams (Green) 1,335

    Majority 56 0.1%

  20. HA HA.

  21. A marginal seat, Tim’s favourite place.

  22. FWIW, I can genuinely see Labour getting extremely close to winning this next time, because Loughton had such a poor result this time, even worse than Peter Bottomley in next-door Worthing West.

  23. Actually it seems that very longstanding incumbents tended to do not very well at this general election, thinking about it. Peter Bottomley, Dennis Skinner, Ken Clarke & David Winnick are (were in the case of Winnick) amongst the longest-serving MPs, and represent 2 different parties, but were on the end of substantial swings. There are exceptions though – both Barry Sheerman & Geoffrey Robinson had perfectly decent, though not outstanding, results for Labour. 2 members of the club of 1987 were defeated too, again from different parties – Julian Brazier and Alan Meale.

  24. This seat reminds me of York Outer and Altrincham.. both on the edge of larger settlements with big swings in Labour’s direction. Seems to be lots of those kinds of seats around this election (also in London like Chipping Barnet, Chingford etc).

  25. Of course several Long Timers did very well with best ever Performances for Corbyn, Frank Field and Harriet Haman.
    Kevin Baron had his worst ever performance through.

  26. Did anyone like my prediction above?

  27. Devon Central may be an Exeter effect – even there.

  28. Loughton should worry about his seat, its very much a marginal now and one that is clearly drifting away from the Cons due to the Brighton effect. For there to be such a swing with what probably amounted to little more than a paper candidate shows Labs potential here. With Hove and Kemptown looking like safe Lab seats and Pavilion very clearly out of Labs reach now that Lucas has a near 15,000 vote majority I imagine Loughton will face the full wrath of the B and H Lab party (the largest in the country) at the next election. Unless there is a nationwide swing back to the Tories I don’t see Loughton’s 10% majority holding up.

  29. Joe – yes I did enjoy it though I would deprecate the LD candidate’s surname. It’s a classic Joe prediction.

  30. @Barnaby. I meant to say Welcome back to the forum as I remember your contributions were very informtive. However I would like to ask you a couple of questions if you wouldn’t mind. Why did you chose not to post virtually at all between 2015-2017? And if as it probably was due to Labour”s weak position in that period are you going to stop posting again if Labour under perform at the next election? The fortune of political parties rise and fall and if you’re a politics geek like most of us here it seems to me silly to disengage even when your side is doing poorly.

  31. I’m not so certain that this seat will inevitably fall to Labour at the next election. They can’t go on getting 10% swings here at every election – that’s just the law of diminishing returns. They must be relatively close to their ceiling here.

    It’s more likely that the Tories lose the seats they gained from Labour at this election, than they lose seats like this.

  32. I noticed con estimate on vote uk yesterday

  33. It’s a shame that GE2017 didn’t produce a “Maj 56” result, but there were more close calls than in any election that I can remember, especially in Scotland. There were eight constituencies which were won by fewer than 50 votes, and more than 50 won by less than 1,000.

  34. ….and of course, this site hasn’t just been depopulated; it’s been deplopulated.

  35. In answer to the above questions, I cocked up my 2015 predictions and promised not to make any in future, and intend to stick with that where possible, but continue to analyse seats and British electoral politics in general. I have been very busy with Red Labour for the last 2 years, but actually most of my absence hasn’t been down to me : :ALL my comments went into moderation and despite attempts to contact Anthony I couldn’t do anything about it, until I hit on using a different e-mail address, which worked. This lasted months.

  36. It’s excellent to have you back, Barnaby! 🙂

  37. AndyJS sent me an email the other day saying that all his posts are getting stuck in moderation, the same problem as Barnaby seemed to be having.

    Runnymede was banned from politicalbetting.com so I wouldn’t be surprised if that hasn’t happened here as well.

  38. I defriended him when he said he was a Lib Dem but I think I over-reacted to a prank.
    Gloy sometimes gets posts stuck in moderation.

  39. I got stuck in mod limbo for a while. It was purely a technical glitch which AW kindly solved for me after I posted in the main forum.

    The glitch needed fixing twice; once in the main blog/forum and again in this section.

  40. Mash Barn ward by-election, 05.10.17:

    Labour 49% (+3%)
    Cons 39% (+16%)
    LD 9% (-7%)
    Green 3% (+3%)

    No UKIP (42%) this time.

    A Labour gain on Adur council must be a rare thing (apologies if it isn’t in this seat).

  41. It is the right seat. This result was widely predicted though not by everyone. Recent results here and in Worthing suggest that this will not be isolated for long.

  42. Also presumably it was a typo but Lancs got the results wrong, Lab were up 30% not 3%

    I’m now convinced Lab will gain overall control of Adur council in the near future, not 2018 (I believe its near enough mathematically impossible) but the next round of locals after that.

  43. Labour gain Southlands from UKIP

    Lab 448
    Con 395
    Green 132

  44. Quite a bit was talked about on social media (an echo chamber of politics, I know) of Labour’s gains on Worthing council last week ,as well as some of the divisions on W Sussex CC. With the Tories with a majority of just one now, it’s not hard to conceive this moving into NOC next time. The Brighton/London effect of people being priced of those areas is a big factor. Not sure how much the local Labour base had been campaigning on the ground here similar to how Lib Dems and Greens have done elsewhere and translating those into winning council seats.

    Hitherto 2018, they didn’t have any representation. Did they find a gap in the market to campaign on issues not being addressed by the council? Or was it just a case of favourable demographics falling into their lap?

  45. Definitely the latter Neil. Worthing is today full of youngish people who would very much like but can’t afford to live in Brighton. They take their Brighton voting habits with them and I think this seat will eventually fall into Labour’s lap – although with things as they are at the moment that might take a little bit longer than it perhaps should.

  46. Labour won three of the four Worthing Borough Council wards in this constituency on 6th May, with only Offington, which I don’t think had an election, not falling to them. The West Sussex County Council divisions were rather different, but Labour still won Worthing East very comfortably. However, the Shoreham wards were not nearly as favourable to them this time, and the Conservatives won back Cokeham with a huge swing, and won Eastbrook, which used to be Labour’s only ward (and then only one of the three seats) on Adur District Council. What I wonder, though, with the Conservative lead in Worthing down to one seat, what it means for their partnership with Adur. They virtually operate as one council. Would it survive a change in control at Worthing? It would make a natural unitary authority if WSCC was abolished, though the government seems to have gone cold on that policy.

  47. Maybe we are seeing in Sussex as well as in the north something of the trend Tim identified a good few years ago, in that the Conservatives were winning comfortably in fairly workaday towns like Uckfield, which used to be strongly Liberal Democrat locally, but struggling somewhat in more Middle Class areas. Cokeham is just about the most Working Class ward in Adur, whereas more Middle Class areas voted Labour. Also in Hastings, while Labour held on to the most downtrodden areas of the town, they lost Baird and Ore in the County Council election, and I think lost both wards in the Borough election. By the way, Tim, Labour came very close to winning Uckfield North in the County Council election. I don’t know if local issues were prominent there.

  48. It’s the pattern that has seen the Lib Dem’s lose their former strongholds in the south west

    Back in the 1990s and 2000 the Lib Dem’s used to be quite reliant on working class, Labour-inclined voters to prevail over the Tories in seats like North Devon and Yeovil where they actually built up fairly substantial majorities.

    These more down and out wards in such places tend to be more Conservative today then the wards where the Conservatives used to poll best.

  49. Labour chances gone here under the boundary proposals because it’s disbanded with Shoreham taking a huge rural area. Don’t know whether they have a chance in the new Worthing.

  50. The boundary commission have been brutal with the new seat – combining the beautiful miss marple type villages of the South Downs with the grim heavy industry port town of Shoreham.

    Whilst doing so, I would have thought the new Worthing seat – comprising three urban core of the run down seaside town – ought to be a tad more winnable for Labour, although with demographic change going the way it is, that might not necessarily be the case

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