Election 2017

Tories lose Eastbourne and Kemptown but Rudd holds on in Hastings

A Conservative party worker keeps a close eye on the recount of votes in Hastings Image copyright Reuters
Image caption There was a recount in Hastings and Rye

The Conservatives have lost key seats in Sussex, but Home Secretary Amber Rudd has kept her place in the Commons with a slender win.

Liberal Democrat Stephen Lloyd won Eastbourne from the Conservatives after losing it at the 2015 General Election.

In Brighton Kemptown, Economic Secretary to the Treasury Simon Kirby lost to Labour's Lloyd Russell-Moyle.

After a recount in Hastings and Rye, Ms Rudd scraped to victory with a narrow 346-vote lead.

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Media captionAmber Rudd's acceptance speech

Ms Rudd won 25,668 votes, beating Labour's Peter Chowney, with 25,322.

Caroline Lucas held on to Brighton Pavilion for the Green Party, while Labour's Peter Kyle kept Hove with a 64.1% share of the vote.

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Media captionCaroline Lucas speaks after retaining Brighton Pavilion

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Ms Lucas said Theresa May's campaign was "arrogant and insulting".

"I am hoping progressives across Parliament will work together to challenge an extreme Brexit which is brutal, damaging and wrong," she added.

In his acceptance speech, Mr Kyle said: "Not only have we held on to the little red dot in the South of England there are now plenty more right across the region. And none of those dots makes me happier than Lloyd in Kemptown."

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Media captionPeter Kyle's acceptance speech in Hove

Conservative Simon Kirby lost Kemptown to Labour's Lloyd Russell-Moyle, who secured a 58.3 % share of the vote.

Mr Russell-Moyle said people had "decided it was time for a change and time for Labour".

In Eastbourne, Stephen Lloyd came first with 26,924 votes, while Caroline Ansell, the sitting Tory MP, came a close second with 25,315 votes.

The East Sussex constituency was a target seat for the Lib Dems and Brexit was a key focus of their campaign.

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Media captionStephen Lloyd is re-elected as MP for Eastbourne

Mr Lloyd said he would respect the result and not campaign for a second referendum, which had been a key Liberal Democrat policy.

Meanwhile, in East Worthing and Shoreham, Tim Laughton held on for the Tories with 25,988 votes, but Labour saw a surge in support, with candidate Sophie Cook securing 20,882.

Analysis: Sussex political reporter Ben Weisz

Before this election Sussex was a sea of Tory blue. That sea has not evaporated but the tide has receded a little.

Seats like Chichester and Wealden were never in doubt, while the Tories saw off the Lib Dems in a tight tussle in Lewes.

But then came the news that Amber Rudd was in trouble in Hastings. She eventually won the day, but Labour's Peter Chowney ran her very close.

For an incumbent home secretary, even with a relatively small majority, it's quite a shock.

Then the news that Hove would not turn blue. The Tory campaign manager there told me the ill-fated launch of the Conservative manifesto changed the tone of the campaign and put the Tories on the defensive.

Then followed Stephen Lloyd's return to office in Eastbourne for the Lib Dems.

As we headed into morning, Kemptown fell to Labour. Lloyd Russell-Moyle didn't just unseat Treasury Minister Simon Kirby, he got a majority of nearly 10,000. Kemptown is no longer a marginal.

Lewes was third on the list of Liberal Democrat targets, but Maria Caulfield kept the constituency for the Tories and increased her votes by 7,614.

Ms Caulfield, a registered nurse and Brighton councillor, won the seat with a small majority as a first-time MP in 2015 from Liberal Democrat Norman Baker.

She said it was a "huge honour" to win again and she would "work tirelessly" for the constituency.

Elsewhere in East Sussex, the Tories also held Bexhill & Battle and Wealden. And in West Sussex, they also kept their seats in Arundel & South Downs, Bognor & Littlehampton, Chichester, Crawley, Horsham, Mid Sussex, and Worthing West.

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