Category: Politics

February 23rd, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

“We are delivering more opportunities and greater security for families in Mid Sussex”

EAST Grinstead MP Sir Nicholas Soames has welcomed the latest figures showing that there are 254,000 more people in work across the South East than when Labour was last in power and a record level of employment across the UK,  with over 2.3 million more people enjoying the security of a job than in 2010.

In Mid Sussex, the number of people claiming (Jobseeker’s Allowance / Jobseeker’s Allowance and Universal Credit while not in employment) has fallen by 993 – a 75% drop since 2010.

The figures also show that wages are continuing to grow, with average total pay up 1.9%, while inflation remains close to flat.

With employment at a record 74.1%, and the majority of the increase in employment over the last year in full-time jobs, the statistics show that the Government’s economic plan is working, said Soames.

“It’s creating jobs and growing pay packets for families in Mid Sussex as the Government continues to move towards the goal of full employment that it committed to in its manifesto.

“In the face of continuing turbulence in the world economy, it is encouraging for families in Mid Sussex that more people than ever have the security of a job and a rising pay packet.

“The figures show a record number of people in work and unemployment and youth unemployment reaching near 10-year lows.

“Our economic and welfare reforms are delivering more security and providing opportunities that give families in Mid Sussex the best chance in life. This is further evidence of the need to stick to the Government’s long term plan to deliver economic security against the cocktail of risks affecting the world.”


Posted in News, Politics

Sir Nicholas joked that he hopes to be the town's MP again next week
February 22nd, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

AFTER months of sitting on the fence, Boris Johnson has finally declared himself in favour of Brexit and is now a leading figure in the “Out” campaign – setting him at loggerheads with East Grinstead’s MP Sir Nicholas Soames.

Johnson declared he had come down in favour of “Out” yesterday after “a huge amount of heartache” having concluded that the concessions negotiated by Prime Minister David Cameron could not be delivered.

Before Boris made his announcement, Sir Nicholas declared that “Boris has only a few hours for us to see for real if he is indeed a wise and principled man who will fight in the interests of his country.”

Johnson’s subsequent decision to back Brexit seems to have both puzzled and saddened Sir Nicholas.

“Boris is amazingly cavalier about safeguards the Prime Minister has secured for the City of London and UK Financial Services.

“I am so sorry Boris is to campaign Out not least because he really isn’t an Outer by conviction and I am sad to be opposing old friends.”

* Boris Johnson is not without his own connections to the East Grinstead area. He attended Ashdown House preparatory school, where he was awarded a King’s scholarship to Eton, and after marrying his second wife Marina Wheeler at Horsham register office in 1993, the couple spent a one night honeymoon in the town.


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February 15th, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

EAST Grinstead police are urging residents to read the first fraud newsletter issued by Sussex Police today with details about the latest scams doing the rounds and how to avoid falling victim to them.


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February 3rd, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

IMG_1793_2EAST Grinstead MP Sir Nicholas Soames has backed the Prime MInister’s deal on Europe.

In a letter to The Daily Telegraph today, which he has shared with East Grinstead Online, Sir Nicholas, with 13 co-signatories, said:

“The proposed reforms – to exempt Britain from ever-closer union, to protect us from discrimination outside the eurozone, to return power to national parliaments, to cut red tape and to apply an immediate brake to benefit payments for EU migrants – all address key concerns about the EU.

These reforms are substantial and would redefine our relationship with Europe. The Prime Minister said he would negotiate a better deal for Britain and he is succeeding. In the tough remaining phase of negotiations, he deserves our support.

With these reforms Britain will have the best of both worlds: outside the euro, and protected from deeper integration, but able to access the single market; in the world’s greatest trading block of over 500 million people, but outside the Schengen area and so able to maintain our borders.

We urge fellow Conservatives to support the campaign for Britain to remain in a reformed EU.”

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February 2nd, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

IMG_1794EAST Grinstead MP Sir Nicholas Soames has welcomed figures showing that 3,020 new apprenticeships have been created in Mid Sussex since 2010 “giving more young people the chance to earn and learn as they acquire the skills they need for a successful and secure future.”

This local growth in apprenticeships has been part of a wider increase, with 348,350 started in the South East since May 2010, and over 2.6 million new apprenticeships across England, said Sir Nicholas.

And they show progress towards the Conservatives’ commitment to deliver three million more apprenticeships by 2020 – with 268,000 already started in this Parliament.

“These figures are really good news and mean more young people in Mid Sussex are getting the skills to get on and do well in life,” he said. “Apprenticeships have been a core part of our plan to deliver a more secure future for young people.”

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December 2nd, 2015 by eastgrinsteadonline

Ref: Following our report that East Grinstead MP Sir Nicholas Soames intends to support the PM’s call for the bombing of ISIS, reader David Newey has shared the letter he has sent to Sir Nicholas asking him to think again.

DEAR Nicholas Soames,

I am writing to ask you to vote against military action in Syria. The reasons are very clear and logical, and dare I say it, contain a modicum of Realpolitik.

1. We can’t afford it as a country. Dropping bombs on ineffectual
targets, innocent civilians and rubble is like setting fire to piles of
pound notes. It is simply a poor investment of money.

2. There are sufficient assets from other countries bombing Syria.
Deploying UK forces is not required given the existing number of
US/French and Russian assets in the area, and the target list is either
well-established or exhausted.

3. Mission objectives. If we are following a policy of containment of
ISIS, then surely loitering drones are more effective than high
profile, high value, high risk bombing missions with very little
strategic benefit.

4. Economics. As we found out with the PIRA, it would be cheaper to
bribe some of those terrorists for human intelligence using the money we
would expend on a single sortie than cause collateral damage and
thereby increase recruitment globally.

5. Bombing does not beat boots on the ground. Frankly if the
US/Russia/NATO were to deploy en masse troops on the ground, it would
be considerably more effective than suppression (see point 3).

6. Bombing does not defeat an idea, and it is the ideological battle
that must be won. This takes time and education. Bombing just adds to
the counter narrative.

7. Syrians lives matter just as much as Parisian lives. If you project
the upset we felt about Paris onto Syrians then you can understand
point 6.

8. 70,000 Syrians. Even if such a number does exist, it is not
sufficient to take and hold ground against a motivated enemy. Perhaps
if all the single, military age males that have left the country in
droves had gone back to fight for their country, I would be somewhat
more sympathetic.

Whilst I accept something must be done, a knee jerk reaction is simply
not it. Putin’s approach of targeting the financing of these terrorists
is clearly the approach and whilst we cosy up to Saudi Arabia and
Turkey whilst turning a blind eye to their behaviour we will turn this
into a hundred year war.

Bombing Syrian is akin to shelling poppy fields – you may destroy the crop but will scatter the seeds far on the wind.

David Newey

Posted in Letters to the Editor, News, Politics Tagged with: , , ,

December 1st, 2015 by eastgrinsteadonline

imageEAST Grinstead’s MP Nicholas Soames will be voting to support air strikes against ISIS.

A statement issued on his behalf yesterday said “Sir Nicholas will be supporting the Prime Minister, having been very impressed and convinced by his long statement to the House on 26 November.”

  • Will you feel safer if the UK bombs ISIS – or do you fear it will provoke terrorist incidents like the one which took place in Paris two weeks ago?
  • Email us your views on

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Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 10.32.08
November 24th, 2015 by eastgrinsteadonline

EAST Grinstead MP Sir Nicholas Soames has welcomed the publication of the Strategic Defence and Security Review – a comprehensive plan to back the UK’s Armed Forces, counter-terrorism police and intelligence agencies with the resources they need.

“Our national security depends on our economic security,” he said. “Our renewed economic security means we can afford to invest further in our national security. This is vital at a time when the threats to our country are growing.”

The £178 billion investment in defence announced yesterday includes:

  • Creating two new strike brigades with forces of up to 5,000 personnel each who will be fully equipped to deploy rapidly and sustain themselves in the field.
  • Increasing the size of the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force by a total of 700 personnel.
  • Renewing the continuous-at-sea nuclear deterrent – our ultimate insurance policy.
  • Investing in nine maritime patrol aircraft to protect our nuclear deterrent, hunt down hostile submarines and enhance our maritime search and rescue.
  • Extending the life of our multirole Typhoon for 10 extra years through to 2040, meaning we will be able to create two additional squadrons.
  • Accelerating the F-35 programme, by buying 42 jets by 2023.
  • Investing £1.9 billion over five years in our cybersecurity.

“These investments are an act of clear-eyed self-interest to ensure our prosperity and security,” said Sir Nicholas. “Britain is fortunate to have some of the finest Armed Forces, counter-terrorism police and security services in the world. Using our renewed economic strength, we will equip them to defeat the terrorist threat and help keep us safe for generations to come.

“By working through our long-term economic plan to create a stronger economy, we are now in a position to invest further in our security.

“The first duty of any Government is to keep the nation and our communities safe – that is why this investment is good news for the people of Mid Sussex.

“I am proud that we are the only major country in the world which is simultaneously going to meet the NATO target of spending 2 per cent of our GDP on defence and the UN target of spending 0.7 per cent of our GNI on development, while also increasing investment in our security and intelligence agencies and in counter-terrorism. Today’s announcements underline how committed we are to the long-term, future security of Britain.

“While Labour are a threat to national security, it is only the Conservatives who are safeguarding our nation’s future by ensuring our Armed Forces and security agencies have what they need to keep us safe.”


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November 14th, 2015 by eastgrinsteadonline

flag_yellow_lowYESTERDAY we carried an article in which MP Sir Nicholas Soames urged voters to back the Prime MInister’s proposed reforms and stay in Europe.

But today a cross party lobby was in Queen’s Walk trying to persuade shoppers to vote to “come out of failing euro-land and take our place in the modern world” on the grounds that we can no longer afford the “huge membership fee”, that we don’t need to be in a Political Union to trade with Europe and that Britain should be free to negotiate its own international trade deals and control its own borders.

To read more about why we should come out see what the eurosceptics of the Freedom and Direct Democracy Group have to say here :

To read what Sir Nicholas had to say  see:

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November 13th, 2015 by eastgrinsteadonline

IMG_1788EAST Grinstead MP Sir Nicholas Soames has backed the Prime Minister’s reform proposals for membership of the European Union, saying that they will “deliver an EU worth staying in”.

“Britain is stronger in Europe,” he said. “This is not a blind defence of the status quo but a considered judgement that, as long as the benefits of our EU membership outweigh the costs and further reforms are achievable, it is in our national interest to remain a member of the world’s largest trading bloc.
“If ever our membership threatened our sovereignty this would not be the case, but the Prime Minister’s reforms prove that the economic gains which arise from unfettered access to Europe’s single market can be balanced by protection of our independence, and this should not be sacrificed for a leap into the dark.
“The government’s plans to opt out of “ever closer union” and for Europe to officially self-identify as a “multi-currency union”, so the euro is no longer the EU’s official currency, are vital. This guarantees that we will retain opt-outs on the single currency, defence, foreign affairs, taxation, and crime and justice which ensure we have the best of both worlds: economic partnership but national control where it matters.”
And he described the prediction that the EU is inevitably on an inexorable path to a federal super state as “works of Faragist fiction”.
“The same is true on migration. While always valuing the contribution of those who come to work and contribute, increased numbers of EU nationals in Britain mean it is right that we seek to limit their access to in-work benefits for reasons of both financial control and simple fairness.
“Those who claim they want to leave Europe to end free movement overlook that they would sacrifice access to the single market in exchange and that it would be harder to tackle illegal immigration from outside the EU.”
In his opinion piece first published in CITYA.M this week and shared with East Grinstead Online Sir Nicholas concluded:
“A defence of Britain’s membership of the EU is an argument for a reformed Europe and a stronger Britain. We would survive outside – we would just be poorer and with less control over our own economic affairs.
“Britain is a confident country with a bright future – leading in Europe just as we do in the UN, G20 or Nato.
“Our future is not narrow nationalism or parochial partisan self-interest, it is about making the world work for us – our values and our interests. The Prime Minister’s reforms will help us achieve this balance in Europe, which is why we should get behind them.”


Posted in News, Politics Tagged with: ,

November 10th, 2015 by eastgrinsteadonline

IMG_1979Above: Greg Mountain who was Labour’s candidate in the General Election

THE Labour Party in Mid Sussex has launched a campaign against changes in Tax Credit which they claim will hit 3,200 families in the District.

Pam Haigh, Chair of Mid Sussex Labour, said, “Nationally, three million families will be affected by this cut. In Mid Sussex alone around 3,200 families will be hit. The Government should not be hitting families who work hard day after day to get by.

“Labour is calling on David Cameron to stop the tax credit cut. We need to balance the books, but the way to do that isn’t to hit the wallets of working families or by introducing a real risk that children will suffer directly as a result of these changes. Why should hard working families have to shoulder the burden of reducing the deficit which was created by the bankers who have not paid any price for their failures?

“When the so called National Living Wage is introduced, it will account, on average, for only 26% of what people eligible for benefits or tax credits have lost due to the benefit and tax changes – they will be worse off.

“The National Living Wage is a myth, as when it is introduced next year it will be lower than the rate set for this year by the Living Wage Foundation. The Conservatives say they are the party for working people, yet they are happy to see the income of the lowest paid reduce as a result of their benefit and tax cuts.”

The Labour Party will be campaigning across Mid Sussex on 14 November and in the meantime has asked supporters to sign a petition opposing the cuts at

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October 29th, 2015 by eastgrinsteadonline

imageCOMMENTING on today’s population forecast, East Grinstead MP Sir Nicholas Soames MP and Frank Field MP, Co-Chairmen of the Cross-Party Group on Balanced Migration, said: “The Office for National Statistics have set out in stark terms the consequences of not reducing immigration to the UK.

“They project that if net migration is 185,000 per annum our population will increase by almost 5 million in the next ten years. 68% of this increase will be as a result of future migration.

“It is not in the national interest to increase our population so rapidly. It is not of benefit to the existing residents of the UK.  The country will become still more overcrowded and the housing crisis even worse.

“Reducing immigration to more sustainable levels must be front and centre of Government policy making.”


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October 23rd, 2015 by eastgrinsteadonline

THE East Grinstead branch of the Labour Party was in town today, to discuss the Neighbourhood Plan with passing shoppers and encourage people to register to vote under the new Individual Electoral Registration system – go to

They were also holding a draw for a copy of Lord Ashcroft’s unauthorised biography of Prime Minister David Cameron.


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September 13th, 2015 by eastgrinsteadonline
IMG_1979GREG Mountain, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Mid Sussex at the 2015 General Election, has welcomed the election of Jeremy Corbyn as his Party’s next leader.
“I welcome the decisive outcome of the vote for our leader and deputy leader, and the huge increase in national and Mid Sussex Labour Party membership this election generated.
“We now have a clear mandate for action. The Labour Party must unite and appeal to the British people through its policies. We must attract voters who believe in fairness for all, based on sound economic policy,” he aid.

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May 20th, 2015 by eastgrinsteadonline

CFdSfpKWYAAO9mKIN his first week back at the House after retaining his Mid Sussex seat in the 7 May Election, town MP Sir Nicholas Soames tweeted his appreciation of a sunny day in Parliament Square with this shot of his grandfather Sir Winston Churchill’s statue.

Posted in Plans, Politics Tagged with: , ,

May 15th, 2015 by eastgrinsteadonline


Above: Daisy Cooper, the Lib Dem candidate for the Mid Sussex Parliamentary seat, seat lost out to Sir Nicholas Soames

EAST Grinstead Liberal Democrats have benefitted from the upsurge of 10,000 new members across the country since last week’s disastrous election results left them without a leader and with just eight MPs.

A determination to be ready for the next Local and General Elections has encouraged people to sign up and show their support of the town’s Lib Dems now and in the future, said East Grinstead Lib Dem activist Paul Johnson.

“It is heartening to have this welcome show of support for the party.

“So many people missed us fighting this election locally but we had a feeling it was a fight we wouldn’t win.

“Next time will be very different however and we look forward to welcoming anyone who wants to show their support.

“We would encourage anyone wanting to get involved locally to contact Steve Blanch our membership Secretary Steve Blanch at:

Posted in Election, News, Politics Tagged with: , , , ,

May 12th, 2015 by eastgrinsteadonline

imageCLLR Garry Wall, Leader of the Conservative Group at Mid Sussex District Council, has said his party’s landslide victory is a vote of confidence in their administration.

After seeing every seat on the District Council won by Conservative candidates Cllr Wall said: “This is an outstanding result for the Conservatives in Mid Sussex and a real vote of confidence in our leadership of the Council and the work of our Councillors in their communities.

“The scale of the result means even greater responsibility and we will continue to administer sound governance in an open and inclusive way, listening and responding to the views of local residents.

“We know that significant challenges still lie ahead but our recent excellent track record demonstrates that we are best placed to continue to deliver the high quality public services and value for money that our taxpayers and residents expect.”

Posted in Council, Election, News, Politics Tagged with: , ,

May 10th, 2015 by eastgrinsteadonline

Document1AFTER a count of all the Mid Sussex Town and District Council results took 17 hours yesterday, the Conservatives were declared winners in all 19 of the East Grinstead Town Council seats in contention.

The new Town Councillors are as follows:

Ashplats Ward:

Liz Bennet, John Dabell, Danny Favor and Jacquie Russell

Baldwins Ward

Margaret Belsey, Nick Hodges, Julie Mockford, Norman Webster

Imberhorne Ward

Bob Mainstone, Frank Osborne, Rex Whittaker

East Grinstead Town Ward

Edward Matthews, Norman Mockford, Adam Peacock, Peter Wyan

Heronyte Ward (returned uncontested)

Christine Mainstone, Adam Reeves, Dick Sweatman

Worsted Ward (returned uncontested)

John Saull


Posted in Council, Election, News, Politics Tagged with: ,

May 9th, 2015 by eastgrinsteadonline

Document1THE Conservatives have taken all 54 seats at Mid Sussex District Council.

The successful candidates for the East Grinstead area are:

Herontye Ward

Edward Belsey and Dick Sweatman

Ashplats Ward

Liz Bennett and Peter Reed

Imberhorne Ward

Heidi Brunsdon and Bob Mainstone

Baldwins Ward

Norman Webster and Margaret Belsey

Worsted Ward

John Saul

Town Ward

Norman Mockford and Peter Wyan

Ashhurst Wood

John Belsey

Copthorne and Worth

Edward Matthews and Tony Dorey

Crawley Down

Philip Coote, Bruce Forbes and Neville Walker


Posted in Council, Election, News, Politics Tagged with: , ,

May 9th, 2015 by eastgrinsteadonline

IMG_1793_2SIR Nicholas Soames, who was returned to Parliament to represent Mid Sussex for the fifth time on Thursday, has explained to ITV why he thinks the Opinion Polls got it so wrong ahead of the day.

Speaking yesterday after one of the biggest shake-ups in recent political history, Sir Nicholas said that pollsters were simply not reflecting the story on the doorsteps where sensible policies and the economic security offered by the Conservatives were what the majority of “aspiring” voters told prospective parliamentary candidates they were in favour of.

Posted in Election, News, Politics Tagged with: , , , ,

May 8th, 2015 by eastgrinsteadonline

CEe_yH2WIAEwGLFTHIS was the scene in the London Road 105 years ago when the results of the Election were announced from the Rock Garden on 12 December.

Below: yesterday’s candidates lined up to hear their fate


Photo top: courtesy of East Grinstead Museum

Posted in Election, History, News, Politics Tagged with: , , , ,

May 8th, 2015 by eastgrinsteadonline

Toby Brothers

CLAIMS by UKIP candidate Toby Brothers that Mid Sussex was swinging in his favour proved unfounded when last night’s election results left him in third place with just 12% of the vote.

But in a statement issued this morning Brothers blamed the SNP and the electoral system rather than the rejection of the electorate for his defeat.

“It became brutally clear that the SNP leader caused fear in centre right voters in Britain, who voted tactically for the Tories instead of UKIP, to ensure Nicola Sturgeon held no influence.

“Some openly told me that despite preferring the UKIP manifesto, they would have to vote Tory again.

“So perversely for Nicola Sturgeon, she helped the Tories win without UKIP seats.

“We should reflect that the SNP has won 56 seats for only 1.5 million votes, whilst UKIP’s 3.5 million votes brought us just one seat.

“This is not democracy. The legitimacy of that result requires debate in our country. UKIP have nevertheless had a very large number of second places.

“I just hope we shall be granted a free and fair EU referendum, with decent funding rules, a proper in/out question, unfettered by EU funding and propaganda.

“Mr Cameron promised a referendum and I challenge him to have a fair fight. I also ask him to acknowledge that a proper alternative to staying in the EU is to present an ‘out’ vote on the basis of a proper trade agreement with the EU.

“As we know, 60 countries already have a trade agreement with the EU. It is unconscionable that Britain, being the world’s fifth largest economy would not be granted a full trading agreement upon exit.”

Toby Brothers UKIP

Posted in Election, News, Politics Tagged with: , , ,

May 8th, 2015 by eastgrinsteadonline

IMG_1979GREG Mountain, has thanked his supporters for what he called a “brilliant” result in Mid Sussex, which saw Labour came second to the Conservatives’ Sir Nicholas Soames.

Soames took 56.1% of the votes cast, but Mountain’s 13.9% edged him into second place ahead of UKIP with 12% and the Lib Dems with 11.5%.

“Thanks to your efforts, support, kind words and dedication we finished second in Mid Sussex,” he said. “Labour is now the alternative to Tories. And we made them work.

“A brilliant result that bucks the national trend, our share of the vote more than doubled and beat UKIP into 3rd and Lib Dems into 4th.

“Let’s hope local elections on Saturday’s count bring us just rewards.”

Posted in Election, News, Politics Tagged with: , , , ,

May 8th, 2015 by eastgrinsteadonline


ON a night of extraordinary scenes across the nation, Sir Nicholas Soames’ re-election to the Mid Sussex seat represented a personal triumph as he more than tripled his majority.

After weeks of campaigning, he received 32,268 votes, which represented 56.1% of the votes cast.

His nearest rival, Greg Mountain representing Labour, received 7,982 votes,  with UKIP’s Toby Brothers close on his heels with 6,898.

The Lib Dem’s Daisy Cooper – who didn’t appear at the count – received 6,604 votes.

The remaining three candidates – Green Miranda Diboll, Independent Beki Adam and Baron Von Thunderclap of The Monster Raving Loony Party – all lost their deposits.


Posted in Election, News, Politics Tagged with: , , , ,