Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
From left, would-be parliamentary candidates Nick Slingsby, Arran Neathy and Cllr Peter Chowney. On the right, Labour's last MP for Hastings and Rye, Michael Foster, who chaired the meeting.

At the hustings: from left, would-be parliamentary candidates Nik Slingsby, Arran Neathey and Cllr Peter Chowney. On the right, Labour’s last MP for Hastings and Rye, Michael Foster, who chaired the meeting.

Chowney to stand against Rudd again

Council leader Peter Chowney has been reselected to stand for Labour in the next general election. Nick Terdre reports, photos by Roberts Photographic.

Council leader Peter Chowney, who has been reselected as the Labour Party’s parliamentary candidate in Hastings and Rye, ran the incumbent Tory MP and Home Secretary Amber Rudd close in last year’s snap general election, reducing her majority to 346 votes. That puts the constituency in the category of marginal seats, in which Labour is currently selecting its candidates.

The date of the next general election is not known, but discontent in the Conservatives over Theresa May’s handling of the Brexit negotiations could lead to her ousting and the calling of a general election before the government’s term is up in 2021.

Chowney, 63, triumphed at hustings held by the constituency Labour Party on Saturday over three other contenders – Arran Neathey, Nik Slingsby and Councillor Kim Forward, who HOT understands did not attend the meeting at the White Rock Theatre.

Voting figures have not been released, but Chowney told HOT, “It’s probably reasonable to say I won by a comfortable margin.”

“As the leader of Hastings Borough Council, Peter knows the problems we face and the opportunities we must grab to ensure we grow better as a society,” the constituency party said in a statement.

chowney 300Momentum welcome

Chowney’s selection was welcomed by Momentum chair Jon Lansman on Twitter. Last year the candidate signed up to a statement of political objectives promoted by Momentum, although he is not a member of the pressure group.

“Because I fully support the [Labour] manifesto and was one of the few Labour council leaders to back Jeremy Corbyn in both his leadership contests, I am happy to sign up,” he told the Guardian at the time.

In his message to Labour Party members at the hustings, Chowney listed among his priorities tackling poverty and the housing crisis, better road and rail links, continued economic regeneration, improvements in local healthcare and education, a commitment to sustainable energy and the re-establishment of a university campus in Hastings.

“I am a socialist and I was (probably) the only council leader to have openly supported Jeremy Corbyn in both leadership elections,” he said.

Chowney is due to seek re-election as a councillor for Tressell ward in May’s local elections.


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Posted 09:04 Tuesday, Jan 30, 2018 In: Politics


Please read our comment guidelines before posting on HOT

  1. DAR

    Tell you what, Neville Austin, you can have another referendum – in 40 years’ time – roughly the same time span between the 1975 and 2016 referendums. That’s fair, isn’t it?

    Comment by DAR — Thursday, Feb 8, 2018 @ 13:04

  2. Neville Austin

    I think it important that Mr Chowney makes clear his position on Brexit, and as soon as possible.

    The most principled position, as an internationalist, and if he wants to stop the sacrifice of the futures of our children and grandchildren, would be to speak for the complete withdrawal of the application to leave.

    Alternatively does he support at least the presentation for approval or rejection of the proposed final May negotiation result to a direct referendum of all the citizens of the UK?

    Or is he a closet leaver? – I suspect not. But if not, what?

    Comment by Neville Austin — Wednesday, Feb 7, 2018 @ 11:10

  3. DAR

    Well said, Ms Doubtfire! Rudd has been a reasonable constituency MP, but I mistrust her “vaulting ambition” and think she might ditch Hastings in pursuit of the PM’s job. Chowney, while what I call “proper Labour”, is obsessed by jobs and houses at any cost…and is quite happy to see our local environment vandalised to those ends (even though jobs rarely materialise). As a Brexiteer, I can’t vote Lib Dem. UKIP is becoming moribund. The Greens have an inbuilt contradiction…wanting to preserve the countryside and curb development, but want open borders and no limits on immigration. For me, it’s a conundrum…PS there isn’t a housing crisis, there’s a population crisis: the problem is demand, not supply.

    Comment by DAR — Thursday, Feb 1, 2018 @ 14:39

  4. Patrick Burton

    Yes, it was bound to happen!
    Councillor Chowney is very proud to confirm his early and continued support for Jeremy Corbyn. But for some of us on the ‘Left’, while we may respect Corbyn’s commitment to his principles, we may also find it difficult to support his, or by default Councillor Chowney’s policies. It may therefore be doubly difficult to convert previously floating Liberal or Tory voters in Hastings and Rye to what he and Labour stands for.

    Are Brexit Remainers going to vote for a party whose leadership in the Referendumwas very half-hearted about remaining; and now opposes a second referendum? And in spite of Labour’s looking both ways, Leavers will surely vote Tory. How much support will there be to spend £11 billion on removing further education fees against an extra £2 billion for the NHS? Do the voters want to spend a fortune in renationalising industries, which were often badly run the last time? How much support will there be for a radical extension of Trades Union ‘rights’ after voters are reminded of some of the abuses of the Closed Shop’ and the ‘Winter of DIscontent’? Also worrying are the indication of some of Labour’s economic policies, let alone the character of its proposed Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mao’s Little Red Book in hand. And then there is the influence within Labour of Momentum itself, as outlined in previous articles in HOT. How much power does it weild in selections, and de-selections, of MPs and Councilors and on Labour policies

    The last election, remember not won by Labour by a long chalk, was fought against an ill-advised and ineffective Tory leader with a rotten campaign. The situation after a cobbled together Brexit may be very different. The Conservative Party is a ruthless and formidable machine, geared to winning and retaining power. A new, younger Tory leader, with new appealing policies, against an aging Corbyn, possibly leading a divided Labour Party, advocating 1950’s solutions to current problems or, as with his recent ‘homeless’ solution, well meaning but expensive and ill-thought out policies which seem to be dreamed up without any advice from professionals in the field.

    Given the government’s troubles, division and mediocre leadership, in Tony Blair’s opinion, (he who won three elections), Labour should be 20% ahead in the polls instead of level pegging. The Greens may well decide to stand and The Liberals may collect the votes of the many fed up with Corbyn’s long-standing and principled anti-EU stand, and Labour’s ineffective anti-Brexit stance.

    Amber Rudd, well known and respected amongst Tories and others, even a possible Tory leader, may well decide to change constituency. In different circumstances she may decide otherwise and Momentum and Corbyn supporter Councillor Chowney may go down with the rest of the hard-left Labour ship; unfortunately to the detriment of the many, often non-voters, who desperately require a government with much more sympathy to the needs of the less privileged.

    Comment by Patrick Burton — Thursday, Feb 1, 2018 @ 13:33

  5. Penny

    Let’s hope the Green Party gives us an option this time.

    Comment by Penny — Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 @ 20:08

  6. Ms.Doubtfire

    Hmm….well, it was bound to happen – and now guaranteed that Amber Rudd will be moved to a safe constituency for the next general election.Whatever your political views, I think we should acknowledge Amber has been good for Hastings. She has always been loyal to this town and it will be sad if she is moved on.
    As for Councillor Chowney – it remains to be seen if he is elected as our MP. Along with many other residents I just wish he would stop promoting ‘pie in the sky’ costly iniatives and take control on how his council spends our money. Far too much has been wasted on legal fees for various issues, especially in the planning department where it would have been far wiser to admit errors and save these legal costs. He will of course lay all blame for Hastings problems on this government, and seek to close his eyes from what really is causing this town financial hardship.

    Comment by Ms.Doubtfire — Tuesday, Jan 30, 2018 @ 12:56

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