‘Sunak and Truss have learned nothing from Tiverton and Honiton’

Responding to the Conservative party leadership debate held in Exeter tonight, Liberal Democrat MP Richard Foord, winner of the Tiverton and Honiton by-election, said:

“Tonight’s debate showed that Sunak and Truss have learned absolutely nothing from their Tiverton and Honiton by-election defeat.

“This is a dismal contest between the former Chancellor who repeatedly hiked taxes and a Foreign Secretary who sold out West Country farmers with botched trade deals.

“Rural communities across Devon spoke with one voice in the by-election – they demanded change.

“People told me they wanted a fair deal for local farmers, a plan to solve the NHS backlog, and targeted support for rural communities, who suffer higher energy bills and pay more for petrol.

“We saw no sign of such support tonight.”

Promises and Damascene Conversions ahead of the “Secret Hustings” somewhere in Exeter tonight.

As our economy faces serious crises, there seems to be no end to the fantasy promises being made by the two candidates. 

Anyone discussing Standards in Public Life? – Owl

From today’s Western Morning News:

Housing pressures in the South West and support for farmers have been highlighted as key issues by Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss as their campaign to lead the Conservative Party and the country brings them to the Westcountry.

Mr Sunak and Ms Truss will appear at a hustings event for Conservative Party members in Exeter today ahead of a national membership ballot which will determine who wins the keys to Number 10 Downing Street.

Former Chancellor Rishi Sunak said ahead of this evening’s hustings that as part of his plan for the South West he will announce measures to tackle the issue of housing and holiday homes – a concern he said had been raised by communities across the region.

In a campaign statement he said he would give local councils a greater say over holiday homes and tourist rental properties; ensure that rural areas have sufficient affordable housing; review short-term tourist accommodation and give local authorities the power to introduce a register of holiday lets.

Mr Sunak said he had been touring the Westcountry, meeting local Conservative associations. “I am getting my message out to Conservative members in Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset because this region will have a critical say in who our next Prime Minister should be,” he said.

“A critical part of that plan is tackling the issue of uncontrolled property lets which prevent local people from getting onto the housing ladder. So I will amend planning policy to give local councils a greater say over proposals to convert primary homes into tourist rental properties, and I will press on with reviewing the effect of short-term lets on local residents – providing further powers to local authorities where these are needed. You will not be priced out of your home towns and villages on my watch.”

On Friday, in an interview with the party blog ConservativeHome, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss also talked about housing and stressed the importance of creating “low-tax investment zones which will also have a simpler planning system attached to them” and “more incentives at a local level to build houses”.

She said: “We need to think differently, and we also need different approaches in different parts of the country. What’s good in Cornwall is not necessarily good in London. In London, I support more building up of houses, allowing people to extend their houses upwards, using brownfield sites. In places like Cornwall, having more homes where people working in local industry can live and they’re attached to each other, like Bournville.”

Both leadership candidates have also outlined their positions on farming and food production.

South West Norfolk MP, Ms Truss has pledged to “unleash British food and farming” in order to improve the nation’s food security. The Tory leadership hopeful said she would “remove onerous EU regulations and red tape” if she becomes Prime Minister and promised to tackle labour shortages in farming, partly caused by post-Brexit freedom of movement restrictions, with a short-term expansion to the seasonal workers scheme.

Ms Truss, who is due to meet farmers on a campaign stop in the South West, said: “The pandemic and cost-of-living crisis have shown it is more vital than ever for us to ensure we have a high-quality and affordable supply of British food.”

Setting out his plans for farming, Richmond (Yorks) MP, Mr Sunak said that as Prime Minister he would maintain and boost domestic food production through a new UK food security target and also introduce a new ‘Buy Local’ target for the public sector.

“As an MP for a rural constituency, I understand how important it is to take care of our natural environment and those it supports. I will always back our farmers,” he said.

“The Common Agricultural Policy did nothing to deliver for farmers, farming and the environment. It was indefensible that 50% of the budget went to just 10% of the largest landowners. That is why I will drive forward the most significant reforms to farming in half a century. Not only that, recent events have demonstrated the importance of domestic food production and the national resilience that it gives us. I will put a renewed focus on it – and ensure that we are supporting our farmers to boost production.

“Whilst the opportunities are endless for UK agriculture, I know that farmers are concerned by some of the trade deals we have struck – including with Australia. I want to say to farmers that my Government will make you a priority in all future trade deals.”

Both have also outlined their vision for rural Britain in the Countryside Alliance’s membership magazine, My Countryside. Ms Truss told the rural campaign organisation’s members she wanted to “unleash the potential of our rural communities”, and “place planning powers in the hands of local people”, while Mr Sunak said that his “mission has always been to do things ‘for’ rural communities, not ‘to’ them.”

Eco-friendly affordable homes to have solar panels and air source heat ‘as standard’, says developer

Does this herald a new energy sustainable future in development or is it just “greenwashing” by Burrington Estates? – Owl

Affordable homes being built at an eco-friendly development in East Devon will have solar panels and air source heat pumps.

Becca Gliddon eastdevonnews.co.uk

Burrington Estates recently secured planning permission to build 34 ‘sustainable’ new homes at Winslade Park, in Clyst St Mary, East Devon, including four affordable two and three-bedroom properties.

The developer said the new homes – including the affordable properties – will have air source heat pumps for hot water, underfloor heating, and solar panels ‘as standard’.

Eco-friendly additions across the development include electric car charging points, bee bricks, bat boxes and bird boxes.

And ten trees for each new home built will be planted in a bid to offset the development’s carbon footprint.

The developer plans to launch the residential phase in the autumn when it hosts a dedicated evening event for prospective buyers.

Mark Edworthy, managing director of Burrington Estates, said: “We are delighted to be introducing this new residential phase to our gorgeous Winslade Park development.

“The sustainable homes will provide much-needed housing in the area and are the perfect addition to the site, which already provides the ultimate in leisure opportunities and commercial space.”

Promoting the new homes launch event, the developer said: “Sustainability is at the forefront of our commitment to the environment, and Burrington Estates are taking the essential steps necessary to create a greener, more carbon-neutral footprint for the projects delivered.

“All homes across both developments will feature PV solar panels and underfloor heating and hot water will be supplied through an air source heat pump.

“Moreover, to offset the carbon footprint of construction, the planting of ten trees per home through More:Trees will sequester an estimated 69 tonnes of carbon, ensuring Burrington Estates continues to lead the way into a sustainable, more environmentally friendly world.”

The 86-acre site, with sports and leisure facilities, earlier received £28-million of funding from Paragon Development Finance.

Nadine does it again!

Tory campaign to choose “our” next Prime Minister plumbs new depths. – Owl

Liz Truss supporter Nadine Dorries is facing a backlash from colleagues for sharing a “distasteful” and “dangerous” doctored image on social media that shows Rishi Sunak about to stab Boris Johnson in the back.

Ashley Cowburn www.independent.co.uk

The culture secretary – a staunch Johnson loyalist – retweeted a modified image from a film, which had been altered to show the outgoing prime minister’s face imposed on the character of Julius Caesar and Mr Sunak’s on that of Brutus.

Greg Hands, a business minister who is backing Mr Sunak in the race for No 10, told Sky News on Sunday that he was “sure Liz Truss would disown this kind of behaviour”, as he described it as “appalling”.

“Look, it’s not even a year since the stabbing of Sir David Amess at his Southend constituency surgery, so I think this is very, very bad taste – dangerous even,” he added.

The senior Tory MP Simon Hoare also shared a post on Twitter that urged Ms Dorries to delete the retweet, stressing: “This is not how we should conduct our politics or discourse.”

The SNP MP Stewart McDonald added: “Nadine Dorries – currently a secretary of state – is grossly unfit for public office of any sort.”

The row came as Ms Dorries also used a newspaper article to admit that she “may have gone slightly over the top” last week when she mocked the former chancellor for wearing £490 Prada shoes and expensive suits.

“I wanted to highlight Rishi’s misguided sartorial style in order to alert Tory members not to be taken in by appearances in the way that happened to many of us who served with the chancellor in cabinet,” she wrote.

She then used the same article in The Mail on Sunday to criticise Mr Sunak’s decision to resign from government, saying it “made Michael Gove’s betrayal of Boris Johnson during the 2016 leadership campaign appear like a rank amateur rehearsing for the role in a village hall play”.

Welsh secretary Sir Robert Buckland, another supporter of Mr Sunak, also denounced Ms Dorries’ behaviour. “I think that sort of imagery and narrative is not just incendiary, it’s wrong,” he told BBC Radio Wales.

“I think it’s time for those who think that an argument about Prada shoes or earrings is more important, for instance, should wind their neck in and let people talk about the issues rather than the personality.”

Former Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis, who has thrown his weight behind Ms Truss in the leadership contest, told Sky News: “It’s certainly not the sort of thing I would tweet.”

He added: “Nadine is well known as having strong views on things. Nadine speaks for herself, she’s very much an individual on that. But that is not a position that Liz would take.”

A busy week ahead for Simon Jupp

Readers will remember that Simon Jupp jumped to support Rishi Sunak as soon as his candidacy was announced. 

So this week could well see Simon racing round the constituency in a desperate attempt to shore up support for Sunak by speaking personally to as many members of the party as he can. (See below)

If “his man” fails, it would spell the end of any influence or promotion our Simon might have been hoping for by nailing his colours to the mast so soon.

Sunak’s campaign needs an overhaul. It looks as though it has been run by a bunch of overenthusiastic, inexperienced SPADS .

If you can’t run an effective campaign, how can you run the country? – Owl

Many Conservative MPs believe there is now only a brief window to change the race, with ballot papers delivered to members from Monday. Some prominent backers want Sunak and a large network of supportive MPs to dedicate their time solely to contacting local members directly through phone banks and online group calls to make his case…

Several MPs said that many local members had been relatively easy to persuade to back Sunak over Truss once they had been contacted, arguing that support for the foreign secretary was often soft. However, they said that the “air war” aspects of Sunak’s campaign were simply not reaching the membership, thought to comprise around 160,000 people.

“They’re running it like an election campaign,” said one Sunak backer. “This is very straightforward. There’s 160,000 Tory members dotted around the country. We know who they are. We know where they are. All we have to do is talk to them. The social media campaign, the TV appearances – most of them make no difference to members.

“The vote is very soft, you don’t have to do much to move it. We’re making this far too complicated. There’s brilliant people in charge, but I’m just worried we’re fighting the wrong campaign.”…

Source: www.theguardian.com (Extract)