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Mid Sussex

2010 Results:
Conservative: 28329 (50.72%)
Labour: 3689 (6.6%)
Liberal Democrat: 20927 (37.47%)
BNP: 583 (1.04%)
UKIP: 1423 (2.55%)
Green: 645 (1.15%)
Monster Raving Loony: 259 (0.46%)
Majority: 7402 (13.25%)

Notional 2005 Results:
Conservative: 24561 (48.2%)
Liberal Democrat: 18168 (35.6%)
Labour: 6536 (12.8%)
Other: 1720 (3.4%)
Majority: 6393 (12.5%)

Actual 2005 result
Conservative: 23765 (48%)
Labour: 6280 (12.7%)
Liberal Democrat: 17875 (36.1%)
UKIP: 1574 (3.2%)
Majority: 5890 (11.9%)

2001 Result
Conservative: 21150 (46.2%)
Labour: 8693 (19%)
Liberal Democrat: 14252 (31.1%)
UKIP: 1126 (2.5%)
Other: 601 (1.3%)
Majority: 6898 (15.1%)

1997 Result
Conservative: 23231 (43.5%)
Labour: 9969 (18.6%)
Liberal Democrat: 16377 (30.6%)
Referendum: 3146 (5.9%)
Other: 740 (1.4%)
Majority: 6854 (12.8%)

Boundary changes:


portraitCurrent MP: Nicholas Soames(Conservative) (more information at They work for you)

2010 election candidates:
portraitNicholas Soames(Conservative) (more information at They work for you)
portraitDavid Boot (Labour)
portraitSerena Tierney (Liberal Democrat)
portraitPaul Brown (Green)
portraitMarc Montgomery (UKIP)
portraitStuart Minihane (BNP)
portraitBaron von Thunderclap (Official Monster Raving Loony)

2001 Census Demographics

Total 2001 Population: 96436
Male: 48.3%
Female: 51.7%
Under 18: 22.8%
Over 60: 20.7%
Born outside UK: 7.3%
White: 97.3%
Black: 0.3%
Asian: 0.9%
Mixed: 0.9%
Other: 0.6%
Christian: 75.5%
Muslim: 0.7%
Full time students: 2.3%
Graduates 16-74: 22.8%
No Qualifications 16-74: 18.5%
Owner-Occupied: 80.2%
Social Housing: 10.4% (Council: 0.5%, Housing Ass.: 9.9%)
Privately Rented: 7%
Homes without central heating and/or private bathroom: 3.4%

NB - The constituency guide is now archived and is no longer being updated. The new guide is at

134 Responses to “Mid Sussex”

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  1. But as I keep saying we are in uncharted territory now. The Lib Dems are in government and will consequently suffer from any bout of mid term unpopularity that the current government may suffer from. The fate of the Tories and Lib Dems at local elections are now inextricably linked. What that means in area where they are the only two parties in serious contention is open to question, but what is certain is that any evidence dating from before the Lib Dems became a part of the government is of very little value in predicting what will happen.

  2. “I am not dreaming of any scenario , Kieran , I am speaking of an area wher I have in depth local knowledge”

    Mark may be correct about what will happen with the local council here next year – I have no local knowledge myself, but I do study the form for all areas and it is plausible enough. It does faintly amuse me that Mark plays the local knowledge card and yet if we look at the Chesterfield thread he is accusing Kieran of living in a dream world when the situation is completely reversed. Kieran pretty well called correctly what would happen in Chesterfielfd at the general election – ie a substantial increase in the Tory share at the expense of the LDs allowing Labour to gain the seat by default. I don’t think Mark even countenanced such an possibility

  3. Pete, what’s your view as to the difference Lib Dem participation in the coalition government will make to Lib Dem performance at local elections in the coming years?

  4. I dont know to be perfectly honest. Evidence from local by-elections is extremely mixed, and i’m not sure it is even admissable as ‘evidence’ because there are so many other factors at play in each of these (the clue being in the word ‘local’). There has been some tendency for the LD vote to fall in areas where Labour is the challenger. I have so far looked at the seats that are up for election in the Met boroughs next year and I expect the LDs to lose about 60 seats in total in those areas to Labour with Labour gaining control in Leeds, Sheffield and possibly Oldham and Newcastle.
    I think Mark is probably correct that in the huge number of seats that are being fought outside these areas there is a better chance of the LDs making net gains, because they are not facing a Labour threat in so many of these and they stand to gain, by default, from Tory losses. There are a number of councils which are all up and where the Conservatives did very well in 2007 against the LDs and a reversal of that in a few of these would easily offset those LD losses in the Met councils (Bournemouth and Torbay for example)

  5. I agree with Pete’s general assessment of Libdem losses to Labour in the Mets next year . Newcastle may just be held by the LibDems but will be close , Sheffield , of course is technically no overall control after this year’s local elections . I certainly did countenance the possible loss of Chesterfield to Labour though still thought the LibDems would hold on .
    For now I will stick to my estimate that next May there will be
    c 500 Labour gains from Conservative
    C 150-200 Labour gains from LibDems
    c 400 Libdem gains from Conservative

  6. The discussion in another thread about chicken runs reminded me of this seat

    Before 1997 GE the shortlist for Tory nomination included:

    Nicholas Soames (at the time Crawley MP)
    John Wheeler (Westminster North)
    James Arbuthnot (Wanstead and Woodford)
    Terry Dicks (Hayes and Harlington)
    David Amess (Basildon)

  7. Wikipedia states that before 1974 the area covered by Mid Sussex had been in East Sussex, and the constituency had been formed from parts of Lewes and East Grinstead.

    The re-organisation of county boundaries places Mid Sussex in West Sussex.

  8. Interesting post by Andrea. It doesn;t reflect very well on most of them. Fair play to James Arbuthnot though – his seat was comletely abolished and split between three others, two with existing Conservative MPs who would have a greater claim and one to a safe Labour seat. He didn;t have much choice but to chicken run.

  9. When Liverpool Mossley Hill was created in 1983 it had a notional 1979 Conservative majority of 9086 (17.9%).

    It took in most Conservative parts of Garston and Wavertree and had the following impact on their boundries –

    Broadgreen (previously Wavertree) – Conservative majority of 6942 became a notional Conservative majority of 565).
    Garston – Conservative majority of 2787 became a notional Labour majority of 5229.

    Why did both MP’s depart for Crosby (an SDP seat) and South Ham (in Devon)?

    Perhaps they both anticipated that the other would succeed in the selection process for Mossley Hill or were there local election results following 1979 that indicated significant movement from the Conservatives.

    Ironically, had the pre-1983 boundaries been retained, the Conservatives would have held Garston and Wavertree in 1983 but may have lost them both in 1987.

  10. I believe that the Conservatives would have retained the 1974 – 1983 Garston by 1000 and the 1974 – 1983 Wavertree by 2500 in 1983.

    I assume that Labour would have gained Garston by 4000 – 5000 in 1987 and in Wavertree the Conservatives would have not only lost but have been pushed into third place (with a photofinish between Labour and the Liberal Alliance).

  11. Mark Senior’s predictions for this May now seem rather amusing – see up wage for national and previous page for local.

    I do sense that the LibDem local failings both in 2011 and 2010 have hurt LibDem supporters much more than their general election disappointment and opinion poll slide.

  12. Yes I agree. The Lib Dem collapse in their traditional local government base will do them far more damage than general election minor dissapointments.

    Of course, this will become a greater issue as next years local elections approach-if they repeat this years dire performance and then councillors in the 2013-14 seats start to pile pressure on the party to withdraw into an ‘isolationist’ policy with regards the government of the country.

    I think this drip, drip of periodic Lib Dem local election meltdowns and councillor defections could well see the end of the coalition before 2015.

  13. I was in this constituency the other day and it certainly doesn’t look like the sort of seat which will ever fall from the Conservative’s grip.

  14. ‘I was in this constituency the other day and it certainly doesn’t look like the sort of seat which will ever fall from the Conservative’s grip.’

    East Grinstead has no shortage of chavs and away from the top of town isn’t very nice, Hayward’s Heath high street is fairly drab and Burgess Hill is the type of boring, commuting town you get throughout the country

    It’s considerably less attractive than neighbouring seats like Arundel & South Downs and Wealden which are the type of seats that will always elect Conservatives come what may, but it is considerably more pleasant than the grotty delapidated West Sussex coastal seats of Littlehampton, Shoreham and Worthing which tend to elect Conservatives with much larger majorities – for reasons which the voters who live trhere could only explain

  15. It still amazes me that people can drive around places and make a correlation between the level of grottyness and voting behaviour. Why should grotty places not be equally entitled to elected a Tory as Labour? And vice versa for that matter?

    I’m sure there are no end of council wards up and down the land that would provide the exception that proves the rule.

  16. A lot of people still vote Conservative for social and cultural rather than economic reasons, especially the kind of older voters who live in places like Worthing and Shoreham.

  17. ‘It still amazes me that people can drive around places and make a correlation between the level of grottyness and voting behaviour.’

    Places that are gotty are usually so because they are poor and in the class-based politics of this country poor people are far more likely vote for the Labour Party, just as rich people are far more likely to support the Tories

    It’s not by pure fluke that some of the nicest parts of the country have the some of the highest Conservative majorities – Cotswolds, South Bucks, Arundel & South Downs, Hampshire North East, Worcetershire-Mid –

    Likewise Labour’s areas of greatest strength tend to be in the poverty-ridden inner city seats and the scared landscape of the industrial North, South Wales and Scotland

    Whilst seats in places like Essex and Kent show that Tory strength isn’t always based on high income levels, (just as prosperopus Labour seats in Scotland show the reverse) more often than not the two go hand-in-hand and surely not even you would dispute Shaun that wealthy areas tend to be more attractive than poorer ones

  18. Some of what you say is undoubtedly true, but you tend to exaggerate somewhat. Not many people would describe much of this seat as “grotty”!

  19. ‘Not many people would describe much of this seat as “grotty”!’

    Neither did I.

    I used that word to describe the coastal seats in West Sussex which are more Conservative than this one despite being considerably less attractive.

    That was my point

  20. I don’t think anyone should set any store by town or parish council elections, but it was nonetheless a bit of a surprise to me to read that Labour gained a town council seat in Burgess Hill from the Tories last week. I certainly don’t recall Labour showing in Burgess Hill in any previous election – Haywards Heath has up to now been the only town in this constituency where Labour has had any chance, and of course even there only in a small corner of it.

  21. Nobody really bothers with parish and town council elections. In many seats they can’t even find candidates to stand. In others candidates are returned unopposed, and in others there are something like 30 Independents to fill 5 seats. Its all pretty silly to be honest.

    If Labour won in Burgess Hill, there will be a reason. But it probably won’t have much to do with genuine support for Labour emerging (or for any other party in other parishs). Its probably just because of the pattern of candidates.

  22. Well well – it’s happened again. Another Labour gain in Burgess Hill – though only 11 votes separated the 3 main parties. Either it was a larger turnout or a larger ward, since all 3 parties polled over 300 votes (the previous Labour gain was not that much over 100). Nick Soames, you better watch out – LAB GAIN MID-SUSSEX FROM CON is a dead cert now……

  23. I must hasten to add that that isn’t a serious prediction of the seat at the next general election (if it even still exists).

  24. Would be interesting to see what they do get here though.

  25. Have just received a LibDem leaflet which boasted:

    “We notice that since 2010 Liberal Democrats have a net loss of only six seats countrywide in byelections. Very different from the story the press tries to tell of seats falling everywhere. The Tories are doing much worse than the LibDems.”

    Do you think they actually believe the rubbish they put out?

  26. A novel argument! Extending it to parliamentary by-elections, the Lib Dems have a net loss of no seats at all, while the Conservatives have clearly done worse, having a net loss of one seat. Stupendous momentum for the Lib Dems!

  27. I dont know why the LDs feel the need to put out such purile, insulting literature that reads like a quack PhD you could buy off the internet.

  28. My prediction for next time?
    Lib dems gain by 6,000,
    with stupendous momentom.
    Fabulous local party on the ground

    Lib dem 30,000
    con 24,000
    Labour 5,000
    ukip 2000
    green 1000

  29. Are you a betting man Gloy?

  30. I think Mark Senior has hacked into Gloy Plopwell’s account

  31. I think it might be Lord Rennard.
    or possibly Shirley Williams.

    I would guess Haywards Heath provide(d) lots of the LD votes,
    the villages being Tory.

  32. E Grinstead is not terrible LD territory either. Cuckfield & the villages are as you say very Tory indeed. In a really bad Tory year, Burgess Hill can be marginal too. Haywards Heath usually has the only Labour presence (in the east of the town) though as we’ve seen there have been some curiously good town council performances recently in Burgess Hill

  33. Perhaps then it’s your party which has that stupendous momentum here, rather than the libs.

  34. The Con share is still about 9% down on 1992 here – in quite a few south eastern seats it’s only 1-2% below then, so this is a somewhat lacklustre performance,
    although hopefully any slight danger from the LDs has now passed.

    As always, never assume, even with single digit poll ratings, things can be different in particular seats, as we found in Solihull.

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