'I nearly stood' - council leader considered run for parliamentary seat

PUBLISHED: 10:09 12 November 2019 | UPDATED: 08:05 13 November 2019

East Devon leader Ben Ingham, Conservative candidate Simon Jupp, Iggy Pop and independent candidate Claire Wright. Pictures: Archant/PA/the candidates

East Devon leader Ben Ingham, Conservative candidate Simon Jupp, Iggy Pop and independent candidate Claire Wright. Pictures: Archant/PA/the candidates

Archant

The East Devon District Council leader is backing independent candidate Claire Wright in the General Election - and says the Tories would have been better off selecting Iggy Pop.

Independent councillor Ben Ingham told this title he seriously considered running for Parliament as a protest candidate - so dismayed is he at the performance of the area's MPs.

He is a supporter of Cllr Wright and said he would not have stood against her in East Devon, but he said he might have challenged MP Neil Parish in Tiverton and Honiton.

"That would be the obvious one or maybe Mid Devon...or even West Devon and Torridge where Geoffrey Cox is," he said. "I think he needs to be questioned now and again, I think he's a bit too full of himself for my liking."

He said the aim of a campaign would have been 'to give people the opportunity to show their disquiet at the political parties'.

All the main parties, he said, have 'let down' the people by failing to achieve a good Brexit deal in three years.

Ultimately, he said he decided to focus on his role as leader of East Devon District Council.

In the East Devon constituency, Conservative Sir Hugo Swire is not running again and Claire Wright, currently a county councillor, has come second in each of the last two elections.

Her opponents, announced so far, are Simon Jupp (Conservative Party), Henry Gent (Green), Daniel Wilson (Labour) and Eleanor Rylance (Lib Dem).

Cllr Ingham said he believes Cllr Wright is the favourite in the race.

He said: "As an Independent, I think it's wonderful that we've got this chance to put an Independent in the House of Commons."

The Woodbury and Lympstone councillor said he heard 'last year' MP Sir Hugo Swire planned to stand down, describing it as 'disrespectful' of the Conservatives to pick a candidate at such a late stage.

Of the selection of Simon Jupp, he said: "If they wanted someone charismatic, which is what I think they tried to do, they would have been better off with Iggy Pop in my opinion. People would be able to relate to him more than a DJ from Plymouth."

Book your place at the East Devon election hustings on November 28 here.

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