Two weeks to go in Tiverton and Honiton – we can get there, if you get there (or on the phone)

Local people are crying out for help but Boris Johnson simply isn’t listening. He’s more focused on trying to cling to power that helping struggling families.

That’s the message from Richard Foord, our Lib Dem candidate for Tiverton and Honiton. He said the Conservatives had taken the area for granted for decades and the party’s current infighting would mean further neglect.

The Telegraph today says: “This month’s vote takes place amid [Tory] fears Sir Ed Davey’s Liberal Democrats are parking their tanks on the lawn of Boris Johnson’s party as they seek a third by-election scalp in the space of a year.” We should take that scalp (to use the Telegraph’s primitive language) and we can do so with a push over the final two weeks of our campaign. There are volunteer activities in the constituency and regular Maraphone sessions for those that can’t get there.

Please note that significant rail disruption is expected from 21 June until after the by-election.

David Parsley of the i, visited Tiverton earlier in the week. There he found some stalwarts supporting Boris but other die-hard Tories planning to vote Lib Dem or stop at home. They don’t seem to be fans of not a fan of the local Tory candidate Helen Hurford, the town’s current deputy mayor:

“I don’t think I’d recognise the new candidate, Helen thingy, if she walked past me. She’s made no effort with the [Conservative] Club. We’ve had no leaflets or posters delivered and as far as I can see the party is doing its best to hide her from the voters because it’s scared of what she might actually say.”

This has echoes of North Shropshire where the candidate lay low initially and the Conservative campaigning machine was slow to get up to speed because they regarded it as a safe seat. However, Hurford told Radio Exe after Monday’s vote of no confidence that she supports Boris Johnson and believes he is doing a good job.

The Daily Mirror’s Ben Glaze visited the constituency last week to interview Richard Foord. Speaking of what he had heard on the doorsteps, Foord said:

There’s a kind of grudging respect for the fact Parish resigned quickly – that contrasts with the PM who is clinging on by his fingertips and refusing to do the decent thing and resign.

The strong feeling that the PM is a liar is something that’s absolutely affecting voting intention here.

There’s a lot of disappointment – some people who were supportive of the Government and Johnson himself in 2019 feel very let down by the PM personally…

I served in the Army for more than 10 years and I would really now like to serve people here in Devon.

There are an awful lot of parallels between serving in the Armed Forces and serving as an MP – the way you can look after and support others with their issues and challenges is common to both professions…

For me, leadership is about showing courage, and that might be telling people what they don’t want to hear – telling your friends and colleagues who are having a party when the rest of the country is in lockdown that their behaviour is out of line and they shouldn’t be doing it.

* 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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12 Comments

  • Tristan Ward 9th Jun '22 - 7:53pm

    I’ve just finished an afternoon helping in Honiton. We can certianly win it, but there is an awful lot to do to get over the line.

  • Shirley Leighton 9th Jun '22 - 8:11pm

    Good luck please smash it you can do this.

  • Chris Moore 10th Jun '22 - 7:12am

    Andy, Have any contingency plans been made in view of the national likely rail strike on the 23rd?

    I.e. Volunteers for the big day from not nearby travel by train to T and H on the 22nd and stay overnight at activists’ houses. Then go back on the 24th.

  • Yeovil Yokel 10th Jun '22 - 7:44am

    Just responding to Chris’ post: I have work on the farm timetabled for the week of the election, but given the likely disruption to rail services I may offer a free taxi service between the Yeovil area and Tiverton/Honiton for at least some of those few days instead. I have a 5-seat EV which I can charge at home with electricity generated from solar panels, so at this time of year the fuel is effectively free.

  • Tristan Ward 10th Jun '22 - 11:00am

    Tories getting nasty – thier latest leaflet is an attack leaflet with all the old anti Lib Dem favoirites: legalise drugs, soft on crime, open doors to immigration, rejoin EU, pack with Labour, putting politics above the country etc etc. Haven’t seen one so negative for this for years and years.

    Frightened rats fighting hard. This is not going to be an easy win for us by any means.

  • Yeovil Yokel’s offer is extremely generous and I hope it has been passed to the campaign organisers? (It’s sometimes hard to know whether such folk are monitoring LDV).

  • Ashley Pragnell 12th Jun '22 - 9:38am

    Just read in the Observer that Tiverton on Hontiton farmers are going to vote on mass against the Tories. Due to the cutting to the bone of the governments food production and environmental protection bill produced by Fred Dimbleby . It’s looks as it the rural community has been sold out to cheap imports . I think this will make Tiverton and Honiton a knife edge finish . If the Lib Dems were to take the seat, where does it leave the prospects for other gains in the South West in 2024. Also the Lib Dems just took the new Somerset Authority next door , so could Yeovil, Taunton Dean, Somerton and Frome and Wells be in reach!

  • Ashley, Rural and farming communities have been sold out by the Conservatives for decades. The only imponderable is why they continued to vote Conservative over that time. The areas should be ours (and large chunks of Somerset, Devon and Cornwall were until 2010), but to win and keep them, it will take a careful look at the more trendy lefty ideas so beloved by many of our comfortably off metropolitan types.

    Yes, as Dorothy Thornhill’s report correctly concluded, absolutely we don’t haven’t done enough to attract BAME communities. However nor have we done enough in the past to attract rural communities in vast swathes of our country. BAME got about 20 mentions – Rural, farming and countryside only two.

    We do need to up our game. We can. Somerset and Westmorland have done it for years. From that bedrock, the real recovery began the win in North Shropshire and it can and must continue with another win in Tiverton and Honiton.

    It’s down to us.

  • Mick Taylor 12th Jun '22 - 6:40pm

    Tristan Ward. Why not a leaflet from us saying if all this were true and it isn’t, wouldn’t a Lib Dem MP be better than a Tory MP from a party led by a lying law breaker?
    Just a thought, the election rules about lying about an opponent that got the Littleborough and Saddleworth Labour MP booted out surely would apply in this case too?

  • Yeovil Yokel 12th Jun '22 - 9:55pm

    Tony H – I wrote “….MAY offer a free taxi service….”. I will contact the Honiton campaign HQ directly once I’m sure my offer can be a cast iron one. The onus is on activists/donors to contact Honiton, not for them to find us via LDV.

  • Nick Collins 13th Jun '22 - 8:03am

    @ Yeovil Yokel. Be careful. Have you taken legal advice; is there a danger that your generous offer would be counted as a campaign donation (even ‘though you say that the fuel is effectively free, presumably the Returning Officer would discern that it had a monetary value?) and need to be included in the Agent’s declaration of campaign expenses?

  • Nonconformistradical 13th Jun '22 - 10:23am

    @Nick Collins
    If Yeovil Yokel is using his own car to transport campaign helpers around the constituency that wouldn’t be a declarable election expense.

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