The party is over for solo protestor at Tiverton and Honiton by-election count

Friday 24th June 2022 2:10 pm
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Banner protest at Tiverton and Honiton by-election count
(Tindle )

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A solo protester at last night’s count for the Tiverton and Honiton by-election was asked to remove his banner as it was on council land.

Rob Corden staged a silent protest against prime minister Boris Johnson by laying out his 59-foot banner near the entrance to the election count which was held in Crediton.

The white banner, which had the words ‘The Party’s Over Prime Minister’ printed in large letters, was unfurled next to the wall of the Lords Meadow Leisure Centre in Crediton where the ballots were being counted but was not impeding entrance to the hall.

After complaints from the Conservative and Lib Dem agents an official for Mid Devon District Council informed Mr Corden that he couldn’t have his banner there because it was ‘on district council land’.

Mr Corden was told he would have to take it out to the main road which was the responsibility of the County Council Highways department.

Protest banner at Tiverton Honiton by-election
The Party’s Over - as the banner is laid on the road (Tindle )

He had borrowed the banner from a disgruntled farmer friend in Newquay, Cornwall, for the duration of the by-election. It had been displayed on railings in Tiverton and outside a hustings event during the by-election campaign.

The by-election was seen by many as a referendum on the prime minister’s leadership, particularly his conduct during the so-called ‘partygate’ scandal which saw Boris Johnson and ministers gathering for food and drinks in Westminster during the Covid lockdown when official instructions were that people were not to gather socially.

One of the voters in Culmstock yesterday, Jonathan Nex, expressed the dismay felt by many: “It’s a crucial vote on Boris Johnson in particular and his track record. In my opinion he’s not standing up for British values of decency and honesty.”

The election count was held in Crediton, which is in the neighbouring Central Devon constituency, because schoolchildren at the Tiverton High school, where election counts have been held before, are using the school hall for sitting exams.

National and local media were accommodated in the nearby football team clubhouse where it all got a bit ‘batty’ for a while. As journalists worked on their stories a bat got in and remained flitting around for several minutes above their heads.

The election was won by Lib Dem candidate Richard Foord, from Uffculme, overturning a majority of 24,239 at the last election.

The former army major, who now works for Oxford University, won by 6,144 over Conservative candidate Helen Hurford, a former primary school headteacher, who runs a nail salon in Honiton. Turnout was 52.3%.

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