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The seat was re-won in 2017 by Stephen Lloyd for the Liberal Democrats; he had first won it in 2010. The 2015 election was won by a Conservative.[n 2] Since the seat's creation it has been won by candidates from either of these two political parties (and their early forebears, the Liberal Party and the Unionist Party).
For 94 years of the 20th Century, the seat was represented by Conservative MPs. The seat in the 1930s saw three unopposed candidates: in 1932, March 1935 and November 1935. Eastbourne has been considered relative to others a very marginal seat, as well as a swing seat, since 1997 as its winner's majority has not exceeded 6.6% of the vote since the 8.9% majority won in 1992 and the seat has changed hands four times from and including the year 1992.
The constituency contains urban and suburban developments, including the whole of the Eastbourne Borough Council administrative area, as well as the village of Willingdon on its outskirts, which forms a small part of the Wealden District Council administrative area.
1885-1918: The Corporate Towns of Pevensey and Seaford, the Sessional Divisions of Hailsham and Uckfield (except the parishes of East Hoathly and Waldron), and part of the Sessional Division of Lewes.
1918-1950: The Borough of Eastbourne, the Rural District of Eastbourne, and in the Rural District of Hailsham the parishes of Arlington, Chalvington, Chiddingly, Hailsham, Hellingly, Laughton, and Ripe.
1950-1955: The Boroughs of Eastbourne and Bexhill, and in the Rural District of Hailsham the parishes of East Dean, Friston, Hooe, Jevington, Ninfield, Pevensey, Polegate, Wartling, Westham, and Willingdon.
1955-1974: The Borough of Eastbourne, and part of the Rural District of Hailsham.
1974-1983: The Borough of Eastbourne, and in the Rural District of Hailsham the parishes of East Dean, Friston, Jevington, Pevensey, Polegate, Westdean, Westham, and Willingdon.
1983-1997: The Borough of Eastbourne, and the District of Wealden wards of Polegate North, Polegate South, and Willingdon.
1997-2010: As prior, substituting East Dean for the Polegate wards.
2010-present: As prior, less East Dean.
From safe seat to marginal seat
From 1910 until 1987 the seat returned Conservative Party candidates at every election. The large rural vote within the seat, until boundary changes in 1983, bolstered support for the Conservative Party - since rural voters in South East England tended to be wealthier and more right-wing than urban voters.
The seat became a marginal, or swing seat, from the 1990 by-election onwards, being closely fought for between the two locally dominant parties. A Liberal Democrat gained the seat at the 2010 general election, in a vote which saw Eastbourne return the sixth-lowest Labour share of the vote of the 631 candidates who stood at the election, with only 4.8%. In 2015, the seat was the 9th most marginal of the Conservative Party's 331 seats, by share of the vote.
In 2016, the incumbent MP Caroline Ansell, publicly floated a proposal to change the constituency name from Eastbourne to Eastbourne & Willingdon. However, the idea appeared to gain no significant public support and the MP did not formally apply to the Boundary Commission to make any change.
Another General Election was required to take place before the end of 1915. The political parties had been making preparations for an election to take place and by July 1914, the following candidates had been selected;