The political profile of most of our nation has changed rather dramatically since last Thursday and many residents here in Sussex are now feeling very concerned about it as it will clearly have a significant impact on us all, irrespective of how we and our community may have voted. There are a very large number of people feeling extremely disappointed and amongst those who are not, significant numbers who are glad that Corbyn did not get the chance to become Prime Minister, are nevertheless very concerned about the impact that Johnson will have as our Prime Minister. Such factors should be considered seriously by his party members as they complete their celebrations and begin work for the next 5 years. The very modest increase of votes amounting to just over 1% led to a 27% increase in the number of Tory MPs. The change in England and Wales, contrasted by those in Scotland and Northern Ireland raises questions that will need to be resolved or else the conflict may grow significantly during the term of this Parliament.
Here in Sussex with one notable change, the votes have indicated a very different set of adjustments by comparison with the national results. Over the two Counties and in our unitary authority the Conservative Party has actually lost over 2000 votes which is less than half of one percent but it is nevertheless worth noting, given the way that their party gained ground across the rest of the nation. In our area the Green and Liberal Democratic parties have both done very well apart from the loss of the Eastbourne seat to the Lib Dems. This was not a huge shock given the impact of a significant number of Brexit supporters in the town and their support for Caroline Ansell even though Stephen Lloyd had worked incredibly hard to represent them and indeed lost his Liberal Democratic tag for many of the last 30 months. Across the border in Kent the only non-Conservative seat in Canterbury has remained a Labour one and indeed Rosie Duffield has improved her majority from 187 to 1,836 which does not make it a safe Labour seat but it is a good improvement and here in Sussex Caroline Lucas has increased her total votes by 10% and seen her majority increase by 36%. The two neighbouring Labour seats saw reductions but both are still strong and one could assume that such local stability has a long term history, but in fact these three seats in Brighton and Hove that have remained intact for the last few elections were very high profile ones a couple of decades ago.
Over the whole of Sussex there has been a loss of a just over 50,000 Labour votes and a comparable increase in the Liberal Democratic votes despite their loss of the Eastbourne Constituency. This increase reflects strong growth in Mid Sussex, Chichester, Arundel and Horsham constituencies and there are now seven locations where they have achieved well over 10,000 votes including both Eastbourne and Lewes. This of course means that across Sussex where 151,266 people voted for that party that not one of them has an MP to reflect their preference. Meanwhile the Tories have achieved 13 seats which equates to one seat for every 35,015 votes. In between these two extreme statistics are 62,367 votes for the one Green Party seat and the two Labour seats that reflect 112,691 votes each. It is clearly unlikely that the Tory party will spend very long worrying about such a matter over the next few weeks or even in the next few months, until they remember how Scotland reflects a similar arrangement for the SNP Party. Perhaps when they raise their voices that will be reminder of how disproportionate and ineffective our political arrangement is here in Sussex.
No doubt as the new Johnson led Government sets out to remove us from the EU and to deliver their promise of the trade agreements with tens of nations around the world and as we experience the impact onto our economy the result of this election will begin to be understood. We also have the promises from the Conservative manifesto and their numerous claims during the election which point towards matters that did not occur during the last decade but which we have been told will happen in the next five years. Two classic examples are the adult social care provision which they recently claimed would require them to sit down with Labour and the Liberal Democrats to come up with solutions together and Johnsons promise to achieve unity for the whole nation. One way of improving national unity would be for them to offer us a proportional representation type of democracy for the next General Election!