The result in this seat in 1997 was one of the countryís least expected: Hastings had previously resisted the Liberal landslide of 1906 and Labourís of 1945. Labour leap-frogged from a dismal third place in 1992 to take the seat from Conservative Jacqui Lait - now MP for Beckenham via a 1997 by-election.
The constituency includes the old Cinque Ports of Rye and Winchelsea, and the modern beach resort of Camber Sands; Hastings still has the largest beach-based fishing fleet in the UK.
Tourism is important to the economy here, but the cash comes as much from the influx of foreign students each summer as from holiday makers. Other than tourism, most employment is in health care (hospitals or nursing homes) or at small and medium-sized businesses.
Despite the natural beauty, particularly in the eastern part of the constituency, Hastings is not wealthy, and is designated with European Assisted Area Status. European and Single Regeneration Budget funds to the tune of £36m will help major redevelopment work currently taking place; the historic beachfront is a magnet for lottery cash.