Tiverton and Honiton: Hurford comes out of the cold

The battle is hotting up in Devon. The Conservative candidate Helen Hurford has this week come out from hiding and has been allowed to speak to the national media. The i has the story.

I couldn’t help raising a smile when Hurford started talking about herself in the third person: “Helen Hurford has a six-point plan to deliver… and she will fight with all the gusto and passion that she has.” That sounds like she was reading from one of her own leaflets or a script from CCHQ, only she had forgotten that it was about her.

In contrast to Hurford’s somewhat stilted comments, Richard Foord comes across as quietly confident. Maybe I am biased, but as this juncture in a by-election we can win, I think we are entitled to be a bit biased.

Helen Hurford begins her first interview with a national newspaper by making clear that she would have backed Boris if she had been an MP.

She wasn’t impressed by partygate “but time has moved on.”

“We’ve got lots of difficult decisions coming our way. I think [Boris is] the man for that job.”

Hurford conceded the by-election would be close despite the current 24,239 Conservative majority and said she was worried about low turnout and Tories stopping at home. “From the messages that I’m getting on the doorstep, I think it will be close, but I do think it will be Conservative.”

She speaks about her six point plan for the constituency. Richard Foord counters:

“They’ve made… promises over and over again but haven’t delivered on any of them. So, why should the voters of Tiverton and Honiton believe them this time?”

Boris Johnson has visited and met Hurford but as the Independent reported, he shied away from the public. Ed Davey said:

“The fact is he’s not talking to ordinary people. No one seems to know where he is. He’s hiding away from people and I think that says it all. He’s taking this constituency for granted.”

Perhaps the Tories are more worried than Johnson may think. They have distributed leaflets in Lib Dem yellow with the large headline “Thinking of voting Liberal Democrat?” and the legal details saying it had been distributed on behalf of Helen Hurford in small print.

While Richard Foord sounds confident in his campaign, Helen Hurford seems anything but. Speaking about her policies to the i, Hurford adopted the third person:

“What about Helen Hurford? Boris isn’t going to represent Tiverton and Honiton. Helen Hurford is going to represent to Tiverton and Honiton.

“Helen Hurford has a six-point plan to deliver for Tiverton and Honiton and she will fight with all the gusto and passion that she has to make sure she delivers for Tiverton and Honiton.”

* Andy Boddington is a Lib Dem councillor in Shropshire. He blogs at andybodders.co.uk. He is Thursday editor of Lib Dem Voice.

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One Comment

  • Nick Collins 13th Jun '22 - 7:43am

    During the Gordon Riots an observer remarked “There be many among the rioters who don’t know whether the Pope is a man or a horse”. I wonder whether, now, some electors in Tiverton and Honiton are unclear whether Hurford is a person or a place.

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