Amber Rudd has been officially adopted as Hastings and Rye Conservative Association’s candidate at the next general election.
Confirmation came following a meeting of the executive council of the local party yesterday (Friday) when Ms Rudd was re-adopted, unanimously.
Graeme Williams, Chairman of the association said: “Amber has been a most effective MP for the constituency.
“She has fought for our region on transport infrastructure, health, crime, education, fishing, employment, the local economy and many other important issues.
“She has been successful in winning funding and help from national government for the multiple needs that this constituency has. She has worked tirelessly on individual constituent cases, helping thousands of people since she was first elected in 2010 to solve problems or improve their lives and I am delighted that Amber’s commitment to Hastings and Rye will continue until the next election in 2022 and beyond.”
Ms Rudd’s official adoption as Conservative candidate sets up an intriguing re-run of the 2017 contest when Labour’s Peter Chowney came within 346 votes of unseating the then Home Secretary. Mr Chowney has already been selected by Labour to fight the seat again whenever the next general election happens.
In the 2015 general election Ms Rudd won a majority of 4,796 over Labour’s Sarah Owen and was not expected to be at risk in last year’s vote. However the Green Party, which secured almost 2,000 votes in 2015 did not field a candidate in 2017 and UKIP which won 6,786 votes in 2015 saw its vote collapse to just 1,479 votes in last year’s poll. All this meant that while Ms Rudd saw her actual number of votes increase by 2,982 her majority came under pressure as the Labour vote grew significantly too.
While Sarah Owen won 17,890 votes in 2015 Mr Chowney secured 25,322 in 2017, an increase for Labour of 7,432.
Under the Fixed Term Parliament Act the next general election is not scheduled to take place until 2022 but it’s no secret that with the impasse surrounding Brexit negotiations there is a real possibility of a national poll happening sooner rather than later. In Hastings and Rye the outcome could be down to what the Green party decides to do and a member of the local Green party told Hastings In Focus recently that they had not made up their mind yet whether they would field a candidate or not.