2015 Result:
Conservative: 20846 (39.9%)
Labour: 22082 (42.3%)
Lib Dem: 1861 (3.6%)
Green: 3569 (6.8%)
UKIP: 3265 (6.3%)
TUSC: 144 (0.3%)
Loony: 125 (0.2%)
Independent: 322 (0.6%)
MAJORITY: 1236 (2.4%)

Category: Marginal Labour seat

Geography: South East, East Sussex. Part of the Brighton and Hove council area.

Main population centres: Hove, Portslade.

Profile: Hove forms part of a conurbation with Brighton and has the reputation of being quieter and more genteel than its neighbour, though areas like Brunswick are actually rather bohemian. As a South coast retirement area the seat previously had one of the highest proportions of pensioners, but this has dropped sharply in more recent years. The constituency also includes Portslade Village and Portslade-on-Sea - the industrial centre of Brighton & Hove and one of the staunchest Labour areas in the city.

Politics: With its previous reputation as a genteel retirement town Hove was one of the more surprising Labour gains in their 1997 landslide - in the 1970s and 1980s this had been a monumentally safe Tory seat, with the party topping 60% of the vote in 1983. It is now a far tighter marginal - Labour held it narrowly in 2005, the Conservatives took it in 2010, Labour regained it in 2015.

Current MP
PETER KYLE (Labour) Educated at University of Sussex. Former charity chief executive. First elected as MP for Hove in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 18294 (37%)
Lab: 16426 (33%)
LDem: 11240 (23%)
GRN: 2568 (5%)
Oth: 1291 (3%)
MAJ: 1868 (4%)
Con: 16366 (37%)
Lab: 16786 (37%)
LDem: 8002 (18%)
GRN: 2575 (6%)
Oth: 1067 (2%)
MAJ: 420 (1%)
Con: 16082 (38%)
Lab: 19253 (46%)
LDem: 3823 (9%)
GRN: 1369 (3%)
Oth: 1461 (3%)
MAJ: 3171 (8%)
Con: 17499 (36%)
Lab: 21458 (45%)
LDem: 4645 (10%)
Oth: 2588 (5%)
MAJ: 3959 (8%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
GRAHAM COX (Conservative) Born Portslade. Former police superintendent. Brighton and Hove councillor 2011-2015.
PETER KYLE (Labour) Educated at University of Sussex. Charity chief executive.
PETER LAMBELL (Liberal Democrat) Educated at Reigate Grammar and Oxford Brookes University. Business analyst. Surrey councillor 2009-2013. Contested Croydon Central 2010.
KEVIN SMITH (UKIP) Born India. Businessman.
CHRISTOPHER HAWTREE (Green) Freelance writer. Brighton and Hove councillor since 2011.
JENNY BARNARD-LANGSTON (Independent) Contested Canterbury 2005 for the Liberal Democrats.
DAVE HILL (TUSC) Born 1945. Educated at Westlain Grammar School and Manchester University. Professor. Brighton councillor 1975-1976, 1979-1983 for Labour, East Sussex councillor 1981-1989 for Labour. Contested Brighton Pavilion 1979, 1987 for Labour, Brighton Kemptown 2010 for TUSC.
DAME DIXON (Loony) , real name Jon Dixon. Actor and director.
Comments - 362 Responses on “Hove”
  1. Most of the East Sussex population is close to the coast, and the figures basically reflect the two coastal problems that have afficted the Tories very considerably – coastal town dilapidation (Hastings, Eastbourne) and coastal town liberal gentrification (Brighton & Hove). Two of the three seats which stretch a fair distance inland remain staunchly Tory (Wealden & Bexhill). Only Lewes is an exception, I suspect it is affected by both the Brighton and Eastbourne effects in different parts.

  2. It is striking to see how much East Sussex has trended away from the Conservatives since 1992. It must be the only southern county to have done so as others like Kent and Hertfordshire have become stronger for the Tories over the same time period.

  3. “It is striking to see how much East Sussex has trended away from the Conservatives since 1992. It must be the only southern county to have done so as others like Kent and Hertfordshire have become stronger for the Tories over the same time period.”

    Yes this is what I’ve been thinking. It also seems to be in great contrast with neighbouring West Sussex (though Crawley could swing to Labour if there was a Blair-like figure and ). After next month, E Sussex (including B&H unitary authority) could have the most diverse political representation of the southern counties.

  4. I live in Hove and, although I’m a Tory supporter, I’m fairly convinced that Labour will win here this time for a number of reasons:

    – MIke Weatherley (the current Tory MP) is standing down
    – The Tory candidate (Graham Cox) doesn’t seem popular – even with other Conservative voters that I know
    – Labour are chucking tonnes of money behind their candidate (Peter Kyle) and are running a slicker campaign
    – Lots of Labour voters that I know voted Lib Dem last time because they didn’t like Gordon Brown, but are coming back to Labour this time

    The only possible route that I can see for the Conservatives can win is if there is a surge in left-leaning voters switching from Labour to Green. Until recently this didn’t seem likely as the Green council has been poorly run and is unpopular. However in the last couple of weeks there seems to be more and more support for the Green Candidate (Christopher Hawtree)

  5. I met someone who has just moved to Hove the other day. She had lived in Brighton Pavillion and was going to vote green. When I pointed out to her that this would help let a Tory in she immediately said that she would vote Labour.

  6. Lab gain 2500

  7. What was the reason given for the MP standing down here, was he ill?

  8. Per Joe 3rd July 2014:

    “He had oesophageal cancer two years ago and I think that’s made him reevaulate his future.

    The spending more time with the family reason that we hear so often is probably actually true in this case.”

    In these circumstances only fair to wish Mike Weatherley all the best, post Westminster

  9. Stephen PT- seconded. He’s shown considerable fortitude in serving out a term.

  10. LAB gain 2000

  11. Labour Gain. 1,000 maj

  12. The only Labour gain in East Sussex.

    Full Result:

    Lab 22,082 42.3%
    Con 20,846 39.9%
    Green 3,569 6.8%
    UKIP 3,265 6.3%
    LDem 1,861 3.6%
    Others 591 1.1%

    Majority 1,236 : 3% swing to Labour.

  13. I imagine Labour benefited quite a bit from that large Lib Dem vote in 2010. Let’s see if Peter Kyle can build a personal vote in Hove.

  14. South East region:

    Con: 2,234,440 (50.85%)
    Lab: 804,774 (18.31%)
    UKIP: 641,475 (14.60%)
    LD: 413,586 (9.41%)
    Greens: 233,759 (5.32%)
    Others: 66,407 (1.51%)
    TOTAL: 4,394,441

    Con: 2,140,895 (49.86%)
    LD: 1,124,786 (26.19%)
    Lab: 697,567 (16.24%)
    UKIP: 177,269 (4.13%)
    Greens: 62,124 (1.45%)
    Others: 91,599 (2.13%)
    TOTAL: 4,294,240

    Con: +0.99%
    Lab: +2.07%
    UKIP: +10.47%
    LD: -16.78%
    Greens: +3.87%
    Others: -0.62%

    Swing, Con to Lab: 0.54%

  15. This has turned into one of those “big change” seats like some in London and other big cities. Remarkable when you see the size of the Tory majorities in the past and its rather genteel reputation that it is the only marginal that Labour won from the Tories in the south east region, their weakest region.
    I know the incumbent stood down but in other Tory held marginals that did n’t seem to matter, in fact the new candidate did better.

  16. I *think* the Tories carried Hove at local elections but the combined Labour and Green vote was bigger.

    It was noted that the centre of Hove is becoming more like Brighton so the genteel image is fading as Labour has clearly kept a competitive edge here (though Portslade is a traditional area of strength) and managed to be one of the few consolation prizes of the general election.

  17. Some areas still look very grand & beautiful but have few Tory voters left. l canvassed in Brunswick & Adelaide ward by the sea in late March. The squares are still as attractive as ever, but very few Tories can be found there now compared with the past. Physically these squares look in much better shape than most of those in Brighton a few hundred yards away, but politically they’re not very different from each other now.

  18. Hove is still very competitive for the Tories.
    However, Labour had a very charismatic candidate here in Peter Kyle and the tories selected poorly – a dour looking local councillor, Graham Cox was not a match for Kyle. Had Nick Boles fought Hove again in 2010, it would have a 5- figure majority now.

    I remember reading somewhere that the tories put up 3 straight, old, white men in Brighton and Hove, arguably Britain’s most diverse and vibrant city. Simply picking a “local” candidate showed a lack of ambition.

    In hindsight, Mike Weatherley was not a good choice for this seat as reflected by his small majority in 2010 and Graham Cox was in the same mold.

    If Kemptown could have stayed Conservative, then so could Hove, but with a Labour MP like Peter Kyle, this seat is lost for a generation barring a landslide Tory victory.

  19. ‘Some areas still look very grand & beautiful but have few Tory voters left. ‘

    That’s thec fact of it

    The major difference in Brighton & Hove between now and 25 years ago – and I say that as someone who has lived there throughout that period – is not that Hove has gone downhill, but more that Brighton has gone the other way and is far mote attravctive, prosperous, expensive and sought-after place to live now than it was then – all things that traditionally improve Conservative prospects, yet seem to have had the opposite effect here

    As suggested, Labour’s victory in 2015 was probably largely to do with personality rather than politics – but compwsrisons with once-desirable parts of london that have swung towards Labour in recent decades are inaccurate

  20. I’m sure Hove Tories will be appalled that their constituency is the only red blob in Sussex and the wider area…

  21. I was surprised that the Green vote only increased by around 1000. They don’t seem to be making the kind of progress in Brighton & Hove’s West and East division that they have made in the cities Central division.

  22. A lot of Green voters will have opted for Labour in order to defeat the Tories.

  23. I can see this seat just getting even better for Labour in 2020-
    Labour- 48%
    Conservative- 37%
    Green- 7%
    UKIP- 5%
    Lib Dem- 2%
    Others- 1%

  24. What changes are there likely to be to the boundaries in Brighton and Hove before 2020? And what might their political efects be?

  25. The Boundary commission had Hove gaining the Green bastion of Regency. Pavilion would swap Regency for Moulsecoomb and Bevendean. Whilst Kemptown would become Brighton East and Seahaven gaining the towns of Seaford and Newhaven.

    So I would guess

    Hove = Lab by 3000
    Brighton Pav = Grn by 6000
    Brighton E = Tory by 6000+

  26. If this revision became operative in 2020, it would be yet another example of marginal seats being shared out between the two major parties to become safe ones, with The Conservatives getting a fairly safe seat in Brighton East at the expense of making Hove a Labour seat except in a particularly good year for the Conservatives. This is assuming that there is not some radical change in the parties before 2020, which I think would be a rash assumption to make.

    Am I right in thnking that Newhaven and Seaford would come from the Lewes constituency, in whcih case what is their LibDem vote? Wouldn the voted imported into Brighton East give the LibDems a reasonable chance of coming second. Alternatively, are they areas in which the LibDem vote is weak so that if the redisribution had taken place before 2015 Norman Baker might have been able to hang on in Lewes?

  27. ‘Am I right in thnking that Newhaven and Seaford would come from the Lewes constituency, in whcih case what is their LibDem vote? Wouldn the voted imported into Brighton East give the LibDems a reasonable chance of coming second. Alternatively, are they areas in which the LibDem vote is weak so that if the redisribution had taken place before 2015 Norman Baker might have been able to hang on in Lewes?’

    Any break up of the Lewes constituency – which will undoubtedly happen under the boundary review – is bad news for the Lib Dems. Their strongest areas – Newhaven, Seaford, Lewes, Polegate – are all in different geographical parts of the constituency and thus subject to removal in the forthcoming review

    Under the recommendations of the 2013 review, Seaford and Newhaven would have been paired with Brighton Kemptown, which in 2015 would have resulted in a Tory win with Labour and the Lib Dems fighting it out for second place although I suspect on current trends Labour would emerge as the Tories most likely challengers

  28. Local election results for Hove 1973-1995:


    IIRC Labour were so surprised to gain control of Hove in 1995 that John Prescott travelled down for a photo-opportunity.

    Now Hove has become a spot of ‘posh Labour’ in a Conservative majority map.

  29. I think that’s an exaggeration.

    If Corbyn is still Labour leader in 2020 and seriously spooks the middle classes this seat will go back to the Tories much more easily than London seats like Enfield North where the drift to Labour has been primarily driven by race.

  30. The seat is obviously very different from 30 years ago, but the Tory share did increase in May despite the lack of an incumbent and Peter Kyle’s majority is not big. It will probably remain highly marginal for a while to come,.

  31. This constituency must be a candidate for the safest 1992 Conservative constituency which is now Labour.

    The Conservatives had a 12,268 majority in 1992 even with an Independent Conservative taking 2658 votes.

  32. @Richard

    Harrow West had a 17,897 majority, but I think Hove is the second safest seat from 1992 that is Labour now, just ahead of Brent North (10,131).

  33. Being pedantic, if the Harrow West of today had the same boundaries as in 1997, Labour wouldn’t still hold it.

  34. Yes, that’s a very fair point on Harrow West. Have Hove’s boundaries changed at all?

  35. “Eastwood/East Renfrewshire must be the safest Tory seat in 1992 that did not elect a Tory MP in 2015.”

    Eastwood was only the safest Conservative seat in Scotland between 1992 and 1997. Tayside North was the safest Scottish Tory seat between 1983 and 1987 and Dumfries was the safest Scottish Tory seat between 1987 and 1992.

    Eastwood was actually a Conservative marginal between 1987 and 1992 with Labour only 14.4% behind. Eastwood was a seat that Labour needed to win in 1992 to win a majority of 1 seat and was more winnable for Labour than Blackpool South or Brentford & Isleworth.

    Eastwood (1987)

    Con 19,388 39.5 −7.0
    SDP 13,374 27.2 −0.4
    Lab 12,305 25.1 +5.0
    SNP 4,033 8.2 +2.4

    Maj 6,014 12.3

    Eastwood had one of the largest swings from Lab to Con in 1992 in the UK (over 4%).

  36. Have there been any boundary changes at all in this seat since 1950? From what I can see, its boundaries have been:

    1950-1983: The County Borough of Hove, and the Urban District of Portslade-by-Sea. (ward boundaries and/or names the same in 1950, 1955 and 1974?)

    1983-2010: The Borough of Hove. (ward boundaries and/or names the same in 1983 and 1997?)

    2010-present: The City of Brighton and Hove wards of Brunswick and Adelaide, Central Hove, Goldsmid, Hangleton and Knoll, North Portslade, South Portslade, Stanford, Westbourne, and Wish. (are these wards coterminous with the former borough? if so, then the official description of the constituency changed but its boundaries did not)

  37. Brighton and Hove District Labour Party ( the three seats are combined into one super CLP with six thousand members) has been suspended. This is days after a momentum back slate took control of the executive.

  38. Jeremy Corbyn is being claimed to have said he would not interfere in any attempt to deselect Peter Kyle. Reaction has of course been divided on twitter. Just a guess but i imagine there is a chance especially as Momentum backed members took over the executive in Brighton District labour party before it was voided.

  39. They played in a snippet of his rally in Brighton on BBC News last night when I happened to have it on. He referenced the suspension and said he was ‘very concerned’ and wanted it – the suspension, not what happened to cause it of course – to be ‘investigated immediately’.

    Deselecting Peter Kyle – a young, able MP who managed to make a rare gain and is Labour’s only MP in the South East proper outside London – would be plain stupid.

  40. Yet i can see it happening. Especially with the boundary changes giving an excuse for it not be portrayed sectional infighting. Traditionally when boundary reviews happen sitting MP’s with a 40% or more claim on the seat are not heavily challenged for the nomination except perhaps by another sitting MP.
    One of Three in the south east if you Include Southampton and Slough in the south east.

  41. There is also Oxford East in the official South East region. But if the South East proper is Kent, Sussex and Essex then Hove is the only one.

  42. ‘Deselecting Peter Kyle – a young, able MP who managed to make a rare gain and is Labour’s only MP in the South East proper outside London – would be plain stupid.’

    It would be sheer lunacy and would show that those on the hard left have learnt absolutely nothing from what happened in the 1980s – their continuing infighting enabling Thatcher to govern for a decade

    How could anybody vote for such a party

  43. @Tim. They have learnt absolutely nothing at all given their actions recently. The difference with the 80s though is then the Labour leadership/NEC were actively trying to fight hard left insurgency (Foot was obviously of the left but he didn’t support deselections of everyone not from his wing of the party) but now the lunatics are in charge of the asylum, worrying indeed…

  44. Except nobody has been deselected, and in all the recent by-elections moderate candidates were selected.

  45. I’m not disagreeing with the main premise of the above posts but people need to be realistic, Kyle isn’t anything that special, he isn’t a bad MP sure but people are acting like he’s potential shadow cabinet material when he clearly isn’t.

    Yes he is the rare breed in having won a Tory held Southern constituency in2015 but as I’ve always maintained the seats Lab gained from the Tories and lost to the Tories in 2015 were down to the demographics of the seats themselves not the MP’s in question. Hove is trending Lab quickly, the Tories were defending a small majority and the incumbent Tory MP was standing down and replaced with what many deemed to be a bit of a duff candidate. When all this is considered Kyle’s win isn’t all that impressive certainly not impressive enough to warrant him the status as one of Labs future starts that many seem to want to bestow on him.

  46. @Rivers10

    It is far too early to say how far Kyle could go. But he’s somebody relatively young and seems quite able. That can’t be said of a lot of the 2015 Labour intake – people like Marie Rimmer, Kate Hollern, Peter Dowd and Colleen Fletcher. In saying Kyle seems able I’m not particularly making a political/ideological point. I also think Cat Smith, for example, seems quite able and deselecting her, also in a close marginal gained in 2015, would be equally stupid even though she’s on the other side of the Corbyn/anti-Corbyn debate.

    I also think Simon’s point is important, however. I’m not going to start believing widespread deselection on political grounds is going to happen until it actually happens. It is one thing to threaten it on social media, quite another to actually turn up to a meeting and effectively boot someone out of their job. People in constituencies like Hove with large, transient memberships may be most at risk though.

  47. Jack
    I would agree with all of that and as I stated I’m not saying Kyle is a bad MP I just think their needs to be a bit of moderation, I’ve made this point before that very often posters here heap praise on an MP and their only feature of note is their a Blairite. Kyle isn’t bad but he doesn’t deserve the praise he’s getting from some quarters.

    I’m also doubtful over mass de-selections (and I say that as someone who would like to see quite a few de-selections) I’ll reiterate the same point I made on the Stretford thread about Kate Green, their are Lab members who want to de-select practically every MP especially their own cos every Corbynista wants a true socialist as their MP but its little more than mumbling at this stage. There are enough MP’s where the local CLP is wholly united against the incumbent who has a high profile almost entirely for being anti Corbyn. Corbynista’s are too busy focusing on the likes of them to be bothered with the likes of Peter Kyle.

  48. I imagine that the way people have behaved will end up being as important as what their actual political viewpoint is. If they’ve spent more energy opposing the Government than their own leader then they’re much more likely to be ok than if they’ve spent all their time and energy trying to overturn the membership’s choice for leader. Particularly if Corbyn does win again, how people respond to that will be crucial. I think that, if there isn’t a move towards greater unity, then the local memberships would be entitled to take a view on whether they wanted an MP who was still working to undermine the twice-elected leader. Obviously, if this does happen, it will be seen as Corbyn being vindictive and seeking vengeance, but no other party would put up with this sort of thing without the membership having opportunities to resolve the impasse.

  49. I don’t think the candidates selected for these by elections were selected because they were moderates though but because they were popular local activists. McMahon was the leader of Oldham council, that’s usually in the job description of becoming an MP. The new MP in Sheffield is the wife of the previous MP. Parachuting candidates is something of the past I would now think.

  50. If deselections do start then that could be what results in the party splitting. Once they’re not going to be the party candidate then their only way of keeping their job would be to stand under a different banner

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