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Labour candidate Helena Dollimore out canvassing with party colleagues (photo: Hastings & Rye CLP).

Dollimore heads field of eight in Hastings & Rye

Nominations in Hastings & Rye having closed, voters now know they have a choice of eight candidates when they go to the polls on 4 July. HOT’s Chris Connelley surveys the field, graphics by Russell Hall. Information on candidates standing in Bexhill & Battle is given below.

Conservative incumbent Sally-Ann Hart, who won the seat with a majority of 4,043 in 2019, having taken over her party’s nomination from former Home Secretary Amber Rudd, will face challenges from the right and left in the largest field in recent memory.

Her main challenger is international charity worker Helena Dollimore, standing for the Labour and Co-operative Party, who has adopted a high profile in the constituency since being selected last year, fronting campaigns to save the fire station on The Ridge and holding Southern Water to account after sea water pollution and flooding in the town. With a large lead in national polls, Labour is widely predicted to take the seat.

The Green Party, which enjoyed major success in May’s borough council elections, when it became the largest party and now leads the Council, will be fielding Castle Ward councillor Becca Horn as its candidate in the first general election it has contested here since 2015. Currently polling at around 6%, the party is focusing its efforts on four seats where it thinks it has a decent chance of victory: Brighton Pavilion, the only seat it currently holds in parliament, which has been Green since 2010, Bristol Central, Waveney Valley in East Anglia and Herefordshire.

The Liberal Democrat candidate is Guy Harris, a newcomer who takes over from veteran campaigner Nick Perry. The party has not held a seat on the borough council for over a decade, and secured just 7% of the vote in the last general election in 2019. Mr Harris will be looking to offer voters a different perspective and to re-establish his party as players locally rather than to win. Liberal Democrat efforts in the county will be concentrated on the two marginal seats of Lewes and Eastbourne, where they have good chances of taking seats from the Conservatives.

The entry of Nigel Farage into the contest early last week as Reform UK party leader and candidate for Clacton has ignited the election on the right, with latest polling putting the party neck and neck with the Conservatives. Its local candidate is former Silverhill councillor, Lucian Fernando, who lost his seat in May. Mr Fernando, who was expelled from the Conservatives (he claims he resigned), will be hoping to benefit from the momentum gained from his party’s surge in the polls.

They will be joined by three other candidates: Nicholas Davies, representing  the Communist Party of Britain; Phil Colley, from the Workers Party of Great Britain, on whose ticket veteran left winger George Galloway took the parliamentary seat of Rochdale in a by-election earlier this year; and Independent Paul Crosland, who also stood in 2019, taking 565 votes.

According to the YouGov poll published on 3 June, Labour has a 50% vote share in Hastings & Rye, the Conservatives 29%, Reform 10%, Greens 6%, LibDems 9%  and others 1%.

HOT will be covering the launch of the party manifestos and local campaigning over the coming weeks.. Together with Hastings Independent Press we are organising a hustings to which all candidates will be invited. The hustings will be held in The Studio, White Rock Theatre on Thursday 27 June. More details will be released in due course.

Tight race in Bexhill & Battle

Voters in Bexhill & Battle also have a choice of 10 candidates with Conservative and Labour vying for victory, reports Nick Terdre.

Following incumbent Huw Merriman’s decision to join the growing ranks of Tory MPs seeking alternative employment, his place has been taken by Kieran Mullan, an outsider who was formerly MP for Crewe & Nantwich. Mullan has been roundly taken to task on NextDoor for consistently voting against environmental improvements and other progressive measures.

Labour’s candidate is Christine Bayliss, deputy leader of Rother District Council, who has opposed the proposed migrant detention centre at Northeye.

According to last week’s YouGov poll, the Tories are ahead on 38% against 32% for Labour, while the slightly earlier Electoral Calculus sounding put Labour on 38.9% against the Tories on 34.4%.

Reform's candidate Ian Gribbin is in third place with 13%, according to YouGov, followed by the LibDems' Becky Jones with 10% and the Greens' with 6%.

Far right voters are spoilt for choice, with UKIP – the UK Independence Party – fielding Colin Sullivan.

Standing as an independent is Abul Azad, East Sussex County Council vice chair, who recently resigned from the Conservative Party declaring himself “disappointed and disillusioned” – it will be interesting to see to what extent he attracts the support of similarly disenchanted Tories.

There is a culture wars candidate too, in the shape of Julia Long of the Party of Women, who believe “no woman has a penis, no man has a vagina”.

The list of candidates is completed by Nigel Jacklin of the Independent Network and a stand-alone independent, Jeff Newnham.

If you’re enjoying HOT and would like us to continue providing fair and balanced reporting on local matters please consider making a donation. Click here to open our PayPal donation link. Thank you for your continued support!

Posted 21:25 Sunday, Jun 9, 2024 In: Politics


Please read our comment guidelines before posting on HOT

  1. DAR

    None of the parties (with the possible exception of Reform) seem to understand that the housing problem is one of DEMAND and not SUPPLY. There are just too many people on our small island. We cannot keep building forever – land is needed for agriculture (“food security”). And population growth affects everything – water, energy, transport, sewage and so on. I’m still an undecided voter.

    Comment by DAR — Tuesday, Jun 11, 2024 @ 11:07

  2. Anna Sabin

    I’m looking forward to the Labour Party in government being braver about public transport vs car privilege than the Governor of New York has shown herself to be!

    Comment by Anna Sabin — Monday, Jun 10, 2024 @ 20:52

  3. Roger Burton

    Lucian Fernando did not “defect” from the Conservatives he was dismissed. You really should publish these details accurately, a simple error of that type could seriously affect a voters opinion of him.

    Comment by Roger Burton — Monday, Jun 10, 2024 @ 06:44

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