WITH the general election just over a month away, this week The Argus continues to take a look at the battles for your vote across the county. There are 16 constituencies in Sussex and local government reporter Neil Vowles will be giving you the lowdown on four each day until Thursday. Today we look at Hove, Mid Sussex, Crawley and Horsham.


A KEY bellwether seat, whichever way Hove swings on May 7, the country is likely to follow.

The two main parties have been pouring resources into the constituency and the roll call of high profile visitors, which already includes David Cameron, Ed Miliband, George Osborne and Eddie Izzard so far this year, is set to increase in the next few weeks.

If the election was a beauty pageant, then the suave and svelte Peter Kyle would be walking away with this constituency.

The Labour candidate boasts a very Hove-friendly background working in the voluntary sector and with Body Shop founder Anita Roddick– although his spell advising Tony Blair, who has put £1,000 towards his campaign, and his academy links may be considered by some voters as blots on his copybook.

He is likely to be battling neck-and-neck with his chalk-and-cheese opponent, former police superintendent Graham Cox.

Mr Cox is a more conciliatory and less fundamentalist Conservative; he’s certainly too nice to be ever accused of being part of the Nasty Party.

He’s also struck up an unlikely friendship during the campaign on social media and in the flesh with his Green counterpart and fellow councillor Christopher Hawtree, united in their views of Mr Kyle.

The verbose Green candidate has been talking a good fight, which will surprise no one who has witnessed his performances at council over the past four years where he has carved out a reputation for his humour and bookish wisdom, predicting a battle between himself and the Tories for the seat.

He has certainly been putting in the miles along the constituency’s pavements but he will have to be at his charming best on the doorstep to convince residents living in the outlying areas of the constituency – many of whom feel that they have been neglected by a Green council who have focused investment and energy on more Green-loving areas in the city centre.

The Greens came a distant fourth in the 2010 election, although they may hope to pick up some of the 11,240 votes that popular local liberal Democrat candidate Paul Elgood claimed last time around.

Bringing a little humour to the scrap will be Dame Dixon who is standing for the Monster Raving loony Party.

Jon Dixon, otherwise known as Jolyon Dixon, is hoping to wow voters by proposing to introduce magic carpets during rail engineering works and allowing Monopoly money to be used as legal tender for one day a year.

Mike Weatherley won the seat back for the Conservatives with less than 2,000 votes to spare last time around and with the most recent Lord Ashcroft poll from October putting red noses ahead by just 3%, it is likely to be just as squeaky bottom close, if not more so, this time around. Either way, the winner is set to make history with Mr Kyle poised to be the first openly gay MP for a city that has been at the centre of the fight for LGBT rights, while Mr Cox would be the first long-serving police officer in Westminster.

Peter Kyle – Labour

I was an aid worker for almost a decade and know what it’s like to start up and run charities and a business.

Being chair of governors of a local school has also taught me about leadership in our public services.

These are the experiences that have led me into politics, so I can use these skills to get things done on your behalf.

For me, having more ambition for our city’s young people isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s personal.

I left school without the qualifications I needed so I returned to secondary school at the age of 25 and started over again.

Now I have a PhD from the University of Sussex, I co-founded a local business, and I’m on the board of a bank that gives all of its profit to charity.

Unlike me, most young people don’t get a second chance.

That’s why my and the local Labour team’s pledge to end youth unemployment here is so desperately important.

Housing, backing the next generation, and supporting our small businesses in meaningful ways is what I will fight for along with the nationwide struggle to save our NHS, and I have the energy and experience to deliver.

Graham Cox – Conservative

As the former Superintendent of Hove Police, and head of Sussex CID, I have always stood up for residents in Hove and Portslade.

I was born in Mile Oak, went to primary school in Portslade, and have lived in Hove most of my adult life.

I am not a career politician – indeed if elected I would be the first MP who has served 30 years in the police.

I have never been interested in standing for election anywhere other than in Hove and Portslade as I have only ever wanted to represent the community I am proud to call home.

With my experience in the police, I am the ideal choice to stand up for residents’ concerns about crime and anti-social behaviour which people raise with me every day on the doorstep. And, as a local councillor, I share people’s frustration with the state of Hove and Portslade – we need to clean up our towns.

All my life I have been committed to public service and, if elected as your MP in May, I will continue my track record by fighting for more school places, a new King Alfred, and an expansion of GP and other services at the excellent Hove Polyclinic.

Kevin Smith – Ukip

I’m not your usual career politician but a self-made, former local businessman and family man.

My roots in our great city go back 50 years; my three children were educated locally and I look forward to my grandchildren enjoying the same experience.

My Anglo-Indian heritage gives me a positive view of immigration, whilst recognising the need to address the strains on local services by restoring sensible border controls. Respecting the contributions of young and old, I reject attempts to pit the generations against each other.

Watching our Green-led council championing expensive ideological issues but failing to ensure basic services are fit for purpose has been revelatory.

My opposition to the EU is not ideological but because I believe it just does not work for the vast majority of us in the UK. Vote for me and I will be your voice for common sense at Westminster.

Christopher Hawtree – Green

“I am standing for Hove, Portslade – and the Earth.”

This simple phrase has been greeted as a ready encapsulation of the overwhelming issue: climate change. To address this would create a million meaningful jobs of all kinds in this country, a genuine economic boost.

Our lives depend upon sharing finite resources. Similarly, only the Green Party stands for bringing the NHS back into real public ownership (no outsourcing); the renationalisation of the railways; I was the only candidate to support the splendid campaign to prevent Hove Park School becoming an academy.

Only the Green Party opposes the local cuts which a Labour Government would continue and only the Green Party opposes fracking.

With my varied experience of Hove and Portslade – where I should like a small cinema and facilities which could make it Sportslade – I would relish becoming another Green MP. As Caroline Lucas shows, one can more effect than another backbencher.

As with my campaign to save Hove Library, you never know where things can lead. I hope that an MP can help everybody make the most of living in this wonderful area. As they say in South Pacific, “If you don't have a dream, how can you have a dream come true?”

Peter Lambell – Liberal Democrats

I am 47 years old and I have been an active member of my local community for many years, serving four years as a Surrey County Councillor, winning the seat from the Conservatives in 2009. As vice chair of governors at a school for children with severe learning difficulties, I have a particular interest in the area of education.

I have been a member of the council's education select committee and opposition spokesperson for education.

As a councillor, I have also worked hard to protect bus services from council cuts, and to ensure respite care for parents with disabled children.

As for my background, I am a graduate of Oxford Brookes University and the College of Law.

I currently work as a business analyst with my own consultancy company.

In my spare time I enjoy growing vegetables on my allotment with my wife, Judith, a chartered civil engineer.


Nicholas Soames is a political heavyweight in every sense of the term and it would take an incredible effort to shift him from his seat with its 8,000 majority.

With Balcombe inside the constituency, the issue of fracking could be a major factor and it will be interesting to see how Green candidate and former BBC Radio producer Miranda Diboll fares.

Independent candidate Beki Adam has an interesting CV having previously been a Top Gear presenter, Buddhist convert and an owner of a short-lived cannabis coffee shop.

Candidate list

Independent - Beki Adam

Ukip - Toby Brothers

Liberal Democrat - Daisy Cooper

Green - Miranda Diboll

Labour - Greg Mountain

Conservative - Nicholas Soames


This seat could prove another litmus paper of what material gains Ukip can expect to make from its rise in prominence with immigration a hotter topic in the town than probably anywhere else in Sussex.

Current Conservative MP Henry Smith has made an impact with his energy over the past five years and is the favourite, but both Ukip and Labour will fancy their chances of an upset.

Katherine Miles is the only Christian People’s Alliance candidate standing in Sussex representing a party that proposes a £10,000 grant for couples getting married for the first time and repeal of same sex marriage legislation.

Candidate list

Ukip - Christopher Brown

Green - Guy Hudson

Christian Peoples - Katherine Mills

Liberal Democrat - Sarah Osborne

Labour - Chris Oxlade

Conservative - Henry Smith


So Horsham waves goodbye to long-time MP Francis Maude who is stepping down and hello, in all likelihood, to leading financial advisor Jeremy Quin, who will be expected to comfortably defend the 11,500 majority he has inherited.

The presence of the former Conservative Roger Arthur running for Ukip should spice up the fight while intriguing outsiders include James Smith, who is one of only two candidates standing nationally from the Something New Party, and Jim Duggan, who is hoping to make it fifth time lucky as he stands for The Peace Party.

Candidate list

Ukip - Roger Arthur

Labour - Martyn Davis

Peace - Jim Duggan

Green - Darrin Green

Conservative - Jeremy Quin

Independent - Jim Rae

Something New - James Smith

Get your questions answered

The Argus:

THE Argus debates have captured the imagination of our readers with all the tickets for our first event being snapped in less than a week.

Tonight, from 7pm at The Thistle Brighton Hotel, five parliamentary candidates from the five main parties will try to convince you, the reader, that they are the right person to send to Westminster.

If you have a question for the city’s parliamentary candidates next Tuesday – and even if you can’t make the event yourself – then email them to neil.vowles@theargus.co.uk and we will try and get as many answered on the night as possible.

Then on Thursday, April 23, at the same time and location, our focus will turn to the council elections which are likely to be as close as the battle in many Sussex constituencies and across the country. To book your ticket before they all go visit theargus.co.uk/debate2015 or contact the newsdesk 01273 544512.

Betting Hove betting odds 1/2Labour 7/4 Conservatives 25/1 Green 50/1 Liberal Democrats 66/1 Ukip 500/1 Loony