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Labour’s Helena Dollimore gives her acceptance speech after being voted in as MP for Hastings & Rye. Flanking her, from left, Lucian Fernando (Reform UK), Becca Horn (Green Party), Sally-Ann Hart (outgoing Conservative MP), Guy Harris (Lib Dems), Phillip Colley (Workers Party of Britain), Nicholas Davies (Communist Party of Britain), Paul Crosland (independent) and HBC’s acting returning officer Jane Hartnell.

Dollimore walks it, while LibDems gain two East Sussex seats

It was pretty much as the polls predicted both locally and nationally – Helena Dollimore easing to victory for Labour in Hastings & Rye, while her party more than reversed its historic losses of 2019 across the UK. Elsewhere in East Sussex the Conservatives lost two seats to the Liberal Democrats but held on to the other two. Nick Terdre reports, graphics by Russell Hall.

The large lead projected by the polls in general for Helena Dollimore in Hastings & Rye over incumbent MP Sally-Ann Hart proved accurate in yesterday’s general election, with the Labour candidate taking the seat by 19,134 votes to the Conservative’s 10,481.

Third was Reform UK’s Lucian Fernando, with 7,401 votes, followed by the Greens’ Becca Horn (5,361) and the Liberal Democrats’ Guy Harris (2,586). Phillip Colley of the Workers Party of Britain polled 362 votes, Nicholas Davies of the Communist Party of Britain 136 and independent Paul Crosland 129.

In Bexhill & Battle, where a close contest developed with some suggestions of a Labour victory, the Conservative candidate Kieran Mullan came out on top by 16,186 votes to 13,529 for Labour's Christine Bayliss.

Elsewhere in East Sussex the Liberal Democrats took two seats from the Tories with large majorities: Lewes, where James MacCleary polled 26,895 against Maria Caulfield’s 14,271, and Eastbourne, where Josh Babarinde left Caroline Ansell trailing 23,742 to 11,538.

The Tories also held Sussex Weald, Wealden as was before boundary changes, with Nus Ghani triumphing by 16,758 votes over the Lib Dems’ Danielle Newson (9,916) and Labour’s Dipesh Patel (8,239).


Across the UK, with only two seats still to be declared just after midday, Labour stood at 412, up 211 on the 2019 result, the Conservatives 121, down 250 - their worst ever result - and the Lib Dems 71, up 63. The latter have supplanted the Scottish Nationalist Party as the third largest in Parliament - the SNP endured a disastrous campaign which has seen them reduced to nine seats, down 38.

Meanwhile Reform won four seats, returning Nigel Farage in Clacton on his eighth attempt to enter Parliament. The Green Party was up three seats to four and Plaid Cymru up two, also to four.

The ongoing death and destruction wreaked in Gaza was also reflected in the election results, with Labour losing four seats to pro Palestinian candidates. However the Workers Party of Britain won none, and its recent by-election victor George Galloway lost Rochdale to Labour.

Meanwhile former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, since expelled from the party and standing as an independent, won Islington North by more than 7,000 votes over the Labour candidate.

The toll of Tory losses included several current and former holders of high office, including Liz Truss, Penny Mordaunt, Grant Shapps. Gillian Keegan, Therese Coffey and Jacob Rees-Mogg. Prime minister Richi Sunak kept his seat with a thuumping majority.

Turnout overall was low, at around 60%, indicating a lack of enthusiasm among the electorate. That would be the second lowest level since 1885, according to the BBC’s psephological guru John Curtis. He also pointed out that Labour’s vote share in England was largely unchanged from 2019, with Tory losses largely attributed to leaking votes to Reform.

Turnout in Hastings & Rye was 60.8%, but higher elsewhere in East Sussex: 66.4% in Bexhill & Battle, 65.5% in Eastbourne, 70% in Lewes and 67.7% in Sussex Weald.


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Posted 18:31 Friday, Jul 5, 2024 In: Elections

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