General election 2019 - Conservatives hold off Lib Dems in Lewes

Conservative Maria Caulfield after being re-elected MP for Lewes
Conservative Maria Caulfield after being re-elected MP for Lewes

Conservative candidate Maria Caulfield has been re-elected as MP for Lewes.

At the close of the polls, Ms Caulfield had 26,268 votes, holding on to the seat with a reduced majority of 2,457 votes.

Speaking to the LDRS after the results were announced, Ms Caulfield said: “I’m very pleased to be re-elected for the third time now, the third time in four years.

“I am hoping the next parliament will last more or less a full term, because it has been quite difficult when almost every other year there has been an election or referendum. 

“I think the public feel that as well, they elect politicians and they just want us to get on with the job.

“There are lots of local things I am working on and a period of stability would be really helpful. The regeneration of Newhaven is key and there is a potential £25m available from Government if we can work with the local council and get an itinerary together for what we would like to do. 

“There is a bid £450m to dual [the A27] and I will be working with Caroline Ansell, now the MP in Eastbourne, to try and fast track that. 

“There are lots of exciting things happening that with a bit of time we can really make a big difference.”

Liberal Democrat candidate Oli Henman was the closest runner-up polling 23,811 votes. He increased his party’s share of the vote by four per cent compared to 2017, but it was not enough to reclaim the seat held by Lib Dem Norman Baker from 1997 to 2015.

In a concession speech, Mr Henman said: “This has been a very, very closely run fight. We have halved the previous result’s majority and we are working very hard.

“I would also like to thank my team. It’s been a people-powered campaign. We’ve had people coming in from all over the South East and we’ve seen a real display of solidarity and hard work with other residents across the area. I really appreciate it. 

“I would like to say though that today, in terms of the national result, we are facing quite a shocking situation for this country. I am very concerned about the rise of populism and the rise of an anti-democratic force in this country.”

Labour Party candidate Kate Chappell  finished with 3,206 votes, with Lewes District councillor Johnny Denis polling 1,453 votes for the Green Party. 

Cllr Denis said: “It’s been a long, hard campaign and a very long night. I am disappointed in the sense we haven’t turned our local election results into a particularly strong showing at the constituency level. 

“I am more disappointed about the overall effect nationally rather than here particularly. It is going to be hard on a lot of people and I think it is really time we do something about our electoral system.”

Full results.

Maria Caulfield (Con) – 26,268

Kate Chappell (Lab) – 3,206

Paul Cragg (Ind) – 113

Johnny Denis (Green) – 1,453

Oli Henman (Lib Dem) -23,811

Turnout 55,007 –  76.9 per cent