• Conservatives poised to lose control of East Devon District Council tomorrow for the first time

    1st May 2019 | News | Claire
  • History could be made in East Devon tomorrow, as the Conservatives could lose control of the district council for the first time ever.

    East Devon District Council was formed under the Local Government Act of 1974 and has been Conservative run for all of that time.

    But with a strong team of Independents working in the council for the past few years and unprecedented fury at Brexit from Conservative remain and leave voters, people look set to desert the party in their droves tomorrow.

    I have heard reports from candidates canvassing all over the district and the feedback at the door is the same.

    There is absolute fury at the Conservatives. Remainer Conservative voters saying they will never vote Conservative again and Leaver Conservative voters feeling as though their views have been ignored as Brexit has been postponed.

    Add to that the local Tory intransigent arrogance that has been the main and enduring feature of their rule over the past 45 years.

    But this time they have real and widespread competition… and importantly an excellent hardworking group of representative Independents existing councillors and new candidates, who are keen to listen to local people and act on their views.

    As a former East Devon District Councillor who stood down in 2015, I left because I could not bear the continued nastiness of the ruling group anymore. It was a hard, challenging and ultimately game-changing time, where I exposed underhand practices, culminating in a police investigation, worked tirelessly on planning issues and did my best to make the council more transparent.

    Things changed massively on EDDC as a result of my time there and I’m glad I did it, but I view it as a period of my life where I was battling the forces of darkness. That may sound melodramatic but I can tell you that is how it felt. Fortunately, I had massive support from members of the public during that time, who came to meetings, spoke at them and generally provided me with amazing support.

    To think that this group might now be on the verge of falling and allowing a new progressive, representative group to take its place makes me very happy indeed.

    My final paragraph must be dedicated to my long-term friend and close political ally, Roger Giles, who is standing down from EDDC’s Ottery Town ward tomorrow.

    Roger encouraged me to enter the political arena a decade ago and it has kind of been my life since!

    He has been my biggest support and is incredibly bright, knowledgeable and a huge environmentalist. If Roger tells me something for a fact, I know there is no need to check it.

    He is also an election winning machine!

    I owe him a huge debt of thanks and I know he will be massively missed by many on EDDC.

    He will however, continue to be a member of Ottery Town Council on the assumption he is elected tomorrow!

    Polling day tomorrow. Please go out there and vote!

    I have been out and about in my local Ottery area supporting: Vicky Johns, Geoff Pratt and Jess Bailey.

    Very best of luck to all the Indies standing across East Devon tomorrow. By close of play on Friday we will know the results!

    Pic: Me with Roger Giles this afternoon, delivering West Hill and Aylesbeare candidate, Jess Bailey’s eve of poll leaflet