Election 2019

General election 2019: Lib Dems lose Eastbourne to Conservatives

Stephen Lloyd
Image caption Stephen Lloyd stood as a Remainer in this year's poll

The Conservatives have taken Eastbourne from the Liberal Democrats, continuing a rivalry that has seen the seat change hands three times since 2010.

Caroline Ansell took the East Sussex constituency for the Tories from the Liberal Democrats' Stephen Lloyd.

He was defending the seat after temporarily resigning the whip when he voted for Theresa May's Brexit deal.

Eastbourne saw 57% back Leave in the EU Referendum - higher than the national average of 52%.

In the 2017 snap election, Mr Lloyd won on a promise to respect the result of the referendum.

But after the election was called this year, Mr Lloyd said he had the whip restored and a "clean-slate" opportunity to stand as a Remainer for the Liberal Democrats, who wanted to stop Brexit.

Eastbourne has now changed hands between the Lib Dems and the Conservatives three times in the past nine years - Mr Lloyd won the seat in 2010, lost it to Ms Ansell in 2015, and took it back two years later.

Eastbourne results

Vote share

Party % share
Conservative 48.9%
Liberal Democrat 41.0%
Labour 7.0%
The Brexit Party 2.8%
Independent 0.3%

Vote share change since 2017

  • Conservative +4.8 Gained
  • The Brexit Party +2.8 Gained
  • Independent +0.3 Gained
  • Labour -1.2 Lost
  • Liberal Democrat -5.9 Lost

If you can't see the graphic click here

Image copyright Daniel Leal-Olivas/Getty Images
Image caption Amber Rudd resigned from Boris Johnson's cabinet and surrendered the whip

The Conservatives kept control of Hastings after the constituency's high-profile MP Amber Rudd stood down.

Hastings and Rye was an "ultra-marginal" seat after the Tories won it in 2017 with a majority of 346.

Ms Rudd, a former home secretary, resigned from the cabinet and surrendered the Tory whip over Brexit in September.

The Tory candidate who replaced her, Sally-Ann Hart, hit the headlines during the campaign over comments about people with learning difficulties - she is also one of three Conservative election candidates being investigated over allegations of anti-Semitism.

In her acceptance speech, Ms Hart said: "I pledge to represent all of the people of Hastings regardless of their political views...We need to face the future with optimism. Today we all need to come together."

Image caption Voters went to the polls in 16 constituencies and counting took place overnight

Across East and West Sussex, MPs were being elected in 16 constituencies.

In Brighton Pavilion, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas has been re-elected, increasing her majority from 14,699 to 19,940.

Lloyd Russell-Moyle, who hit the headlines for grabbing the ceremonial mace during the Brexit row and his campaigns over LGBT issues, has held Labour for Brighton Kemptown.

In Hove, Peter Kyle was re-elected but with a smaller majority after a 1.2% swing to the Conservatives.

Analysis

By Ben Weisz, political reporter, BBC Sussex

Five weeks out, trying to predict the Sussex result felt like a game of chess.

How would Brexiteers split between Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson's tribes? What role would tactical voting and electoral pacts play? Would Labour's anti-austerity message be pushing through in places like Worthing - and would that be cancelled out by strong support for the Lib Dems?

Could the Tories be punished in places like Lewes and Mid Sussex, where some traditional Conservatives are uneasy about Brexit?

In the end, things were a lot simpler. More than three-quarters of Sussex's voters chose one of the two main parties - and nearly twice as many of those preferred the Tories. Smaller parties lost their deposits on several occasions.

That left an island of red and green in Brighton and Hove, surrounded by a sea of blue - exactly where the county was in 2015.

So while the imminent exit from the EU is transforming the electoral map in the North and Midlands, here in Sussex the result is no huge departure from what we've seen here before.

Constituencies that have remained under Conservative control include Bexhill and Battle, where Huw Merriman has been re-elected, and Bognor Regis and Littlehampton, where Nick Gibb kept his seat.

Other seats staying blue include Chichester, held by Gillian Keegan; Crawley, held by Conservative Henry Smith; Wealden where Nus Ghani was re-elected; Lewes where Maria Caulfield was re-elected; Worthing East and Shoreham where Tim Loughton kept his seat; Worthing West where Sir Peter Bottomley was re-elected; and Horsham where Jeremy Quin kept his seat.

In Mid Sussex, Mims Davies was elected for the Conservatives. The previous Mid Sussex MP, Sir Nicholas Soames, was among those kicked out of the party by Boris Johnson over his opposition to a no-deal Brexit - the grandson of wartime leader Sir Winston Churchill was later welcomed back into the fold, but stood down.

Arundel and South Downs was one of the last two seats to declare in the country.

The Conservatives held the seat, with Andrew Griffith replacing retiring MP Nick Herbert, The Tories' share of the vote fell by 4.4% whereas the LibDems increased their share by 13.3% over the 2017 election.

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