When it was proposed to enfranchise Brighton a Tory observed in Parliament that it would represent merely "toffy (sic), lemonade and jelly shops". Charles Seymour suggests he "obviously feared the Whig proclivities of the numerous tradespeople established there".
The first representatives of the constituency were of radical opinions. Isaac Newton Wigney (MP 1832–1839 and 1841–1842) was described as being of "Whig opinions inclining to radicalism, in favour of the ballot, and pledged himself to resign his seat whenever his constituents called upon him so to do". His colleague, the Nonconformist preacher and attorney George Faithfull (MP 1832–1835), went much further. He advocated "the immediate abolition of slavery, of all unmerited pensions and sinecures, the standing army, all useless expense, the Corn Laws, and every other monopoly. He said that if the extent of suffrage at that time was not found efficient he would vote for universal suffrage: and if triennial Parliaments did not succeed, would vote for having them annually; he was an advocate of the ballot". 
Seymour provides figures for the voting qualification of Brighton electors, following the Reform Act 1867. The town was one of six boroughs in England where the £10 occupiers, enfranchised in 1832, were much more numerous than the householders who received the vote under the 1867 Act. There were 7,590 £10 occupiers and only 944 householders on the electoral register.
Members of Parliament for the constituency, after the first two, were of more conventional views; but most elections were won by the Liberal Party until 1884. In 1884 the Liberal MP, William Marriott, broke with his party as he disagreed with Prime Minister Gladstone's foreign and Egyptian policy. Marriott resigned his seat and was re-elected as a Conservative. From that time onwards the Liberal Party never won an election in the constituency, except for a by-election in 1905 and both seats in the landslide victory of 1906. Apart from those few years of liberal strength, Brighton became a safe Conservative constituency.
These boundaries were used until the 1918 general election when seats were redefined in terms of the local government areas then in existence. The parliamentary borough was defined as consisting of the County Borough of Brighton and the Municipal Borough of Hove. The constituency was enlarged to include Aldrington which lay with Hove's borough boundaries.
1 Marriott resigned his seat as a Liberal MP in February 1884, because of dissatisfaction with the foreign and Egyptian policy of the Liberal government. He was re-elected in March 1884 as a Conservative candidate.
^Michael Stenton, ed. (1981). Who's who of British members of Parliament. A biographical dictionary of the House of Commons based on annual volumes of Dod's Parliamentary companion and other sources (4 volumes). Humanities Press. ISBN0-391-00613-4.
^Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher, ed. (2000). British Electoral Facts 1832–1999. Ashgate Publishing. ISBN1-84014-053-4.