“Honestly, it feels like representatives in parliament from Devon are not a very vocal bunch. It doesn’t feel like Devon is getting that voice in parliament that really we ought to have. And my sole intention would be to speak up for this part of the world, to speak up for people who live here.”
Ollie Heptinstall, local democracy reporter www.radioexe.co.uk
The Liberal Democrat candidate for the Tiverton and Honiton by-election has dismissed claims from his Conservative rival that he would go to Westminster to “cause disruption.”
Ex-army major Richard Foord is bidding to overturn a 24,000 Tory majority in the seat previously occupied by disgraced former MP Neil Parish.
Mr Parish resigned in April after admitting to watching pornography in parliament.
Earlier this week Tory candidate Helen Hurford said: “Do you want a candidate that is focussed solely on delivering for Tiverton and Honiton, [who has] a six-point plan to deliver for your needs … that will work with the government.
“Or do you want the candidate whose only intention is to go to Westminster and cause disruption?”
In response, Mr Foord said he would “bang the drum for Devon” if he is victorious in the poll on Thursday 23 June.
“My intention would be to go to Westminster to speak up for my neighbours, to speak up for the people amongst whom we live here in our part of Devon.”
He added: “Honestly, it feels like representatives in parliament from Devon are not a very vocal bunch. It doesn’t feel like Devon is getting that voice in parliament that really we ought to have. And my sole intention would be to speak up for this part of the world, to speak up for people who live here.
“I don’t think there’s anything to be gained by putting one more Conservative MP on the benches where there are already hundreds who have, before now, not changed very much around here at all.”
Mr Foord is aiming to become the first Lib Dem MP in Devon since Sarah Wollaston, who defected from the Tories in 2019 to the short-lived Change UK and subsequently the Lib Dems.
She lost her Totnes seat to Conservative Anthony Mangnall at the general election in December that year.
North Devon and Torbay were represented by Lib Dems as recently as 2015, when they fell to the Tories.
Referring to Ms Hurford publicly backing Boris Johnson following Monday’s confidence vote, Mr Foord said the 148 Conservative MPs who wanted to remove their boss “might differ and disagree with her.”
“There’s often no better critic than the critic who’s on the inside, seeing it up close and personal, and I couldn’t express it any better than those 148 Conservative MPs who’ve expressed no confidence in this prime minister.”
Eight candidates – including from each of the main parties – are vying for the Tiverton and Honiton seat:
- Jordan Donoghue-Morgan – Heritage Party
- Andy Foan – Reform UK
- Richard Foord – Liberal Democrats
- Helen Hurford – Conservative
- Liz Pole – Labour
- Frankie Rufolo – The For Britain Movement
- Ben Walker – UK Independence Party
- Gill Westcott – Green Party