BREXIT will be good for Brighton and Hove, Theresa May has told The Argus.

The Prime Minister has called on the country and the Remain-voting city to leave behind the divisions of last summer’s referendum and “enthusiastically embrace the opportunities” created by leaving the European Union.

And the Conservative leader said only by getting the best Brexit deal can she ensure the city’s under- pressure council, police force, schools and NHS would receive sufficient funding.

She also dismissed suggestions from across the Channel that the UK could be hit with a €100 billion bill for leaving the EU in two years’ time.

Mrs May visited The Argus offices in Manchester Street, Brighton, yesterday afternoon during a whistle-stop tour of three Sussex marginal seats in what she dubbed the country’s “most important election” in her lifetime.

The PM said she had “absolute confidence” in Brighton Kemptown candidate Simon Kirby as a strong advocate for Brexit as he defends his slim majority of 690.

The former pub owner was stripped of his Brexit responsibilities protecting financial services in January after misgivings from City bosses to be replaced by his Treasury junior Baroness Lucy Neville-Rolfe. Mr Kirby has been dubbed the invisible MP by election rivals.

The Prime Minister said Mr Kirby was still playing a Treasury role in Brexit negotiations.

In a wide-ranging interview she also made no assurances the Government would step in to end the Southern Rail dispute if she was returned to Downing Street but said she hoped the two sides would get around the table. She also insisted that direct driver-operated trains were safe and had been operating safely in England for more than 30 years.

She admitted her party had made administrative errors at the last election but would “continue to operate” within the campaign spending rules.

The Crown Prosecution Service has still to decide whether to bring election fraud charges against up to 30 MPs, officials and election agents.

Sussex Police investigated two claims of election expenses irregularities for Lewes candidates but ruled there was insufficient evidence to proceed while separate allegations were not proceeded with after prosecution time limits had expired.

Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister visited her home town of Eastbourne, where she lived until the age of three, to meet supporters before heading out to knock on doors.

She also paid a visit to Lewes candidate Maria Caulfield who was campaigning in Seaford.

Ms Caulfield said: “Only Theresa May can provide the strong and stable leadership that this country needs and a vote for me locally will help to ensure that Theresa May is returned to Downing Street.

“A vote for anyone else will bring a coalition of chaos with Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister.

“Everyone said he couldn’t win the Labour leadership at 200-1, but he did.

“To ensure he doesn’t beat the odds again, everyone who doesn’t want Corbyn as PM should vote Conservative.”


IT started with a six-year-old cocker spaniel searching The Argus toilets for explosives.

Five hours later a silver Jaguar XJ, flanked by two Land Rovers, rolled down Manchester Street, Brighton.

The doors opened in unison and half a dozen burly men jumped out, clutching their earpieces.

Seconds later the Prime Minister emerged.

Dressed in a fitted stone-coloured jacket and brown trousers (impossible to say if they were worth £1,000), she skipped up the stairs and into The Argus boardroom to meet the editor.

There was no handbag but a statement necklace gave her outfit a bit of colour. The dozen or so red beads resembled giant gobstoppers.

And, of course, she was wearing her trademark leopard print shoes.

After a grilling from our local government reporter she was given a tour of the newsroom, shadowed by her two advisers.

“It’s good to be back in Sussex,” the Eastbourne-born 60-year-old told one of our reporters.

“Although I moved away when I was three, I still consider myself a Sussex girl.”

Like a particularly un-athletic FA Cup final line up, the editor walked her down the office, introducing her to staff as he went.

Some asked questions, others waited to be spoken to.

She may be the most powerful woman in the country but that didn’t faze Elsa Gillio, who heads up The Argus Appeal charity. After telling the Prime Minister of all the good work the charity does, our Elsa asked for the shoes off her feet for an auction.

There were a few nervous moments, the PM not entirely sure if Elsa was serious (she was). But she eventually declined.

Next she visited our sports desk and told our team of her love of cricket and athletics.

Albion reporter Andy Naylor informed her that Margaret Thatcher was elected in 1979, just 48 hours before Brighton reached the top flight. Perhaps an omen for June 8, he suggested? But Ms May was more keen to discuss cricket, telling him she once had a season ticket at Surrey.

With that it was time for her leave and the Jaguar was fired up.

“How are you getting back to London tonight Prime Minister?” asked one reporter. “The train,” she responded.

A collective “oooo” rang around the newsroom as she forced a smile.

Our leaders are often accused of living a privileged existence. But last night she perhaps got a taste of the real world, courtesy of Southern Rail.