Exeter Tory candidate is also running for election 120 miles away

Tories scraping the barrel again. 

Under the title “The good people of Sidmouth deserve better”, Owl has already pointed out that the Tories are struggling to find Sidmouth folk who aren’t related to stand in the 3 Sidmouth wards in this election, or to find candidates who actually live in the Ward they’re standing in, including a current Windlesham, Surrey, parish councillor.

Owl recalls that for a year Budleigh became a French Commune when Conservative Cllr Malcolm Florey retired to France. In the subsequent local elections the “True Blues” of Budleigh took their revenge and kicked the Tories out.

Two hypocrisies are revealed here: the East Devon Tory insistence on scrapping Zoom and returning to eyeball to eyeball meetings, for the sake of democracy; and the Tory campaign stress on listening to and supporting the local community.

PS do these semi-detached candidates get two votes, one here and one there? – Owl

Mary Stenson www.devonlive.com

An Exeter Conservative candidate listed for the upcoming City Council election appears to simultaneously be standing to become a councillor in his hometown in Hampshire, more than 120 miles away.

Harry Johnson-Hill, 21, is the Conservative candidate for the Duryard and St James ward in the upcoming Exeter City Council election. At the same time, he is actively campaigning to represent the Alresford and Itchen Valley ward on Winchester City Council, despite the two cities being more than 120 miles apart.

It is understood that Mr Johnson-Hill came to Exeter as a student at the University of Exeter but hails from the market town of Alresford in Winchester, meaning he has addresses in both cities. He has a Facebook page dedicated to his political campaigns but, so far, no posts have made any mention of Exeter.

His profile on the Exeter Conservatives reads: “Harry has long been invested in the local community and will be an exciting new voice in Duryard & St James as well as the wider city. Working closely with County Cllr Percy Prowse and the Conservative team he is keen to improve the area and challenge the failing Labour council where other parties have not.”

DevonLive asked Mr Johnson-Hill today (April 28) why he was standing in both wards, what his connections to both cities are and, if elected, whether he would be able to adequately represent both areas, given the long distance between them. He said he would “of course welcome the opportunity to serve as a councillor” and said he would “hold the current administration to account”.

He said: “I have addresses in both Winchester and Exeter, and ties to both communities. I would of course welcome the opportunity to serve as a councillor and make important contributions for the community.

“Conservative representation is important at council level to hold the current administration to account.”

It’s not the first time he has stood to represent Duryard and St James as he was beaten out last year by Liberal Democrat candidate Kevin Mitchell as the party maintained its only ward in Exeter, alongside Cllr Michael Mitchell. The City Council currently has a Labour majority.