Election results put Lucas in lead

Results in the European Parliament elections put Caroline Lucas in the pole position in Brighton Pavilion
Results in the European Parliament elections put Caroline Lucas in the pole position in Brighton Pavilion

The political future of Brighton and Hove is up for grabs.

The political future of Brighton and Hove is up for grabs, with the three main parties on course to divide the spoils between them.

A unique analysis of the votes in the European elections - conducted by Brighton and Hove Independent - shows:

Caroline Lucas is on track to hold Brighton Pavilion at the next general election, with nearly one in three voters (32.3%) supporting the Green Party;

Despite vocal dissatisfaction with the minority-led Green city council, up to four in 10 voters support her party in the constituency; the Labour Party is in second place, with just over a quarter (26.5%) of votes cast in last month's Euro elections;

In Brighton Kemptown and Hove, the UKIP surge threatens to split the right-wing vote - making a Labour victory even more likely. If UKIP's Euro vote holds up, the Conservatives risk trailing behind Labour in the two seats currently held by Simon Kirby and Mike Weatherley, respecitvely.

Our exclusive analysis - based on an unprecedented release of election data, signalling how votes were cast in 10 distinct parts of the city - suggest that the share of votes in each of the three constituencies was:

Hove: Labour Party, 27.7%; Conservative Party, 23.4%; UKIP, 20.9%; Green Party, 18.2%; Liberal Democrats, 6%; Others, 3.8%;

Brighton Pavilion: Green Party, 32.3%; Labour Party, 26.5%; Conservative Party, 17.5%; UKIP, 15.9%; Liberal Democrats, 4.8%; Others, 3.6%;

Brighton Kemptown: Labour Party, 27.1%; Green Party, 24.5%; Conservative Party, 20.1%; UKIP, 18.8%; Liberal Democrats, 5.2%; Others, 4.3%.

On these figures, it is possible that, at the general election on May 7 2015, Hove will return a Conservative MP, Brighton Pavilion will return a Green MP, and Brighton Kemptown will return a Labour MP. Two wards where UKIP has significant support - outside Brighton and Hove, but within Brighton Kemptown - are not included in our analysis.

The analysis, however, is far from clear-cut. A signifcant proportion of votes were postal votes - 29%, or 22,282 votes. These cannot accurately be included in our analysis; it has to be assumed - possibly wrongly - that postal votes were cast in the same proportion as other votes - for each of the parties, across the city.

Moreover, calculations are based on official returns counted on 10 "tables", on which votes from more than 120 polling stations were deposited.

Although votes were not counted by ward or constituency, they were counted in identifiable clusters. In most cases, it can be inferred in which constituency the votes were cast - and for which party.

Some lessons are clear - especially when it comes to turnout at individual polling stations - which varied from 47.6% at St Matthias Church Hall, in Preston Park ward, to 12.8% at the University of Brighton's Mayfield House, in Moulsecoomb and Bevendean.

The 10 polling stations with the lowest turnout were in Labour hearltands, mainly in Brighton Kemptown.

When it comes to next May, the election may yet be won by the "don't knows" and the "don't votes". Or even by UKIP "protest voters" who return to the Conservative fold.