Saturday, 27 March 2010

A Look @: West Sussex (Part II)

With no easy way to split West Sussex up into manageable posts this will focus on the 'central' and 'eastern' constituencies and you can find the rest here. The West Sussex council is currently controlled by the Conservatives although the Liberal Democrats were the winners in the 2009 elections. They gained five seats but at the expense of Labour. The Tories hold 48 of the 71 seats and 7 of the 8 parliamentary seats in West Sussex and they look set to turn the whole county blue in May.



Notional Majority

Swing Needed




Laura Moffatt




CON Gain

Sussex Mid

Nicholas Soames




CON Hold


Francis Maude




CON Hold

Arundel & S Downs

Nick Herbert




CON Hold


Crawley is one of the most marginal constituencies in the country and Labour are virtually certain to lose this in May. This was probably the main reason why Laura Moffatt stood down only a fortnight ago. Labour will select a new candidate on 31st March so I'll update this when we know that is. Whoever it is they will almost certainly lose to the Conservatives PPC Henry Smith. He has led the West Sussex Council since 2003 and was responsible for reducing Moffatt's majority to virtually nothing in 2005. Tory Gain here.

Nicholas Soames has been in Parliament since 1983 but not all of them have been as MP for Mid Sussex. He represented Crawley up until 1997 and then followed some of his wards into this safer seat in boundary change. Soames is best known as being Winston Churchill's Grandson but has featured on the front bench for the Conservatives, usually in positions relating to Defence. He is another MP with mortgage problems but I suspect that as these have been paid they will have little effect on those involved. The size of his majority makes this seat the biggest Liberal Democrat target in the county but Serena Tierney has little realistic chance of unseating Soames. She did coordinate Richard Younger-Ross' successful gain in Teignbridge at the last election but Soames will be a lot harder to shift! Tory Hold.

Francis Maude was a Government Minister for a couple of years until he lost his seat in the 1992 election. He was then given the nice safe seat of Horsham in 1997 and has been a prominent member of the Conservatives shadow cabinet since. Maude was an initial target in the expenses scandal claiming for a flat only 70 yards from a house he owned. This might give the Lib Dem PPC, former Horsham Councillor Godfrey Newman, a chance but he still has a lot of votes to make up; Tory Hold.

Arundel & South Downs was Howard Flight's constituency until 2005. He was the MP secretly recorded saying if the Tories got into power spending cuts would be a lot bigger than Michael Howard was promising, causing huge embarrassment for his party. The then Deputy Chairman quit his post, had the whip withdrawn and was then forced to stand down as a candidate little over a month before the election. Quite a fall from grace! His replacement, Nick Herbert, won with ease in 2005 but he hasn't been an angel in his first term. Herbert claimed stamp duty on a house he bought less than a year after he was elected and also had to pay back just under £1,000 in overpaid mortgage claims. Despite this his majority should be enough to prevent West Sussex Councillor Derek Deedman taking this seat for the Liberal Democrats; Tory Hold.


  1. Mid Sussex saw three gains from the Conservatives in the County Council elections, including a ward in the supposedly safer Crawley fringe - therefore "three jobs" Soames may not be quite so safe as your correspondent seems. See

  2. Thanks for the information Simon. Are the Liberal Democrats having a good go at this seat then? I tried to get on your website but it doesn't seem to load.

  3. Cannot see Soames struggling..there are a hell of a lot of people in Mid Sussex who vote Liberal in local elections and then Tory in and my partner for instance as we feel a Liberal MP is a waste on the bench.

  4. Fatty Soames - aka The Crawley Food Mountain will be hard to dislodge but would be great if he was. He sould never have been allowed to flee marginal Crawley before the 97 Election. Would be ironic if Crawley ends up having a bigger Tory majority than Mid Sussex!