I had intended to write this week’s column about some really good news for Seaton Hospital.

Readers may recall that it has been under something of a cloud recently with elements of the standalone NHS Property Services wanting to consider its partial demolition.

Several huge meetings took place in Seaton and Colyford, and a campaign committee was formed, on which the local MP and I sit, alongside local medical representatives, the League of Friends and experienced serving and ex-councillors from Seaton.

It’s a long road ahead, but the one thing I knew I could help deliver was to ensure East Devon District Council gave a good hearing to a suggested application from the League of Friends to have the hospital listed as an “Asset of Community Value (AOCV)”. There was an attempt to do this when the Conservatives ran the council some years ago but it fell on stony ground.

This time, our officers did an extensive and professional analysis and made the decision that the hospital does indeed qualify to be entered into our Register of AOCV. I am really pleased to have been able to secure this for the local people, and congratulate the League of Friends for their excellent application and follow-up work.

Then I realised I also needed to write about a significant finding regarding baseless smears of “bullying” at EDDC. This was a myth created by a disgruntled former senior officer for their own ends, but of course the Conservatives have tried to keep this dishonest flame flickering for years.

Last week, the most senior entity in the land for councils, the Local Government Association, came in to East Devon for what is called a “Peer Review”. This means that a cross-party team of 5 spend three days and many more preparatory days looking under the bonnet to see what the council is doing well and what it could do better. It is a non-cynical but also highly rigorous peer challenge.

During the process, 150 officers and members of the council were fully consulted (along with many external bodies). The spokesperson for the final report, which will be published in the next month, took pains to say that because of these repeated smears in the media of bullying, they felt they had to look into that as part of their work.

They confirmed in the report that they found no evidence of bullying whatsoever, but rather clear evidence of staff and officers feeling that they were working for a progressive council, worried only that this politicised parroting of false accusations was damaging their council’s reputation unfairly.

However, having mentioned Seaton Hospital and the official refutation of false bullying allegations, I realised I should use the last 100 words today for a small announcement.

Last week I accepted the offer to be the prospective LibDem Parliamentary candidate for the new constituency of Exmouth and Exeter East. As EDDC leader I already do a vast amount of work in the constituency so know it well, and look forward to a courteous contest.

I’ve never been one to fight my way up the greasy pole of national politics, but I am very much on for this, and suspect it’s a two-way contest between the LibDems and the Conservatives. I am also thrilled to have the personal support of the renowned independent Claire Wright, who took 25,000 votes last time.

I even have an agent! If you’d like to hear more, please do contact Todd Olive at libdemtodd@gmail.com.