Results in Brighton Kemptown that will have Nobby Clarke and Dennis Hobden spinning in their graves

This evening I take a look at the Council seats up for election in the Brighton Kemptown constituency. This is far less exciting than several of the seats in Brighton Pavilion.  The Conservatives will retain all three seats in Rottingdean Coastal.  Even with the Green Tide of Progress described by Luke Walter, where Green voters move from town centre wards such as Queens Park, Regency and St Peters & North Laine to outlying, the Greens (and Labour) will fail to win this seat by a country mile.

Neighbouring East Brighton will remain solid Labour.  Even in a bad year for Labour (and this is not one of them) East Brighton should remain Labour. With Warren Morgan, Gill Mitchell and Craig Turton, Labour has a strong and active team.

Woodingdean’s two seats will be retained by Conservatives Dee Simpson and Geoff Wells.  Dee is a hard-working champion of the ward while Geoff Wells is a likeable if somewhat ‘unconventional’ Mayor. 

That leaves Queens Park and Moulsecoomb & Bevendean.  Labour faces tough battles in both, in Queens Park from the Greens who hold all three seats, in Moulsecoomb and Bevendean from the Tories who will be seeking to increase their single seat (that of the highly respected Maria Caulfield).  Queens Park is probably too close to call at present, with an energetic campaign being run by the Labour team.  Chris Cooke is most likely to take a seat from the Greens, but the Green councillors (two of whom are standing down) have gained a huge reputation for hard work and community focus.  If I had to make a prediction (and you know how I shy away from saying anything definitive …. ) I would predict two Greens and one Labour councillors returned from Queens Park.  But then again, it could be three Greens, or perhaps two Labour and a Green, and there again it could be three Labour …  What an interesting contest!

But it is Moulsecoomb and Bevendean that will be a headline result in May.  I predict that the reputation of Maria Caulfield, one of the most popular ward councillors that I have ever observed, will bring through her two Tory running mates, seeing two gains for the Conservatives with Maria holding her seat with a substantial majority.  What a state of affairs for Labour!  Nobby Clarke and Dennis Hobden will be spinning in their graves (or in Dennis’ case, whatever afterlife he has moved on to!).

So, from Brighton Kemptown there will be 8 Conservatives, between 3 and 6 Labour councillors, and up to three Greens.

13 Responses

  1. Woodingdean resident for the last couple of years; never see anything of our current councillors in the ward… It really does surprise me how this is a safe Tory seat…. All i know is that i HATE the continuous cross road roadworks!

    I dont see the Tories getting 3 in M&B…. The students live there… Tory (and libdem) support from students really is that high right now (well ever…)

    • True, thats why I’m predicting the Greens will get a seat in M&S. There are over 2,000 students just living in University residences there.

      Thats not even counting all the students living in private accomodation.

  2. Completely agree with your assessment in Moulsecoomb & Bevendean. Maria is a hard-working and popular Councillor and is joined in this campaign by Ayas Fallon-Knan who has gained a solid reputation on Council – and predict all 3 Conservatives will win through.
    I am so sorry of your prediction in East Brighton!
    Yes we Conservatives are David against Goliath – Yes we oppose your particular favourite (and that favouritism does shine through in your blog) but do not under-estimate the campaign of East Brighton Conservatives – who are all in this campaign – fighting for every vote until 10pm on 5th May, and who may just surprise you and your friend Mr Morgan. There are no no-go areas in East Brighton for EB Conservatives!

  3. BPB, I have so much respect for you, but three Tories in Moulsecoomb and Bevendean? At a time when the cuts will start to bite?
    Apart from that I agree with you, in particular my ward, Queens Park, it’s too close to call, but I’m not sure your right about which Labour candidate would be returned in the event of a split vote.

  4. Is there rumbles in William Clarke Park could be!..but why?
    You’re prediction is to unseat the supposed next Mayor! which will certainly be a coup for the Tories.
    So much more plays out in this long term election i won’t say game as I still remember Gary Griffiths’ quote “you don’t play toytown politics with peoples lives!” some years ago(directed at the Greens).
    The weather is a key, the tory votes come out 9am till 5pm if the weather is good and then you’ll see a leftwing surge till 10pm so Sunnyday and rainly night could see some changes.
    How much work has to be put into the NO2AV does that see troops knocking doors in safe areas when they should be hammering the marginals as them votes count nationally….Don’t underestimate the East Brighton Tories..they’re not David Van Day..phew!

  5. Good point, Nobby. The AV referendum is the one which no one has banked on.

    If Ed M decides to come out strongly in favour of AV, at the time of a strong No2AV mood begins to lift off, this might indeed affect how folks vote locally, particularly in Labour-Tory marginals.

    News if that Cameron is due to campaign more heavily against AV to win back the confidence of his party, whilst Ed M is due to campaign more heavily in favour of the change in voting system.

    I’m sure David and the Tories would prefer that the referendum overshadows the locals, as the cuts agenda would shift from peoples minds.

    I think that Ed M will find himself stuck between a rock and a hard place as we get closer to May.

    • For the ‘No’ campaign to take off, they are going to have to find something positive and inspiring to say about the existing the electoral system – the one that gave us undiluted Tony Blair on 36% of the vote, and which renders most electoral activity pointless, because only a few swing voters in the marginals make any difference.

      They haven’t managed it so far – just a load of abuse mixed with outright falsehoods.

      I’d be very happy to see Cameron front up the No campaign – it will damage him, and he, as the teflon starts to peel away, will damage the campaign.

  6. Surprisingly- I wholeheartedly agree with Peter Booth. From our time spent knocking on the doors in traditional Labour areas, we are finding Conservatives everywhere. Through sheer hard work we may just surprise you.

  7. Yes, Woodingdean looks pretty safe for the Tories based on the 2007 results, but interestingly the ward was split three ways at the GE count with the Lib Dem matching Simons Burgess and Kirby.

    The traditionally strong Labour vote in Woodingdean (we did win a seat there in the 90s) was artificially depressed there in 2007 by the stock transfer vote fallout, as it was in Portslade, Moulsecoomb and Queens Park.

    Geoff is busy being mayor and Dee is busy with Cabinet duties which may explain DAPs comment above. We’ve selected some keen, new candidates both there and in Rottingdean Coastal, all hopeful of putting up a good campaign and earning safer seats next time (as BPB said in an earlier post). And complacency is a stealthy enemy in politics, as some of my colleagues found out last time.

    Don’t forget in Moulsecoomb & Bevendean that the Respect candidate Dave Bangs scored over 300 votes last time (equivalent to a constituency wide Respect/Socialist vote at a GE) capitalising on the stock transfer issue, and with what he portrayed as the endorsement of two retiring councillors. And yes, the students will be a factor, particularly if they vote tactically for Labour rather than the Greens who are not in contention in M&B.

  8. Interesting reflections about the stock transfer referenda.

    Another elephant that is no longer in the room is the King Alfred. Last time, this surely helped the Tories in Westbourne, Central Hove and (to a lesser extent) Goldsmid.

    Are UKIP standing anywhere/everywhere? I recall Paul Perrin seemed to be meditating a tilt at the Rottingdean windmill. They are at 5% in the Populus poll today, suggesting they could have an impact of sorts.

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