THE Labour candidate for Hove has asked constituents to re-elect him as MP even if they do not support his leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Peter Kyle told The Argus that just like in 2015, a vote for him would not mean putting his party leader into 10 Downing Street.
But he was less clear on whether voters in neighbouring Brighton Pavilion should support Labour over Green party leader Caroline Lucas.
Mr Kyle was elected against the national swing in 2015 and became the only Labour MP in the South East of England.
He said: “There isn’t always a link between voting for a local candidate and who becomes Prime Minister.”
In this newspaper's interview with Conservative candidate for Hove Kristy Adams, she said she would make a better MP because she would sit on the Government benches and have the ear of ministers.
Mr Kyle rebutted: “I’m the only MP in this city to have the law changed in the last year.
“I hosted a debate on domestic abuse, I created a cross-party consensus, used the Commons and the media and within four months the Government had agreed to change the law on domestic violence victims having to face their abusers in court.
“I’ve had the law changed and the Government minister in our own city has not.”
Mr Kyle has faced criticism from the Left of his party for voicing criticism of Mr Corbyn and Left wing campaign group Momentum has announced that it will be campaigning for the election of Lloyd Russell-Moyle for Labour in Kemptown but will not put resources or activists into Hove.
Mr Kyle said that in two years as an untested candidate he had fought and won battles with Labour central office to run his own campaign but that this time he felt totally supported by the party structure.
He added: “Within two hours I got a call from the director of the Labour party asking what I wanted and when I wanted it by.
“I’ve also got more registered activists compared with the same time in the last campaign. Momentum are not the Labour Party.”
He denied suggestions that an NHS crisis can be attributed to mismanagement, blaming Tory cuts, and said his collaboration with the Labour administration in the city had contributed to a drop in youth unemployment and a significant housebuilding programme.
The Green Party has stood aside for Labour in Kemptown and in Lewes but is fielding a strong candidate in Hove in the form of city councillor Phelim Mac Cafferty.
Last time the Greens got 3,569 votes and Mr Kyle has a majority of only 1,236. The national polls have the Conservatives 15 to 20 points ahead.
Mr Kyle said he was pleased voters could vote Green “if they believe that will deliver the change in their community they want to see”.
He would not explicitly endorse 20-year-old Labour candidate Solomon Curtis in Brighton Pavilion.
He said: “I recommend every voter thinking very carefully about what they want from this election for their community and casting their vote in a way that has the best chance of delivering as close to it as they can get.”
I’M THE ONLY MP IN THIS CITY TO HAVE THE LAW CHANGED
Why do you deserve to be re-elected?
Because of my record. I’ve always tried to get the balance right between being a Parliamentarian on big issues and being an active participant in solving the challenges we place within our community.
I’ve partnered with our council to end youth unemployment within one council term. We’ve set up a taskforce to create 1,000 apprenticeships in 1,000 days and we are on track. The previous council created four.
What’s your greatest achievement as an MP?
We have served over 1,600 individuals who have turned to me for help. I’ve asked myself am I the person and are my team the people, that I would want my mum to turn to. I could answer that question “yes” every day I’ve been an MP.
A Hove businessman said he’s a natural Tory but having worked with you it would be unthinkable not to vote for you. He can’t bring himself to vote for Labour under Corbyn. What should he do?
He should vote for me. In the last election people voted for me but they didn’t get Ed Miliband for Prime Minister. There isn’t always a link between voting for a local candidate and who becomes Prime Minister.
Kristy Adams the Tory candidate said she would be more effective because she’ll be on the same side as Theresa May.
I’ve worked with people from all parties. I’m on the business select committee, the first new-intake MP elected by other MPs to a senior select committee. I worked with Nicholas Soames to set up a group to challenge the Government over Southern Rail. I worked with Caroline Lucas over Brexit.
I’m the only MP in this city to have the law changed in the last year.
I hosted a debate on domestic abuse, I created a cross-party consensus, used the Commons and the media and within four months the Government had agreed to change the law on domestic violence victims having to face their abusers in court. I’ve had the law changed and the Government minister in our own city has not.
Is it harder to get elected this time because Momentum activists are campaigning in Kemptown but not Hove?
Last time there were a lot of central instructions and behind the scenes I was having battles with the party and I got my way. That’s partly what led to the result. This time within two hours I got a call from the director of the Labour Party asking what I wanted and when I wanted it by.
I’ve also got more registered activists compared with the same time in the last campaign. Momentum are not the Labour Party.
Do you stand behind the Labour Party manifesto?
I will stand proudly on the Labour platform, just like last time. The Labour Party is the biggest vehicle for positive social change this country has ever seen.
We have hospitals in special financial measures but others which are not. Is the problem mismanagement?
No, its about policy. You don’t have a city where each area of health, independently managed, slips into special measures. This city was brilliantly served before, we eradicated waiting lists, the A&E four-hour target has not now been met in two years. These don’t happen by accident, they’re decisions taken by ministers and the results of votes cast by Tory MPs.
Jeremy Corbyn has pledged a million new homes, are you behind that?
I’m committed to that. The Labour-led council already has 1,000 truly affordable homes – the ground will be broken in weeks. We’ve got the King Alfred on the table. We have Toads Hole Valley progressing. The previous administration built 146 homes in four years.
Are you pleased the Greens have not stood aside in Hove?
My politics starts with residents, not in rooms moving blocks of voters around on a chess board. I’m pleased residents will have the choice of voting Green if they believe that will deliver the change in their community they want to see.
Would you tell people in Brighton Pavilion to vote Solomon Curtis or Caroline Lucas?
I recommend every voter thinking very carefully about what they want from this election for their community and casting their vote in a way that has the best chance of delivering as close to it as they can get.
What will you do to help avoid a hard Brexit?
I’m going to scrutinise, work hard and make sure each step of the way is challenged and tested and only allowed to pass if I know it will provide new opportunities for our community and not pose new dangers.
Would you increase taxes on the wealthy?
I want greater investment in public services. I think higher earners will happily shoulder a greater burden if it will deliver a more modern set of public services. They won’t accept taxing higher earners and bunging the money into public services to keep them the same and if that means I’m a “red Tory” then so be it.
Are you in favour of greater academisation?
If the thing that is holding back a school is its link to its local authority then break that link. But if the academy is failing, a local authority should be able to take over the academy.
Would you repeat your vote for military action in Syria?
I stayed up until 2am or later most nights reading everything I was sent before that vote. I read UN reports and academic reports. There were 500 women being sold at slave auctions in Isis territory and burned in cages if they wouldn’t have sex with the men who bought them. That no longer happens.
Isis can no longer wage attacks co-ordinated from their territory and there has not been one single civilian casualty caused by the RAF. As a former aid worker I know what this looks like on the ground but I’ve not seen evidence that no action would have delivered these successes. I’ll put the same amount of erudition, hard work and scrutiny into a future decision.
Are you going to win?
I’ve been overwhelmed by the warmth people have shown on the doorstep. But the Tories just need one extra vote in every street in Hove to win.