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Results & Constituencies
 
 Eastbourne
Other Conservative hold
Name Party Votes % +/- %
Nigel Waterson Conservative 19,738 44.1 +2.0
Chris Berry Liberal Democrat 17,584 39.3 +1.0
Gillian Roles Labour 5,967 13.3 +0.8
Barry Jones UK Independence 907 2.0 +1.5
Maria Williamson Liberal Party 574 1.3 -0.1
Majority 2,154 4.8
Turnout 44,770 60.7 -12.1
Swing
Against 1997 General Election 0.5% from Liberal Democrat to Conservative
Lab-Con (against 1997) 0.6% from Labour to Conservative

Description
Eastbourne is, like nearby Brighton, an eighteenth-century beach resort. It prides itself on its "quiet charm and elegance". As such, it attracts a significant number of retirees: nearly a third of the population is of pensionable age, ranking the constituency 6th in England and Wales. This serene social fabric covers a rather more turbulent recent political history.

A 72-year Conservative lease on the constituency was lost in 1990, when the sitting MP, Ian Gow, was killed outside his constituency home by an IRA car bomb. The Lib Dems won an improbable by-election victory, with a 20% swing putting David Bellotti in the House of Commons. But, as the two other Lib Dem by-election victories were erased at the subsequent General Election, so was Eastbourne. Tory Nigel Waterson was elected in 1992 with a respectable 5,000 vote majority.

There are some small to medium-sized firms based here but although the main industry, tourism, has been in decline over the last twenty years, Eastbourne has benefited from growth in the economy. Unemployment is below the national average - higher than the surrounding rural areas but below the levels in Brighton and Hastings.

Past Results

1997 General Election
 Eastbourne
Conservative hold
Name Party Votes %
Nigel Waterson Conservative 22,183 42.1
Chris Berry Liberal Democrat 20,189 38.3
David Lines Labour 6,576 12.5
Trevor Lowe Referendum 2,724 5.2
Theresia Williamson Liberal Party 741 1.4
John Dawkins UK Independence 254 0.5
Majority 1,994 3.8
Turnout 52,667 72.8
 
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