Member of Parliament
Winchelsea is in the parliamentary constituency of Hastings and Rye. The new Member of Parliament is Amber Rudd (Conservative). She won the seat in 2010 from Michael Foster, who was the local MP since 1997, when he took the seat from the Conservatives and held it in 2001 and 2005. The results of the 2010 election were:
- Conservatives 20,468 (41.1% from 37.4% in 2005)
- Labour 18,475 (37.1% from 42.1% in 2005)
- Liberal Democrats 7,825 (15.7% from 15.1% in 2005)
- Turnout was 64.4% from 67.8% in 2010
Amber Rudd was born and lived in London, but is now based in Hastings. She read history at Edinburgh and has been working as a part-time business consultant. She was aristocratic adviser to the film "Four Weddings and a Funeral"!
You can find out what, if anything, the MP is doing by checking www.faxyourmp.com. This tells you what she has said and done in Parliament. You can also e-mail from this site.
Where are they now?
Former MP for Hastings and Rye, Jacqui Lait, lost her seat in 1997 --- usually attributed to her failure to support the Hastings fishermen --- but was quickly found a safe seat in a by-election at Beckenham. She stepped down at the 2010 election.
Ms Lait featured in the series of articles on the MP Expenses Scandal in the Daily Telegraph because she had overclaimed for mortgage payments. Ms Lait subsequently sued the Evening Standard for defamation over an article in November 2009 headlined “Women MPs will be put off by Kelly reforms” about a letter she wrote to The Times. This pointed out that Ms Lait had claimed “large sums” to travel to her family home in st1:country-region w:st="on">Sussex, even though her constituency home is only 11 miles from Westminster…" and that she had claimed a five-figure sum to pay the interest on the mortage on her second home as well as expenses for furnishing that house. The article incorrecly claimed Ms Lait had been forced to pay back £25,000 in overclaimed interest: the correct figure was £7,000 and the Standard was forced to issue an apology. In March 2010, Mr Justice Eady today struck out elements of her initial claim and ordered her to pay £10,400 legal costs. The judge said it was “unreal to suggest that readers of the Evening Standard would not think the worse of an MP who had taken advantage of (or “milked”) the expenses system simply because he or she had stayed within the letter of the law.” Ms Lait was given permission to submit an amended document but, in December 2010, Mr Justice Eady struck out her second attempt, saying that any jury would be bound to decide that it was fair comment to say her letter may risk the ire of some. In the light of that, it was felt that no jury could award her damages, even if it concluded that the article also suggested her letter was hypocritical. Ms Lait has made a six-figure capital gain on the taxpayer-funded mortage on her second home. Ms Lait is married to Peter Jones, leader of East Sussex County Council.