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Tiverton and Honiton byelection: rural communities itching for chance to cast protest vote

By Tabitha A. Baker, Bournemouth University

Tiverton and Honiton in Devon has long been a Conservative stronghold. But the Liberal Democrats believe they have a good chance of taking the seat in an impending byelection. The vote follows the resignation of former MP Neil Parish, who admitted to watching porn in the House of Commons chamber.

My research in the south-west of England suggests the party of government has every reason to be worried. The discontent and even resentment towards the political class have been palpable for some time.

Previous analyses of electoral geography identified rural and non-metropolitan areas as having higher levels of support for Brexit and populist parties, citing a backlash against the status quo for these trends. It’s clear from my interviews over the past few years that voters are looking for any opportunity to make their feelings known to the main political parties through protest votes.

The exceptional circumstance of the 2016 EU referendum is a case in point. Rural voters saw a unique opportunity to express their frustrations about years of local decline by voting against the government’s position on Brexit.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 3 Comments
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  • Andy Boddington
    This is a very male dominated discussion, which is a surprise given its subject. We editors will hold back some comments from people who have already spoken to ...
  • expats
    Far too many, "Nah, nah, nah', we did better than you did", comments.. Please, just grow up and concentrate on removing this government!...
  • Jeff
    Paul Barker 24th Jun '22 - 2:11pm: The thing that has struck me about coverage of last night is how everyone is running down the Solid Labour win in ...
  • Cassie
    ...also, wouldn't he have to be an MP? Mordaunt maybe, but she'd need to up her public profile. A lot....
  • Cassie
    Mordaunt and Frost are both ardent Brexiteers. Well, Frost is these days, he was pro-EU. and then negotiated a deal he later thought was rubbish, and then he qu...