At the 2017 general election, East Devon had an unusually strong showing for an independent candidate who isn’t a former MP for a party, with Claire Wright scoring 35% and the Conservatives winning the seat.
In the party’s better previous elections, the Lib Dems have got above 30% themselves, and that’s something Eleanor Rylance is hoping to emulate with her early selection as the new PPC for the seat:
I was honoured to be elected to represent my home district ward of Broadclyst in May 2017. Since then, I have immersed myself in the role. Some of my casework has brought me into contact with people in very difficult situations whose situations can only be improved by radical changes to national policy- on housing, health, welfare, employment, broadband, transport and training.
This government has run down funding for public services, whilst increasing inequality, to such an extent that some people are stuck in vicious circles of deprivation entirely not of their own making. This has to change. The Lib Dems have a presence at every level of government in the country: Lib Dem councillors and activists can swiftly make problems with national legislation known to our MPs and peers. Activists working alongside a Lib Dem MP can make real change happen very quickly, as shown by the upskirting bill earlier this year.
My ward contains 10% of the residents of the constituency, living in houses and settlements from a few thousand years to brand new, from very rural to brand new towns. I am lucky that in my district role, I meet a huge variety of people from a huge range of occupations. I am very happy to defend at district council level people who often feel that they don’t have a voice. As MP for East Devon, I would continue to work hard for the area and in collaboration with my colleagues in the Houses of Commons and Lords, to make radical change happen where it is needed.
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