The announcement came as a surprise to many – but political figures of all parties in East Sussex are ready for a snap general election.
That was the message across the board as Prime Minister Theresa May made the surprise announcement on Tuesday (April 18).
Mrs May, who outlined plans to hold the vote on June 8, said: “Britain is leaving the European Union and there can be no turning back, and as we look to the future the Government has the right plan for negotiating our new relationship with Europe.”
Hastings and Rye MP Amber Rudd said: “We need an election on June 8 to secure the strong and stable leadership our country needs. I look forward to standing for a third time in Hastings and Rye to continue to deliver growth and opportunities for our communities.
“An election now will strengthen the Prime Minister’s negotiating hand in Europe and help us to get the best deal as we leave the EU. We have this one-off chance to hold an election while the EU agrees its negotiating position and before the detailed talks begin. This decision cannot be delayed and it needs to happen now.
“In Hastings and Rye it is clear that only a Conservative government with strong leadership can deliver the regeneration and the growth our area needs. The number of people claiming the key out of work benefits last month was down by 54 per cent since 2010. We are taking significant steps towards major projects such as high speed rail to bring investment to our area and increase opportunities for local people. And, we are seeing the government investing millions into our communities to boost regeneration and growth.
“I will be standing in this election for a strong and successful United Kingdom, and to ensure our communities in Hastings and Rye continue to grow and to prosper.”
Nick Perry, the Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Hastings and Rye, said: “‘Amber Rudd should be very worried indeed that Mrs May has called a snap General Election. Many local residents have expressed concern to me about an increasing lack of focus on the constituency coupled with a downright refusal to advocate for individuals and families who have EU connections.
“The Liberal Democrats are the only party to have a parliamentary candidate already in place. We are the real opposition to the hard Brexit Tories in Hastings and Rye. Unlike Jeremy Corbyn’s divided Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats are promoting an open, tolerant and united vision of Britain.
“This will be the real choice at the election on June 8.”
Paul Barnett, chairman of the Hastings and Rye Labour Party, said: “We welcome the Prime Minister’s decision.
“Voters no longer have to wait until 2020 to send a powerful anti-austerity message about the health and social care service they want, the kind of schools they expect for their children and to demand a Brexit deal which delivers jobs and opportunity for all in Hastings and Rye.
“Labour will be offering the country an effective alternative to a government that has failed to rebuild the economy, delivered falling living standards and damaging cuts to local services including our schools and the NHS.”
While the Hastings and Rye Labour Party has yet to announce its candidate, Sarah Owen has confirmed she will not stand again.
She said: “I’ve thought very hard and decided I will not be standing in Hastings and Rye this time. This is an incredibly difficult decision to take – I love Hastings and Rye, I love Labour – they are in my blood, and nothing yet in my life has compared to the experience of representing Labour for the four years running up to the 2015 General Election, fighting for what we hold dear. I will do anything I can to support our local Labour team and the new candidate in Hastings and Rye to bring in the change so many of us want to see.”
A Hastings Green Party statement said: “The joint leaders of the Green Party, Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley, have written to the leaders of Labour and the Liberal Democrats urging them to unite to stop the Tories ‘wrecking Britain’. Lucas and Bartley are calling for a meeting between party leaders to discuss ways to beat the Tories at the General Election and deliver a fairer voting system.
In their letter to Jeremy Corbyn and Tim Farron, Lucas and Bartley listed a ‘crumbling NHS’ and a ‘bleak future for young people’ as reasons for parties to work together. They also said that working together is key to prevent an ‘extreme’ Brexit inspired by the Tories and UKIP. Hastings Green Party will be meeting next week to discuss how to respond to the new political situation.”
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
1) Make our website your homepage
2) Like our Facebook page
3) Follow us on Twitter
4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!
Always the first with your local news.
Be part of it.