Tories strengthen their support across Sussex

Caroline Ansell arriving at the Town Hall in Eastbourne ahead of the election result SUS-191213-030307001
Caroline Ansell arriving at the Town Hall in Eastbourne ahead of the election result SUS-191213-030307001

As Boris Johnson’s Conservatives swept to their biggest national landslide since 1987, the Tories strengthened their grip on Sussex.

They retained seats like Chichester in the west and Bexhill and Battle in the East with massive majorities.

New Conservative MPs were welcomed like Andrew Griffith in Arundel and the South Downs and Mims Davies in Mid Sussex, the former seat of Sir Nicholas Soames.

But they also won back Eastbourne from the Lib Dems with Caroline Ansell reclaiming the seat that she lost to Stephen Lloyd in 2017.

All eyes had been on areas like Hastings and Rye which former Conservative MP and Home Secretary Amber Rudd had previously held with a wafer thin majority.

New Tory representative Sally-Ann Hart comfortably secured it even though Labour has always been a strong contender here.

Other historically swing seats like Lewes - once the domain of Lib Dem Norman Baker - remained true blue with Maria Caulfield being re-elected.

There were some signs of Lib Dems strengthening of their vote in rural Sussex on the previous election but by no-where near enough to make a difference.

Only in Brighton and Hove were the Tories held at bay - with Labour retaining its two seats and the Greens through Caroline Lucas maintaining their one UK constituency.

But outside Brighton, Sussex held on to its reputation as a Conservative strong-hold.

Rural areas had voted for Brexit in the 2016 referendum and it seems a silent majority of remainers and leavers were determined to send a message that the outcome of the EU membership vote must be respected in a democracy and that they wanted the uncertainty to end.

That uncertainty was seen by Sussex business as more damaging than any possible economic downsides of leaving the EU.

There were also fears that in a county of high property prices that Labour’s tax plans and potential changes to inheritance tax would have a disproportionate and highly negative impact.

Sussex results:

Arundel and South Downs - Tory Hold (Andrew Griffith)

Bexhill and Battle - Tory Hold (Huw Merriman)

Bognor Regis and Littlehampton - Tory Hold (Nick Gibb)

Brighton Kemptown - Labour Hold (Lloyd Russell-Moyle)

Brighton Pavilion - Green Hold (Caroline Lucas)

Chichester - Tory Hold (Gillian Keegan)

Crawley - Tory Hold (Henry Smith)

East Worthing and Shoreham - Tory Hold (Tim Loughton)

Eastbourne - Tory Gain (Caroline Ansell)

Hastings and Rye - Tory Hold (Sally-Ann Hart)

Horsham - Tory Hold (Jeremy Quin)

Hove - Labour hold (Peter Kyle)

Lewes - Tory hold (Maria Caulfield)

Mid Sussex - Tory hold (Mims Davies)

Wealden - Tory Hold (Nus Ghani)

Worthing West - Tory Hold (Sir Peter Bottomley)