SUSSEX used to gladden the heart of any Conservative by loyally voting in a troupe of Tories at each general election.

Brighton and Hove made the Guinness Book of Records with the largest majority of all time in 1931.

In those far off days, the two towns were one constituency returning a couple of members.

It wasn’t until 1950 that the present system of three separate seats was adopted and for many years things continued as before.

Some of the MPs were notably eccentric. The first member for Kemptown, Howard Johnson, eventually joined CND while his successor David James spent a lot of time searching for the Loch Ness Monster.

There was a sensation in 1964 when Dennis Hobden became the first Labour MP in Sussex with a majority of only seven votes, beating Mr James.

But after retaining the seat narrowly in 1966, he lost three times in a row to Andrew Bowden and Sussex returned to being truly Tory.

In some good years for the Conservatives, almost every seat had a Tory majority of at least 9,000 making it dull for political reporters such as myself.

There was only the occasional blip such as in 1973 when the Liberal Des Wilson pushed the Tories hard in a by-election. But after that, Tories held sway until the extraordinary events of 1997.

In that year, all three Brighton and Hove seats went Labour who also won Crawley and Hastings. Meanwhile Liberal Democrats won Lewes and started alternating with Tories for control in Eastbourne.

Since then, Tories have bounced back in most seats before sometimes losing again.

But gradually a pattern is emerging. Kemptown is becoming a reasonably safe Labour seat and it would be no surprise if Lloyd Russell Moyle increased his majority next week.

Greens have their only parliamentary seat in Brighton Pavilion where Caroline Lucas can probably be re-elected as long as she wishes.

But she wants to achieve other things as well and when that time comes, will any other Green candidate be as popular?

Hove today is hard to recognise as the seat that returned Tory minister Tim Sainsbury time after time with thumping majorities.

Peter Kyle now has the kind of Labour majority you used to find in Welsh mining areas and is clearly a candidate for high office.

The main threat to him comes from his own side where many people would like to deselect him for being insufficiently Left wing.

His Tory rival, Robert Nemeth, is a well-known local councillor who is both able and ambitious,

But he will have a job persuading many people who would like Britain to remain in Europe that they should vote Conservative.

There will be a tough fight in Hastings where Amber Rudd scraped in with a small majority last time.

But the former minister is leaving Hastings and with it her personal vote which must leave Labour as favourite to win it back.

Crawley has also had a personable MP in Henry Smith and he is starting to make the seat look safe for the Conservatives.

And Stephen Lloyd, the engagingly odd Lib Dem for Eastbourne, probably has enough support to win again.

The most interesting Sussex contest will be in Lewes. Norman Baker, who won it in 1997 for the Lib Dems, was really annoyed when he eventually lost to Conservative Maria Caulfield.

He wasn’t angry with her but with other parties on the Left who took votes away from him.

With Ms Caulfield busily battling away in Baker style, the same thing could easily happen again.

The one seat where there could be a surprise is East Worthing and Shoreham.

Traditionally Lib Dems, who once controlled Adur Council, were the main opponent for MP Tim Loughton but last time Labour ran him close.

Rapid demographic changes as young people from Brighton who moved into Lancing are making his seat look winnable for Labour but internal rows may dash their hopes.

Sussex still has some seats that should be safe such as Wealden, Mid Sussex, Chichester and Arundel.

But events at Canterbury, where a long-serving Tory MP with a big majority was beaten by Labour last time, shows that almost anything is possible.

The speed of social media means that quick changes in public opinion can take place. There has been a national move already against the Lib Dems who have seen more false dawns than an astronomical anorak.

Hard working incumbents are better placed than ever before to hold on to their seats while some independents may also fare well.

This is a tricky election to call with so many variables but I am sure that the political map of Sussex will still be mainly blue as results are declared.

But splashes of red, green and orange ensure that Sussex blue will never be quite the same comforting Conservative colour again.