Yesterday’s County hustings in Seaton – attended by about 50 people – demonstrated that the election is mainly a contest between the official Conservative, Helen Parr, who supports the East Devon Tory policy of ‘bed-less hospitals’, and my campaign, fighting to save Seaton’s and Honiton’s beds. The Labour candidate, who comes from Exeter, also took part.
Two other candidates, Peter Burrows (Lib Dem) and Jim Knight (‘Independent’ Conservative), showed that they are not serious by absenting themselves from the debate, organised by the Town Council. However Peter obviously needed to see what was going on – he turned up just before 9 and watched the last few minutes of the debate!
I don’t think Theresa May needed to call a General Election, nor should the opposition parties agree to it. It is simply untrue that the Government was facing obstruction on Brexit or anything else – Parliament has given her everything she asked for. More likely she was worried about the possibility of up to 20 Conservative MPs (and possibly also the Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner, Alison Hernandez) being charged with breaches of election law in 2015 and disbarred from office.
However the General Election will give people the chance to vote for NATIONAL parties, and in Tiverton and Honiton it is inevitable that Neil Parish will be re-elected for the Tories. It makes it all the more important that in the County election, people vote LOCAL and INDEPENDENT for the best candidate to represent Seaton and Colyton to challenge policies which damage our communities, at the behest of a Government bent on cutting local services and local democracy.
In her election leaflet, the official Conservative candidate for Seaton and Colyton, Helen Parr, confirms her support for the East Devon Tory policy of accepting ‘bed-less hospitals’. Mrs Parr acknowledges that the decision to close in-patient services at Seaton Hospital is ‘a huge blow for the town and wider area’. But her leaflet adds, ‘Helen will do everything possible to get the best role for Seaton hospital for the future’, and will insist that the CCG are ‘delivering the services they are promising before any beds are closed’. So NOT supporting the Town Council’s fight to STOP the bed closures. You have been warned.
All candidates have been invited by the Town Council. This is the second part of Seaton’s Annual Town Meeting, but all are welcome.
My campaign launch meeting last Wednesday was attended by 30 supporters from Seaton, Colyton, Colyford and Branscombe. From left, me, Paul Arnott (chair), and Jack Rowland.
Following the meeting, teams of leafleters are completing the first leaflet distribution and placards are going up.