Kate Lamb
Rother District Council By-Election

Kate Lamb

We invited each candidate to supply a statement and photograph. We have published their submissions verbatim, no editorial changes have been made. Any errors are those of the candidate.

Party description: Liberal Democrat Party candidate

In conversation with Pat Driver.


In these adversarial times, passions can run high when it comes to local politics. Debates become heated and the comments threads no place for people of a sensitive disposition. All of this made me wonder why anybody puts themselves forward for civic roles and, more to the point, why is my friend Kate Lamb standing for Eastern Rother?

Tell me about it, Kate.

It’s not a moment of madness, honestly. I’ve come to realise how fragile is our democracy and to lose it would be disastrous. People often tell me that they don’t vote because it doesn’t affect them or because they don’t like the candidates. And that’s fine, it’s their right. But if you use a road, need help to care for somebody else, detest litter and potholes, have school-age children or worry about the climate emergency, then you are affected and you deserve a say.

I realised that if I did not stand up now there would not be a candidate who lives in Eastern Rother or even one standing in any sort of opposition to a presumed winning party.  I want to offer choice. The austerity cuts to essential funding have not served us well in the current crisis. Of course balancing the books is important but I want to highlight the equal value of a good quality of life for every local person.

There are so many seemingly intractable long-term issues here.  How can  you improve matters and where do you start?  

It won’t be easy: we need imaginative new ideas and a more collaborative mentality among local representatives.  Many of the issues straddle multiple government authorities and agencies.  So somehow a coordinated approach has to be found. There’s no quick fix. I’m impressed by the start made by Rother Alliance, on climate and access to the  planning process for example. I’d need to engage with them very quickly to be active in dealing with all the challenges that we’ve endured here for so long.

The sun’s out and so People Will Come. How can we navigate the effects of mass tourism?

I know. Remember I’ll be bringing the cups of tea out to the police officers attempting to stop that right turn to the beach!  It’s the biggest  balancing act isn’t it? We want the area to benefit from tourism but we don’t want to have to spend more than that income on dealing with the mess, whether it’s litter, noise, or traffic fumes. It’s easy to say and hard to do. Get an effective management strategy, offer the best possible visitor experience, creating jobs as you go, and bring in more revenue than you spend. I know plans are in place to avoid the mayhem of last summer but I want to see a robust strategy that looks well  ahead, not just responding when the worst happens.

I haven’t asked about road safety, parking, affordable housing and now the word count is stacking up. So, one last question. You do know you have a hard act to follow, don’t you?

Sally Ann was very good at attending parish council meetings and was a recognisable presence. Would I do it differently? Well, I’d be out and about too but I’d hold myself accountable for translating meetings and local perspectives into actions. Problems become long term because doing (or not doing) the same things over and over can’t lead to change.  In East Guldeford our biggest issue is road safety and it dominates the history and culture of our village. While Sally Ann empathised with the issues, no tangible actions were ever forthcoming. So I guess part of my platform is “not the same as before”.

Kate Lamb is standing as the Lib Dem candidate in the Eastern Rother by-election on May 6. More details about her campaign are here.

Image Credits: Kate Lamb .


  1. Can someone please explain to me why Kate Lamb is being advertised to vote for on ryenews.org.uk when if you actually try to vote for in your polling booth she is not not the voters list??!!!!

  2. As the story makes clear she is standing in the Rother District Council by-election for the Eastern Rother District and if you are voting in Rye itself that was NOT on your ballot paper as Eastern Rother includes Camber and villages to the north of Camber – not Rye. Voters in Rye itself (like me) will only have had ballot papers for the County Council election and that for the Police and Crime Commissioner – but our readers are not just Rye residents, and include all those who come here for any reason – many of whom live outside Rye.

  3. As the Labour candidate, I would obviously wonder why anyone would vote LibDem but I totally respect your democratic right to do so. Voters could easily be forgiven for confusion regarding electoral boundaries since they do move and they overlap. There are some really useful maps on the Ordnance Survey website so you can see which seat or division is where and which you’re in. https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/election-maps/gb/

  4. On the point of democracy, you will have noticed the absence of ANY LibDem candidate for the County Council elections in Rye & Eastern Rother. That’s because they reached a deal with the Green Party not to stand against each other. That is why you were denied the option of voting for the party of your choice. In my personal opinion*, that is a subversion of democracy and treats voters as bargaining chips. If a loyal LibDem voter is supposed to vote Green sometimes, why not all the time? And vice versa? And who gets to choose which is which?

    I’d be very interested to know people’s opinions. Should parties “lend” their voters to other parties? Should parties reach deals with each other behind closed doors? If you’re supposed to vote for one party in Rye and another in Camber, for example, what does each party really stand for?

    *Views expressed are my own.

    • Well I guess even if you’d joined with the Greens you’d still have lost.
      Rye and Eastern Rother. Keith Glazier (Conservative) 1849 – ELECTED, Ashley Madden (Labour) 676, Dominic Manning (Green) 819.
      Great news and congratulations to Keith Glazier.

  5. One must feel sorry for the labour and green candidates, who could have made Rye such a better place with their election promises, so sadly it looks like anorher 4 years of empty promises, which we have heard,so many times in our town.

  6. Re the point about “subversion of democracy”, the Green/Lib Dem arrangement doesn’t resonate that way for me at all. At local level parties often make such electoral arrangements and at national level we’ve had national governments and coalitions and multiple Lib-Lab pacts, throughout the 20th century. There were also Lib-Lab talks after the hung Parliament of 2010 and discussions in 2015 prior to the election result.
    There’s common ground between the Lib-Dems and the Greens, and the supporters of both parties are probably pretty resolutely aligned in knowing what they don’t want! So, it feels pragmatic, not anti-democratic. Moreover, if we’re talking about giving value to every electors’ vote, we might more properly discuss proportional representation than electoral pacts, but aside from pressure groups within Labour, that’s not on their ticket.
    Anyway, all academic now…
    Thanks to Rye News for giving all the candidates a fair crack of the whip and for promoting democratic discussion here. Good work!

  7. Hi GH,

    You are correct that such alliances seem to be part of the political landscape. Given the results (which were after my comment above), it would seem that voters are happy to lend their allegiance to other parties in a pragmatic fashion. I’m always pleased to listen to voters opinions.

    On two of your points:

    1. From my perspective, the common ground is between Labour and the Green Party. As far as I can tell, the Green Party manifesto is a subset of Labour’s. Here’s what Friends of the Earth had to say on the matter: https://friendsoftheearth.uk/system-change/election-manifestos-labour-tops-friends-earths-climate-and-nature-league-table

    2. On the subject of electoral reform and the Labour Party, you are mistaken. Both Hastings and Rye Constituency Labour Party (among many others) and the Labour leader himself, Sir Keir Starmer, support electoral reform. As do most Labour Party members. You can read about it here: https://www.labourforanewdemocracy.org.uk/clps and here: https://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/keir-starmer-weve-got-to-address-the-fact-that-millions-of-people-vote-in-safe-seats-and-they-feel-their-voice-doesnt-count/.

    I may not have won the election (this time) but the Labour Party is still here and we’re still listening. All contributions are welcome.

    Best wishes,


  8. Yes, I wasn’t particularly having a dig. Electoral reform has been muttered about for decades, often by parties in opposition. Cynically, one might wonder if it’s less about constitutional principles and more about securing power. But, notwithstanding that suspicion, it’s good that Starmer is making positive noises about devolving decision-making and proportional representation, bcs I think our system does need a shot in the arm. But, the ship of state takes an inordinate time to turn. Since 1935 most of our governments have been elected on a minority of the vote, and even so I don’t discern any great popular clamour for change, do you? Regardless of what Westminster’s doing and saying, however, it feels like there’s already a political sea change underway and new voting patterns to understand – Labour doing better in more ‘wealthy, healthy, educated’ areas; the Conservatives doing better in more working class, poorer, less qualification-heavy areas. Add to these ructions new layers of political engagement through social media, petitioning, boycotts, public demonstrations, acts of solidarity, consumer habits trends etc, and it feels like the electorate is running way ahead of the polity.


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