Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
Sally-Ann Hart appears to be a popular choice of candidate among her fellow Tories (photo: Sally-Ann Hart Conservative FB page).

Sally-Ann Hart, centre, appears to be a popular choice of candidate among her fellow Tories (photo: Sally-Ann Hart Conservative FB page).

Hart selected to stand for Tories, who come under fire from Labour and Lib Dems

The Conservatives have finally picked their candidate – Rother councillor Sally-Ann Hart. She will be the sole Leave representative, following the Brexit Party’s decision not to contest the seat. Meanwhile Labour has raised the core issue of housing, criticising the government’s starter home policy for producing nothing, while the Lib Dems claim to have made inroads into the Tory vote. Nick Terdre reports.

The rumours about the Conservative candidacy which came HOT’s way from both Labour and the Liberal Democrats  turned out to be correct, even if no official decision had been made at the time – it is indeed Rother councillor Sally-Ann Hart who will defend the Hastings & Rye marginal, where Amber Rudd scraped in by just 346 votes two years ago.

Hart has general election experience under her belt, having unsuccessfully contested the North West Durham seat in 2017. “ I am delighted to have been selected by the local membership tonight to represent the party at the upcoming election,” she said at the weekend after getting the nod over Rob Lee, leader of the Tory group on Hastings Borough Council.

“Hastings and Rye needs to continue to have strong representation in Westminster and I promise to do that if elected by the local people.”

She listed the party’s priorities as delivering Brexit, schools, health, the environment, transport links and the local economy. Her enthusiasm for Brexit distinguishes her from Rudd, a well-known Remainer. And the Brexit Party’s decision not to contest seats won by the Tories in 2017, combined with Ukip’s statement on Monday that they would “only be approving candidates for areas where there is no clear Clean-Brexit Leaver standing,” mean that Hart will be the sole candidate carrying the Brexit banner.

Housing record under attack

Meanwhile local Labour has attacked the Tory government’s record on housing, and in particular their failed “promise to create 200,000 new ‘starter homes’ in England for first-time buyers” – “since the scheme was launched by David Cameron in 2015 not a single one has been built,” the party said, citing a National Audit Office report.

Peter Chowney at a students' climate strike gathering.

Peter Chowney at a students’ climate strike gathering.

“The government admits that the housing market is broken but doesn’t know how to fix it,” said parliamentary candidate and HBC council leader Peter Chowney. “What is needed is not piecemeal schemes such as the ‘starter homes’, but much more affordable social housing.”

There are 1,666 people on the Hastings housing waiting list, living in overcrowded, unsuitable housing, according to Labour. Many more “want social housing but are sadly turned down. And there are currently 78 families living in temporary accommodation with their lives on hold.”

“Hastings Council is now investigating the possibility of starting to build council houses again, for the first time in over 20 years,” said Chowney.

“This would be much easier under a Labour government, with a commitment to fund local councils to build a million new council homes. We need a dramatic increase in housing investment if we’re to provide the homes that people need, but can’t afford.”

Nick Perry on the doorstep.

Nick Perry on the doorstep.

Lib Dems claim flying start

The Tories have also come under fire from the Lib Dem candidate, Nick Perry. Before Hart’s selection was announced, he accused them of “taking local voters for granted” and suggested that “local people should think very carefully about whether to support them, particularly if they have voted Conservative in the past.

“By contrast, the Liberal Democrats have had a flying start in this campaign,” Perry said. “We have made contact with thousands of voters already. Many former Conservative supporters have told us they will be switching away from a party that is increasingly seen as extreme and unreliable.

“My own priorities for this campaign are very clear. They are to stop Brexit; tackle the climate crisis; and to secure local jobs and services.”



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Posted 14:56 Wednesday, Nov 13, 2019 In: Election 2019


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  1. Ms.Doubtfire

    One thing is for certain here – we need an MP who will demande an investigation into the strange workings of Sea Space and Sea Change…why are these companies accounts unavailable to view – because they are private companies, but using public monies.
    No more hiding behind the private company screen – we need to know precisely what these companies are up to and what role our elected councillors play in the management of these companies…the recent Ore Valley scandal surely is sufficient evidence to warrant a public enquiry.

    Comment by Ms.Doubtfire — Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019 @ 09:38

  2. David Stevenson

    Ms. Doubtfire, I judge people and politicians by what they do not by what they say. That is what counts in life. Actions achieve results. Words achieve nothing. Politicians are very good at talking, which is the only reason they get selected as candidates. They are useless at doing, unless it is to benefit themselves. There is no such thing as a poor politician. In the past I have had replies to correspondence I have made to Mr Foster and Ms Rudd, when they were the MP. You could mix up the replies because they both gave the same old boring, meaningless platitudes along the lines of “we are spendng more money than the previous Government”. This standard answer which assumes every problem can be solved just by throwing money at it shows the shallowness and ignorance of the political class. Unfortunately, unless the political system itself is replaced by something more sensible and mature, nothing is going to improve. In the forthcoming election, choosing between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn is like choosing between the Kray twins.

    Comment by David Stevenson — Friday, Nov 15, 2019 @ 14:34

  3. Ms.Doubtfire

    David Stevenson is being somewhat unfair to Amber Rudd and Michael Foster. Both these MP’s have always shown their faith in this town and although not a Labour supporter I have to say Michael Foster was an excellent MP – no question on that one…Amber Rudd always did her utmost here to do her very best for Hastings and it is really sad to hear the unfair criticims meted upon her.
    Both Amber and Michael were MPs to be proud of…and lets us hope if she is elected, the Tory candidate will carry the torch for this town which is so desperate for some decent leadership.

    Comment by Ms.Doubtfire — Thursday, Nov 14, 2019 @ 16:50

  4. David Stevenson

    Sally-Ann Hart’s statement: “Hastings and Rye needs to continue to have strong representation in Westminster and I promise to do that if elected by the local people.”

    Key words here – “continue”. Well, since I moved to the town in 2005, neither the Labour MP Michael Foster nor Conservative MP Amber Rudd have represented us in Westminster. They have merely represented their party in the town.

    The other key word “promise”. How much is the promise of an MP worth? There are more people who believe in Santa Claus than believe politicians. In the real world, if we don’t do what we promise, we have to take the consequences. In politics, breaking promises is seen by them as a virtue.

    Don’t insult our intelligence, Ms Hart.

    Comment by David Stevenson — Thursday, Nov 14, 2019 @ 09:42

  5. Keith Piggott

    Ms Rudd is gone, the obtuse government is gone, the recidivist remain parliament is gone. Amber, whom I once tipped for leadership of her party proved to be a chameleon ‘remain’ politician. She had a glaring blind spot. She did not grasp and root out corrupt partisan policing I exposed (2012 to 2016); her staff repeatedly denying access by this constituent to discuss the Chief Constable’s still ongoing defaults of Information Commissioner’s 2019 decision on releasing personal data, also to correct the Chief Constable’s ongoing violation of PACE Section 30 (a sham arrest-dearrest record, set up by a developer convicted of violent assault over my replacement of a ‘No Trespass’ sign deliberately felled on the 1892 legal boundary.

    December 12th may see a landslide election result; but which way? As a veteran, I cannot vote for Corbyn’s historic disaffections. I will not vote for Liberal hypocrisy denying the democratic mandate – instead seeking a binary choice between Remain and EU Deal voters have not read or did not understand, i.e. like voting on an unfamiliar religious book without a ‘No Thanks” option. And I could not vote for any dissolute, obfuscating, even mendacious premiership. So, none of the above! I shall again vote with my conscience, again a wasted vote if 2016 referendum history is repeated. KP

    Comment by Keith Piggott — Thursday, Nov 14, 2019 @ 00:19

  6. Michael Edwards

    Sally-Ann Hart is an excellent Conservative candidate who has pledged to support Boris Johnson in bringing about the Brexit that the people of Hastings & Rye so emphatically voted for over three years ago. It has been a painful spectacle watching Parliament trying to frustrate the referendum result and the prospect of either Labour in its conflicted confusion or the LibDems in its extremist naivety chuntering on for years to come fills me with horror. Let the Conservatives get the job done and then we can move on to the many other pressing matters which have been on hold for too long.

    Comment by Michael Edwards — Wednesday, Nov 13, 2019 @ 22:26

  7. Ms.Doubtfire

    At least she is a ‘local’ – maybe she will deliver – maybe we should give her a chance…and maybe just maybe we can get this town back on an even keel with some sensible people making sensible decisions and listening to local residents…
    The current council does not listen to anyone – they just plough on regardless of the damage they have caused to our town and our environment. There is no democracy in this town.

    Comment by Ms.Doubtfire — Wednesday, Nov 13, 2019 @ 19:36

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