The Liberal Democrat candidate, Nick Perry, is an old hand at the election business, having contested the Hastings and Rye seat since 2010. However life in the constituency has been hard for the Lib Dems with just 3.4% of the vote against Conservative and Labour with 46.9% and 46.2% respectively in 2017.
Nevertheless, Nick Perry is not put off by this. He believes firmly that the tide has turned in favour of the Brexit remainers and his party, he reminds me, is the only one with a firm “remain” commitment. “The Conservatives will take us out and Labour might take us out or might keep us in, they don’t really know”, he said.
Having trained as a social worker, he moved to Hastings in 2007 and works in front line healthcare, specialising in mental health issues. His primary interests are to tackle the climate crisis, secure local jobs for local people and, by doing so, help alleviate the level of deprivation in the area.
This can partly be achieved by having a bigger and more successful economy which can in turn help the disadvantaged.
Being so close, geographically, to Europe, with fast connections via Eurostar and Eurotunnel, he believes it makes no sense to remove the country from the European Union and, in Hastings and Rye, risks considerable damage to our tourist industry as well as to farmers and fishermen.
But surely declaring they will revoke Article 50 and pretend that the referendum never happened is undemocratic and flouts the wishes of over 17 million people?
Not at all, he responds, The Liberal Democrats are clear what they stand for and everyone knows that a vote for the Lib Dems is a vote to remain.
Also, he said, the saving we will be making by not incurring the expenses of leaving will enable that money to be used for more vital purposes. For example our schools have suffered budget cuts over the years of the Tory government to such an extent that teachers were now having to pay for some of the equipment they needed.
But did he know of the recent changes to Rye College and of the well funded Aquinas Trust that had recently taken over the original Rye College Trust and the significant changes that were now happening as a result?
No, he was not aware of that or of the new teacher training facility, and he made note of this to follow up.
This suggested that his knowledge of Rye was incomplete. How well did he know the town? He comes here often, was the reply but, “please don’t ask me to name every street”.
His party had so far consistently come a poor third in previous general elections, so did he believe that his leader really could become prime minister and that he himself could win the Hastings and Rye seat?
He was not too sure about the prime minister bit, but the Lib Dems could certainly become a considerable force in how the country was governed. Politics have changed over the last few years as the local elections for Rother, for example, had shown. The election was wide open and he, certainly, was planning to win Hastings and Rye away from both Tories and Labour.
Image Credits: Nick Perry .