Mole was among the same 2017 crop of candidates as the disastrous Fiona Onasanya and Jared O'Mara, perhaps he too wasn't expected to win. Except he did. It was an impressive win in fact and he currently sits on a majority of almost 10,000 having taken Brighton Kemptown from the Tories last time round. However, he could be in trouble come December 12th. Here's why.
He achieved his impressive 2017 victory on a ballot paper featuring a narrow field of just Lib-Lab-Con candidates. UKIP had stood here for years, as had the Greens. UKIP polled at almost 10 per cent in 2015 and despite its liberal reputation, Kemptown was not exactly a landslide for Remain in 2016. So what happened to all those UKIP voters? Well, they didn't flock to the Tories in 2017. They shifted over to Labour (as did the Greens).
This brings about a curious situation. While all the focus of the proposed (and desperately needed) 'Leave Alliance' is on Brexit Party/Tory candidates standing aside for each other, this seat could actually benefit from both parties fielding candidates. If the Brexit Party can swipe those former UKIP voters back from Labour and the Tory vote holds up, who knows? The Greens have already selected a candidate so it is likely the ballot paper will return to a full field as it was pre-Russell-Mole. The Lib Dems are also on the rise again following their coalition slump of 2015 and could possibly take a few Remain votes from Labour. Definitely one to watch...
Brighton Kemptown 2017 general election
Simon Kirby (Con) 18,835 (38.3%) -2.4%
Emily Tester (Lib Dem) 1,457 (3.0%) N/c
Doktor Haze (Ind) 212 (0.4%) New
Brighton Kemptown 2015 general election
Simon Kirby (Con) 18,428 (40.7%) +2.7%
Nancy Platts (Lab) 17,738 (39.2%) +4.3%
Ian Buchanan (UKIP) 4,446 (9.8%) +6.6%
Davy Jones (Green) 3,187 (7.0%) +1.6%
Paul Chandler (Lib Dem) 1,365 (3.0%) -15.0%
Jacqueline Shodeke (Socialist) 73 (0.2%) New
Matthew Taylor (Ind) 69 (0.2%) New