Futures Forum: Hustings in Sidmouth: General Election: Tues 28th April
The final candidates are now known:
Futures Forum: The final list of candidates for East Devon Parliamentary election announced
East Devon General Election candidates list published - Election - Sidmouth Herald
This was in last week's Telegraph - which shows the race for Westminster is rather tight:
|East Devon||Conservative||Marginal||Hugo Swire|
Has your constituency already been won in the 2015 general election? Find out here - Telegraph
Daily Telegraph shows East Devon as a marginal seat | East Devon Watch
And this comment is from the weekend's Western Morning News:
Your at-a-glance guide to the election where you live | Western Morning News
East Devon constituency far from safe seat | East Devon Watch
Although the sitting MP begs to differ:
A letter from Hugo Swire: East Devon is a safe seat not marginal | Exeter Express and Echo
Today's Herald has a double-page piece on the "safe seat's" candidates:
Breaking news & sport in Sidmouth | Sidmouth Herald
This was in last week's Express & Echo:
Could Hugo Swire lose in East Devon? Four fierce rivals take on the top Tory
By Exeter Express and Echo | Posted: April 14, 2015
It’s a safe Tory seat that is blue to its core. Or is it? Hugo Swire has represented East Devon for the Conservatives since taking over from Sir Peter Emery in 2001 in a seamless transfer of Tory power. With more than 25,000 votes in 2010 and a majority of more than 9,000 the leafy lanes and pebble beaches of one of Devon’s prettiest corners should be a solid Tory stronghold.
Mr Swire said: “This election is about sustaining the growth we have seen over the last few years.” He said that without a strong economy created by the Conservatives in the last five years there couldn’t be the investment that East Devon needed in roads, hospitals, housing and schools. So far so good.
90 seconds with Hugo Swire - YouTube
And yet there is reason for a slight cause for concern for Mr Swire and it is not because there’s a strong surge in popularity for the Liberal Democrats or Labour. There’s another threat. Local and county councillor Claire Wright is standing as an independent in a bid to upset the political status quo by using her core vote in the Ottery St Mary area as a launch-pad for East Devon itself. William Hill and Paddy Power both have shortened her odds to 9/2 although Swire is still hot favourite.
Mrs Wright said: “I have a strong track record of representing and defending residents’ best interests. In 2013 I was resoundingly elected to Devon County Council with 2,970 votes and a 74 per cent share. As a result, I have the largest majority of any county councillor in the south west.”
90 Seconds with Steve Race Labour Candidate for East Devon - YouTube
Mrs Wright has a mountain to climb if she is to unseat Mr Swire. In the last election it was the Liberal Democrat Paull Robathan who came in second with 16,548 votes. With Labour just ahead of UKIP in third. This time out the LibDems are generally considered to have suffered nationally by being part of the Coalition with opinion polls giving them less than half of the support they enjoyed in 2010. Despite this the Lib Dem candidate Stuart Mole will still feel he has a chance of being a good runner up to Swire and Steve Race for Labour will also feel a chance to push for second place if there is a swing to Ed Miliband’s party in the campaign.
General Election 2015. 90 seconds with East Devon Independent Claire Wright - YouTube
Mr Mole said: “I do think that there are too many politicians leading a comfortable life in the 'Westminster village' who have grown complacent and out-of-touch, especially if they feel that their seat is 'safe' and if their party is dominant in local government as well. I certainly think change is necessary - both to give a far better deal to East Devon and because I believe that a majority Conservative Government (or a Tory-UKIP alliance) who be a disaster.”
Steve Race has raised the issue of food banks that have become a common in the area as well as low pay. He said: “The Labour Party is committed to raising the minimum wage to £8 an hour by the end of this decade, bringing in free child care for working families and to bring down tuition fees to £6,000 for University students.”
The joker in the pack is UKIP’s Andrew Chapman who is likely to chip away at the Conservative vote as well as gathering up some ballot papers from all the main parties. UKIP have made steady progress since 1997 when they registered just 459 votes in East Devon. Each election since has seen them increase their share with more than 4,000 votes in 2010. If that progress is to continue then not only could they overhaul Labour but they could trim the Tory majority down to size.
Stuart Mole Lib Dem candidate in East Devon in the 2015 General Election - YouTube
Mr Chapman said the election was a choice. It was voting for rule by Westminster or by Brussels. He said he was standing because for 20 years he had worked as a tax accountant for the self-employed and felt HMRC was taking too much money from hard working traders and small businesses. He said that the EU-inspired Regional Assembly had required East Devon to have 17,100 houses built in the next few years which was wrong. We need to leave Europe he said.
Election 2015. 90 seconds with Andrew Chapman UKIP candidate for East Devon - YouTube
There is no Green candidate this time and it is generally agreed most of their potential vote will be split between the Lib Dems and the Independent. It all points to Mr Swire returning to Westminster on May 7, but as to who comes second, well that seems to be more difficult to predict.
At the last election the votes were: Hugo Swire, Conservative 25,662; Paull Robathan, Liberal Democrat 16,548; Gareth Manson, Labour 5,721; Mike Amor UKIP 4,346; Sharon Pavey, Green 815.
Could Hugo Swire lose in East Devon? Four fierce rivals take on the top Tory | Exeter Express and Echo