Former Brighton student foiled by Olympic minister

Posted On 07 May 2010 at 7:31 pm

A former Brighton student failed in her attempt to unseat Cabinet minister Tessa Jowell at the general election.

Olukemi Adegoke – known as Kemi – fled Nigeria at 16 and “flipped burgers and cleaned toilets” before studying engineering at Sussex University.

The 30-year-old computer systems analyst stood for the Conservatives in Dulwich and West Norwood against Mrs Jowell, the Olympics Minister.

She came third with 10,684 votes or 22.2 per cent.

The seat was one of several where voters were turned away from a polling station at 10pm without having been able to vote.

Another Sussex graduate Simon Burgess, the former leader of Brighton and Hove City Council, also suffered a polling day disappointment.

He contested Brighton Kemptown for Labour but was pipped by Conservative candidate Simon Kirby who won the seat with a majority of 1,328 votes.

A third Susex graduate Susan Curran stood for the Greens in Broadlands but trailed in last with 752 votes.

But for another former Sussex University student, it was a night of success.

Caroline Nokes, a politics graduate, took Romsey and Southampton North for the Conservatives with a majority of 4,156 votes or 49.75 per cent.

Six other former Sussex students held on to their seats in the Commons. They were

  • Tony Baldry (Con) Banbury
  • Michael Fabricant (Con) Lichfield
  • Hilary Benn (Lab) Leeds Central
  • Ben Bradshaw (Lab) Exeter
  • Peter Hain (Lab) Neath
  • Andrew George (Lib Dem) St Ives

Brighton Pavilion Labour MP David Lepper was one of three Sussex graduates to stand down at the election. The other two were

  • John Austin (Lab) Erith and Thamesmead
  • Martin Salter (Lab) Reading West

Two sitting MPs who attended Sussex lost their seats. They were

  • Roger Berry (Lab) Kingswood
  • Dan Norris (Lab) North East Somerset

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