The campaign is proving rather different to what was predicted:
Futures Forum: The general election in East Devon > the candidates, the campaigns
And things are getting a little heated:
East Devon candidates complain after campaign posters vandalised - View News
Devon candidate the only independent in UK backed by tactical voting site | Devon Live
East Devon the focus of international mission to ensure fair elections | Devon Live
Especially with regard to how the campaign should be conducted:
Is Sir Hugo scared to debate Claire? - View News
Hugo Swire explains that he will hold his own public meetings instead of attending hustings events | Devon Live
... and how the votes will be considered:
East Devon Alliance hit out at 'unforgivable mistake' over postal voting 'cock-up' | Devon Live
Here are the latest interviews with the candidates:
East Devon MP Election Candidate Interviews - Bay FM 106.4
Plus links to videos:
General Election 2017 - Meet the candidates after your vote in East Devon - Breaking news & sport in Exmouth | Exmouth Journal
But the race is clearly between the sitting MP Hugo Swire and his main challenger Cllr Claire Wright - and things are very close:
Latest YouGov poll predicts Claire Wright to WIN in East Devon | Devon Live
Sir Hugo's website presents his views on several pertinent issues - including rural issues:
Thursday, 1 June, 2017
As part of the General Election campaign, Sir Hugo has been asked a number of questions by the NFU. Read the questions and his responses below:
If you are elected as an MP, what would be your top priorities nationally and locally over the years to come?
My main concentration if re-elected would be to support the Government in its Brexit negotiations. The next five years are the most challenging that Britain has faced in my lifetime. Brexit will define us as a nation. It will define our place in the world, our economic security and our future prosperity. For that we need a clear plan and stable leadership. We also need to lock in the economic progress we have made already because a successful economy is the key to a successful nation; it means you can help those left behind, you can build better schools and hospitals, look after the elderly. Locally, we need to work closely with NHS providers as it moves towards a new model of care to cope with an ever increasing ageing population and to protect our beautiful environment by importing EU protections then tailoring them to fit our own special requirements...
NFU Q&As | Hugo Swire
#GreenerSW Q&As | Hugo Swire
BLOG: Birds and Bees and Brexit | Hugo Swire
And here are his views on the 'big election story':
BLOG: Adult social care, doing what's right not just easy
Saturday, 27 May, 2017
The big election story has been the Conservative policy on the funding of adult social care.
The details of the plan were not well communicated and this left the door open for some breathtakingly opportunistic attacks from Jeremy Corbyn and Tim Farron. Are we really supposed to believe that these left leaning politicians are now on the side of people inheriting valuable properties?
The Conservative policy has two main elements to it, both of which I support. The first is a significant increase in the amount of money you can retain before qualifying for fully state funded social care. Currently if you have more than £23,250 you do not qualify. This figure is being raised to £100,000.
At the moment, the way in which people’s assets are calculated varies widely. If you receive care in a nursing home and own a property, the value of your property is included as part of your assets. However, if you receive care at home, the value of your property is not included, meaning that you reach the current £23,250 threshold more quickly. This is clearly unfair and the second element of this policy proposes to align the future basis for means-testing for home care with that for residential care. This is good news for those homeowners who receive care in a residential home as they will qualify for state funded care sooner...
BLOG: Adult social care, doing what's right not just easy | Hugo Swire
Cllr Wright's website also promotes her views on the salient points:
MY GENERAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2017 - MANIFESTO, POSTERS, HUSTINGS, EVENTS and Q&As - Claire Wright
But much of her postings cover the hustings and events she's been attending:
My Exeter Q & A this Friday 2 June, Newcourt Community Centre - Claire Wright
Cranbrook hustings: People want MPs to be honest, have integrity, passion, warmth and humour - Claire Wright
And now things are getting quite extraordinary - as this press statement through the East Devon Watch blog demonstrates:
CLAIRE WRIGHT – “EAST DEVON’S MACRON”!
2 JUN 2017
“East Devon Independent Claire Wright is now within an ace of taking the Tory heartland seat of East Devon.
This week polling company YouGov predicted that political independent Claire Wright will win the seat of Devon East which includes Exmouth, Sidmouth and parts of Exeter as well as Devon’s newest town of Cranbrook. The constituency has been Conservative since it was created in 1997.
Claire who stood for the first time in 2015 and came second has had a terrific campaign, she has been endorsed by Gina Miller’s Best for British campaign group as one of 25 key national political figures who can help stop extreme Brexit; she is the only Independent endorsed by Voting Site Tactical2017, her odds have steadily improved from 9/2 to 10/3 while her opponents’ have worsened and she is the only credible alternative to the Conservatives.
But it is out on the streets where her campaign has really taken off. Her crowd funding website has raised more than £12 000 in over 200 donations in less than four weeks, there are boards and posters and banners everywhere and people are coming up to Claire and her canvassers in the streets to wish her well. Her Facebook page is alive with support and encouragement and her army of 600 volunteers has been busy day and night to bring this home for Claire and the people of East Devon.
Claire has captured the mood of the moment – as the polls narrow nationally and the debate centres on health, education and elderly care Claire is here with a track record of working for people in local government, rather than relying on sound bites and hiding from the people as Prime Minister Theresa May has done.
The local conservative candidate Hugo Swire has been heavily criticised for being an absentee MP who has claimed (on his blog) that the role of MP isn’t a job and it is part time. This is costing him dear as many of his core voters look to Claire’s track record of action in the community.
Her appeal is broad and she has built a rainbow coalition with people from across the political spectrum getting behind her to send a strong message to politicians that if you want to represent us you must work for us.
“I’m over the moon at the level of support I’m getting and that the people of East Devon are realising they can be part of one of the biggest electoral upsets in UK history.
“On the streets of East Devon, in towns like Sidmouth and Budleigh Salterton, there’s a real sense of excitement. People are coming up to me full of enthusiasm, asking for posters and boards to put up, taking copies of my manifesto to give to their friends. After a recent hustings in Exmouth dozens and dozens of people wanted to shake my hand. People are telling me they’re tired of the Tories, tired of attacks on pensioners, and angry with Hugo Swire’s complacency.
“I would love to have the chance to be MP for East Devon. I was born in Devon and I’ve lived in this constituency for most of my life. I love Ottery and East Devon and I want to take the voices of the people straight to Westminster. As an independent MP I won’t have to follow a ‘whip’ but I’ll be free to follow my conscience and that of my fellow Devonians.
The time for out of touch and arrogant tribal politics is over. Now more than ever people want someone honest and transparent and that is exactly what Claire is.
Claire is East Devon’s Macron, she isn’t tribal and she isn’t part of the party machine of either left or right.
This is a key election for the U.K. and Claire Wright is at the heart of the story in East Devon.”