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Cratus 2019 General Election Guide – Sussex


Sussex where the country and the town meet the sea. The political map of the county gives us a bit more colour than the sea of blue that surrounds it. In 2017 it elected MPs from the three major political parties as well as the country’s only Green MP. If Labour are to secure a working majority then they must make gains in seats such as Crawley and Hastings and Rye.

Out of the 17 MPs, 70% of them are Conservatives. Three of the most well known politicians have stood down and it will be interesting to see if the new candidates have raised their profile sufficiently to ensure victory on 12th December.

Arundel and South Downs
  • 2017 result – Conservative majority 23,883
  • 2017 incumbent – Nick Herbert (Conservative) is standing down.
  • EU referendum – Remain 50.3%, Leave 49.7%
  • Candidates – Andrew Griffith (Conservatives) Bella Sankey (Labour) Alison Bennett (Liberal Democrat), Robert Wheal (Independent) Isabel Thurston (Greens)

Cratus prediction – Despite Nick Herbert standing down the Conservatives will hold this seat. The Conservative candidate is a former investment banker and chief operating officer at Sky with 25 years’ experience. In a future Conservative Government, he will be the one of the figures used to reassure bosses that the new administration will be business friendly.

Bexhill and Battle
  • 2017 result – Conservative majority 22,165
  • 2017 incumbent – Huw Merriman (Conservative) is standing again.
  • EU referendum – Remain 42.3% Leave 57.7%
  • Candidates – Huw Merriman (Cons), Cllr Christine Bayliss (Labour), Martin Saunders (Lib Dems) Johnathan Kent (Greens)

Cratus prediction – This will be the third time that Huw Merriman has stood for election. Throughout the May administration he was loyal to the Prime Minister and was appointed as the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the former Chancellor. The Conservatives will comfortably hold this seat.

Bognor Regis and Littlehampton
  • 2017 result – Conservative majority 17,494
  • 2017 incumbent – Nick Gibb (Conservative) is standing down.
  • EU referendum – Remain 35.2% Leave 64.8%
  • Candidates –Nick Gibb (Conservatives) Alan Butcher (Labour) Francis Oppler (Liberal Democrat) Carol Birch (Greens), Andrew Elston (Independent) David Kurten (UK Independence Party)

Cratus prediction – Nick Gibb has held this seat for the Conservatives since 1997 and has been a Minister at the Department for Education since 2014. The demographics of this seat is different to neighbouring constituencies  (the coastal towns to the south are very deprived) however given its high anti-Brexit stance in the constituency then then Conservatives will hold this seat.

Brighton Kemptown
  • 2017 result – Labour majority 9,868
  • 2017 incumbent – Lloyd Russell-Moyle (Labour) is standing again.
  • EU referendum – Remain 56.4% Leave 43.6%
  • Candidates – Joe Miller (Conservatives) Lloyd Russell-Moyle (Labour) Ben Thomas (Liberal Democrat) Graham Cushway (Brexit Party), Alex Phillips (Greens).

Cratus prediction – The Conservatives lost this seat at the last election at a time when the Labour Party was building on its success in the City of Brighton and Hove. The Conservatives have selected a local City Councillor and are working hard in the constituency, however their vote will be divided by the Brexit candidate.

The Remain vote will also be divided by the fact that the Greens are standing. Alex Phillips is both the Mayor for the City and an MEP. However the Greens popularity in the constituency is not as great as in the neighbouring Brighton Pavilion.

Looking at the local election results in May it is predicted that Labour will hold this seat.

Brighton Pavilion
  • 2017 result – Green majority 14,699
  • 2017 incumbent – Caroline Lucas (Green) is standing again.
  • EU referendum –Remain 74.0% Leave26.0%
  • Candidates – Emma Hogan(Conservative) Caroline Lucas (Green) Adam Imanpour (Labour). Richard Milton (The Brexit Party), Citizen Skwith (Monster Raving Loony Party), Nigel Furness (UK Independence Party).

Cratus prediction – The cult of Caroline as the country’s only Green MP seems to go from strength to strength. She has represented the constituency since 2010 and at each election she has increased her majority. At this election her task of being reelected is assisted by the fact that the Lib Dems have decided not to put up a candidate. The Greens will keep this seat.

  • 2017 result – Conservative majority 22,621
  • 2017 incumbent – Gillian Keegan (Conservative) is standing again.
  • EU referendum – Remain 49.3% Leave 50.7%
  • Candidates – Gillian Keegan (Conservatives) Jay Morton (Labour) Dr Kate O’Kelly (Liberal Democrats) Heather Barry (Greens)

Cratus prediction – The Conservatives performance at the local elections shocked the local party, however in recent council by-elections the Conservatives have done well. The Liberal Democrats have not entered into a pact with the Greens in Chichester following various spats that they have had on the local council.
Gillian Keegan is a somewhat of a moderate Conservative. She has held the seat since 2017. The Conservatives should hold this seat.

  • 2017 result – Conservative majority 2,459
  • 2017 incumbent – Henry Smith (Conservative) is standing again.
  • EU referendum – Remain 41.6% Leave 58.4%
  • Candidates – Henry Smith (Conservatives) Peter Lamb (Labour) Khalil Yousuf (Liberal Democrats) Iain Dickson (Greens)

Cratus prediction – This is a seat to watch out for.  Crawley is unique amongst it’s Sussex constituency.

This is one of the few marginal seats in Sussex. Labour managed to win the seat in 1997 and held it until 2010. Laura Moffat the town ‘s Labour MP for that time famously had a tattoo placed  on her left foot of a Labour rose with the number ’37’ in order to remind her of her slim majority in 2005.

After successive boundary reviews the constituency consists of just the urban areas of Crawley and no longer is made up of any rural communities. Due to its proximity to Gatwick airport the borough is economically active however the average income is lower than the rest of the county.

Nearly a third of the constituency (28%) are from non-White British background and this is considerably higher than the regional average.

Some of the key issues in the constituency involve Gatwick expansion, housing and transport.

The Labour candidate (Peter Lamb) is the Leader of the Council and has a high profile. Though the constituency is socially conservative it has a strong Labour presence. Given that there is no Brexit Party candidate this should work well for Henry Smith however this is one seat which could go either way.

  • 2017 result – Liberal Democrat 1,609
  • 2017 incumbent – Stephen Lloyd (Liberal Democrat) is standing again.
  • EU referendum – Remain 42.5% Leave 57.5%
  • Candidates – Caroline Ansell (Conservatives) Jake Lambert (Labour) Stephen Lloyd (Liberal Democrat) Stephen Gander (Brexit Party) Ken Pollock (Independent)

Cratus prediction – This is one seat to watch out for. Over the last couple of elections this seat has switched between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats. Stephen Lloyd won his old seat back from the Conservatives in 2017 but only to lose the Liberal Democrat whip  over his stance on Brexit. He has now had the whip restored and is the official candidate. He faces Caroline Ansell who was the Conservative MP for Eastbourne between 2015 and 2017. The Conservatives could possibly take this seat back however the Brexit Party candidate may take votes away from them so in turn could help the Liberal Democrats to hold the seat.

Hastings and Rye
  • 2017 result – Conservative majority 346
  • 2017 incumbent – Amber Rudd (Conservative) is standing down.
  • EU referendum – Remain 44.1% Leave 55.9%
  • Candidates – Sally-Ann Hart (Conservatives) Peter Chowney (Labour) Nick Perry (Liberal Democrats) Paul Crosland (Independent)

Cratus prediction – In the past this has been a three-way marginal seat (Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats) but more recently the fight has been between Labour and the Conservatives. The seat since 2010 has ben held by the high-profile politician Amber Rudd but she has now decided not to restand. Sally-Ann Hart is currently a Rother District Councillor. She is a former Commercial and Family lawyer. Peter Chowney as former Hastings Town Councillor stood against Amber Rudd in 2017. The Labour Party’s inability to gain traction with the southern electorate probably means that they will not take the seat off the Conservatives.

  • 2017 result – Conservative majority 23,484
  • 2017 incumbent – Jeremy Quinn (Conservative) is standing again.
  • EU referendum – Remain50.5% Leave 49.5%
  • Candidates – Jeremy Quinn (Conservatives) Cllr Michael Jones (Labour) Cllr Louise Potter (Liberal Democrats) Jim Duggan (The Peace Party), Catherine Ross (Greens)

Cratus prediction – This has always been a Conservative seat, however the Liberal Democrats have started doing well at local elections in the district especially in Horsham town. Louise Potter is a Horsham District Councillor and has been vocal about standing up against development in the district. It is anticipated that the Conservatives will keep the seat.

  • 2017 result – Labour majority 18.757
  • 2017 incumbent – Peter Kyle (Labour) is standing again.
  • EU referendum – Remain 67.0% Leave 33.0%
  • Candidates – Robert Nemeth (Conservatives) Peter Kyle (Labour) Beatrice Bass (Liberal Democrats), Ollie Sykes (Greens) Angela Hancock (Brexit Party) Dame Dixon (Monster Raving Loony Party)

Cratus prediction – This has been a Labour seat since 2010. Though Peter Kyle is not that popular with some members of his Constituency Labour Party he is popular with his constituency and has increased his majority each time he has stood for election. Labour will hold this seat.

  • 2017 result – Conservative majority 5,508
  • 2017 incumbent – Maria Caulfield (Conservative) is standing again.
  • EU referendum – Remain 52.6% Leave 47.4%
  • Candidates – Maria Caulfield (Conservatives) Kate Chappell (Labour) Oli Henman (Liberal Democrats) Johnny Denis (Greens) Paul Cragg (Independent)

Cratus prediction – Until 2015 this seat was held by the Liberal Democrats.  It is a constituency of two halves. The coastal areas are very different to the areas based in the South Downs National Park. Lewes is also traditionally very independent minded. The Conservatives will just hold this seat.

Mid Sussex
  • 2017 result – Conservative majority 19,763
  • 2017 incumbent – Sir Nicholas Soames (Conservative) is standing down.
  • EU referendum –Remain 53.5% Leave 46.5%
  • Candidates – Mims Davies (Conservatives) Gemma Bolton (Labour) Robert Eggleston (Liberal Democrats) Deanna Nicholson (Greens) Baron Von Thunderclap (Monster Raving Loony Party) Brett Mortensen (Advance Together)

Cratus prediction – Until this election the seat was represented for 22 years by Sir Nicholas Soames. He was one of the 21 MPs who lost the Conservative whip. He decided not to seek reelection. There is a feeling amongst many of his constituents that the Party treated him badly and as such there may be a lot of tactical voting taking place at this election to punish the party over his treatment. This could be a good election for the Liberal Democrats. The Conservatives only selected their candidate at the last minute and she has a low profile in the area. Mims Davies had been the Conservative MP for Eastleigh and had decided to stand down from Parliamentary life but in the end was persuaded to stand in this seat. The Conservatives will win this seat but with a reduced majority

  • 2017 result – Conservative majority 23,268
  • 2017 incumbent – Nus Ghani (Conservative) is standing again.
  • EU referendum – Remain 47.3% Leave52.7%
  • Candidates – Nus Ghani (Conservative) Angie Smith (Labour) Chris Bowers (Liberal Democrats) Georgia Taylor (Greens)

Cratus prediction – Nus Ghani was first elected to this safe seat in 2015. In the last four years she has served the Government both as a Minister at the Department for Transport and as the Lord Commissioner at the HM Treasury. She is the first female MP to represent this seat. At the 2017 election she increased her majority by nearly 700 votes.   This is a safe Conservative seat and she should be re-elected.

Worthing East and Shoreham
  • 2017 result – Conservative majority 5,106
  • 2017 incumbent – Tim Loughton (Conservative) is standing again.
  • EU referendum –Remain 47.0% Leave 53.0%
  • Candidates – Tim Loughton (Conservatives) Lavinia O’Connor (Labour) Ashley Ridely (Liberal Democrats) Sophie Cook (Independent), Leslie Williams (Greens)

Cratus prediction – Tim Loughton has represented this seat for the Conservatives since 1997. He is an active Parliamentary and a vocal advocate for Worthing East and Shoreham. This is a safe Conservative seat.

Worthing West
  • 2017 result – Conservative majority 12,090
  • 2017 incumbent – Sir Peter Bottomley (Conservative) is standing again.
  • EU referendum – Remain 44.0% Leave 56.0%
  • Candidates – Sir Peter Bottomley (Conservatives) Cllr Beccy Cooper (Labour) Jamie Bennett (Liberal Democrats) David Aherne (Independent) Jo Paul (Greens)

Cratus prediction – Sir Peter has represented this seat since 1975 and if re-elected could become the “Father of the House” (The title given to the longest serving MP). He is also the husband to Lady Virginia Bottomley who was in John Major’s cabinet. Sir Peter is well known and respected in Sussex. This is a safe Conservative seat.

May's by-election report