Posted on 20th April 2017
Contrary to general misconception, East and West Sussex are not so true blue that you simply weigh the Tory votes, even if that is the picture in large rural stretches along the South Downs.
In 2015, it was the loss of the two seats of Eastbourne and Lewes by the Lib Dems to the Conservatives that helped bolster David Cameron’s wafer-thin majority. Brighton and Hove – the single largest mass of population in the county – boasts Westminster’s only Green MP Caroline Lucas as one of its own. The other two seats are held by Labour and Conservative. And Hastings and Rye, the seat of Home Secretary Amber Rudd, has a long-standing Labour ancestry which means no party can take it for granted. Sussex: political bellweather The June 8 general election may well be determined by the likes of Eastbourne and Lewes. Can the Lib Dems – whose previous success was rooted in high profile local MPs – win them back? And can Labour retain its seat at Hove? If the debate comes down to a battle on Brexit lines, then the overall Sussex EU referendum vote exactly mirrored the national poll – with a surge of Brexit support in faded seaside resorts being diluted in part by strong backing for Remain in Brighton.
Of course, the world has moved on since the referendum. Business likes certainty. There are Remainers in Sussex who simply want the Government to get on with Brexit – securing the best deal for Britain and opening new markets across the globe. Opposition parties in general and the Lib Dems in particular must hope that’s not a view that has gained universal acceptance across the county and country – or Sussex will have entirely vindicated the Prime Minister’s decision to go to the polls.
Gary Shipton is Editor in Chief of Sussex Newspapers
"“We have been members of BHBPA from its inception, and seen the organisation steadily grow and expand into the dynamic entity it is today, bringing positive benefits to all its members.""
""BHBPA is a really well organised and run group, great for networking and benefitting from knowledgeable local speakers with real business insight. Peter brings enthusiasm and humour which helps drive the association forward. I am glad to be part of it.""
"This association was started with a lot of effort from a few local businessmen and has proved to be a very powerful and useful tool for our business. The BHBPA has influence at the top level; when action is needed, the BHBPA gets it done. We are kept in touch with all that is happening on our doorstep and will often act because of what is published in the weekly emails / newsletters."
"I am delighted to have a long-standing relationship with the BHBPA. Since its foundation the Association has gone from strength to strength and there is no doubt that it has brought huge benefits to its members and the business community as a whole through the partnerships it has formed with the local authorities, Sussex Police and local organisations. It is paramount that Burgess Hill businesses have an effective collective voice."