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image credit: Huw Merriman, MP for Bexhill and Battle

The prospect of a General Election being called in the next few months seems to increase, almost on a daily basis.

There seems to be every possibility that this country will leave the European Union on 31 October without a deal. Government and the country is in a state of chaos that most people have not seen in their lifetimes.

In the nearby constituency of Hastings, the Brexit Party is putting up a candidate to fight against Conservative Amber Rudd, currently the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. Her majority in the General Election of 2017 was 346.

Standing against her will be Tom Bewick, a former Labour councillor from Brighton. He is a high flyer in the Further Education sector. He is the chief executive of the Federation of Awarding Bodies.

Without question, the least that he will do is to split the vote.

In the Argus today (10 August) Brexit Party candidate, David Banks, who will run for the Mid Sussex seat if an election happens argues that ‘a pact with the Conservatives might be a good idea”. The Tory majority is 19,673.

In Bexhill and Battle our local MP is Conservative, Huw Merriman. His majority at the 2017 General Election was 22,165.

He voted to remain in the Referendum of 2016, choosing to tell his constituents how he voted after the vote. He supported Jeremy Hunt in the recent leadership election in the Conservative Party.

He is widely recognised as a very hard working local MP who is very much in tune with community questions.

He has spoken about questions that Pevensey Bay faces on a number of occasions, both in public meetings and in Parliament

His support for the NHS and for public transport are also widely acknowledged.

In particular his meetings held in schools and colleges up and down the constituency in which he talks about the principles of democracy and Parliament, and engages in discussion with young people, are both credible and noteworthy.

In this apparently safe seat, will the Brexit Party put up a candidate to stand against him?

With such a complicated and chaotic set of circumstances at the national level, in which both the main parties appear to be imploding to a certain extent, what will happen next if a General Election is called?

The answer is that no-one knows.

The Lib/Dem Party, which has seen a new leader in the recent weeks in Jo Swinson, is certainly on an upward swing.

With so much at stake for the country, and new Prime Minister Boris Johnson zig-zagging across the country on a daily basis, as if the General Election campaign has already begun, we wait to see what wil happen next. He holds on to power with a majority of just one seat.

There are now 82 days until we are due to leave the European Union, with little or no prospect of a deal.

The times in which we live appear to be unprecedented.

Local resident, Robert Stevens Bassett. adds an interesting historical footnote. Nigel Farage stood in the 2001 Election in the constituency of Bexhill and Battle, scoring 7.8% of the vote.

Bay Life reader, Sue Glenister, on the question of whether the Brexit Party will stand a candidate commented, ” I hope so !! Huw voted remain and now he is sitting on the fence, Britain voted leave so let’s get on with leaving”.

Local resident, Margaret Cutting put the point about exiting from the European Union in a succinct way, “out means out”.

Adam Osborn suggested “hope so Brexit get my vote all day long !!”.

Giving an appraisal of the context for a General Election, Ian Pollard said, “I’m not a fan of Huw, but he’s a moderate and right now that’s important with the country so divided. We need to find some centre ground again; it’s the only way we’ll stop hating each other. Whatever happens with Brexit, a lot of people are going to end up having to live with something they don’t want”.

In these circumstances, how will the people of Pevensey and Pevensey Bay vote if a General Election is called in the middle of this maelstrom?