THE Conservative candidate for the newly created Honiton and Sidmouth seat, Simon Jupp, says he will be “fighting for every single vote” at the next general election. 

The 38-year-old, who is currently MP for East Devon, will face Lib Dem Tiverton and Honiton MP Richard Foord for the new constituency, which will contain parts of both of their existing seats.  

Both have small majorities. Richard Foord won a by-election by 6,144 votes after the resignation of disgraced Tory Neil Parish in 2022, and Simon Jupp won East Devon by 6,708 votes at the 2019 general election.  

Hot on Mr Jupp’s heels with over 40 per cent of the vote in 2019 was independent Claire Wright, who is endorsing Mr Foord’s campaign. 

East Devon has always been Conservative-held, as had Tiverton and Honiton before the 2022 by-election. 

Mr Jupp, who lives in Sidmouth, said: “I’m currently the only candidate who lives in the constituency.  

“I think that in order to represent an area, you need to live there and on polling day be able to vote for yourself. 

“I’ve been out campaigning since last March and I’m out every single week because I live here, I care about this area, and I really want to continue to serve the people to the best of my ability. 

“Talk is cheap, action is more important. Look at my track record of what I’ve done for the current East Devon constituency. 

“I hope people can make up their own mind that I take action where it’s needed, I stand up for our area because I live here and regardless of anyone’s political persuasion, I will help them.  

“That’s what being a good MP is about. There’s nothing more rewarding in this job than when you can actually make a difference and help people, or you’re successful in a campaign.” 

Mr Jupp, a former broadcast journalist and a political special adviser, describes himself as “proudly a One Nation Conservative”. 

He continued: “I believe in personal responsibility, and I want to give people the opportunity to get ahead in life without having to rely on the state, but given the right tools to succeed.  

“I have a different background to an awful lot of my colleagues in that I never went to university.  

“I left college, I worked in a supermarket, worked in a department store and I come at it from a view that I think Conservative policies help people on their way without interfering too much in their lives.  

“But if you need help it should be there for you, and that’s why I hold weekly surgeries in the constituency to make sure that people know what support is out there. 

“I’ve always been a One Nation Conservative who focuses on support that people need and also caring, compassionate conservatism.  

“I’m also, to a point, a libertarian as well because during covid I disagreed with the government on a number of policies relating to vaccine passports and things like mandatory vaccination, because fundamentally the government shouldn’t control what you put in your body.” 

If elected, Mr Jupp says he with focus on local healthcare, housing for local people, sewage spills and more.  “I’ve got a six-point plan,” he said.

“[Firstly] it’s about protecting and improving local healthcare.  

“We’ve seen for example, Ottery Hospital transformed from being half-empty to almost completely full of services, some of which have moved from the RD and E into the community, and I want to see more of that.  

“That includes safeguarding Seaton Hospital. The wing that’s currently empty there needs to be put to good use. Demolishing it would cost two years’ worth of rent. It doesn’t make any sense. 

“Seaton Hospital needs to be held in the same regard as other community hospitals and protected for future generations who pay for it.  

“We know we’ve got, and have done since covid, an increase in second homes and holiday lets.  

“These bring people to the constituency, which is fantastic for tourism, but there isn’t a balance at the moment with the need for local housing for local people.  

“That’s why I talk about quite a lot the idea of when you reach a certain quota of holiday lets or second homes you should be able to then instruct new developments to be as a percentage, say 25 per cent, for local people only in perpetuity.  

“Otherwise, we don’t have people to work in the towns in which we live, and we end up having ghost towns and I don’t want that. I want sustainable communities for the future.  

“And then there’s the environment. We’ve seen a historic lack of investment from South West Water.  

“That tide is changing with £30 million announced for Sidmouth, Tipton St John and Axminster to improve various different schemes in those towns.  

“We pay the highest sewerage bills in the country… and we’ve not had our fair return. South West Water need to up their game and clean up their act. 

“Securing investment, be it private or government investment, is key to growth. We cannot afford to lag behind or be forgotten in our part of Devon. 

“Getting the funding over the line to replace Tipton St John Primary, making sure that Exeter Airport had the support it needed during the pandemic, getting the levelling up funding for Exmouth… have been really big key asks of mine. 

“Another thing that I hear a lot on the doorstep is about local policing. They want visible policing.  

“We know that crime isn’t particularly high in our areas, let’s keep it that way by making sure that police are visible by increasing the number of police enquiry desks. 

“They should have never been closed in the first place and it’s really, really key that we get more of those open, especially in tourism areas like Sidmouth. We’ve got Honiton’s police enquiry desk reopening very soon. 

“People enjoy this area because it’s kept so beautifully. An awful lot of that is down to our farmers who do an amazing job of being the custodians of our countryside.  

“And they want to produce food, not fill out just endless forms all the time.  

“I hold regular farmers’ forums and stand up for our farmers in Parliament, I have held debates and pushed the DEFRA department in the right direction, focusing on our food resilience, our national food security. 

“Covid showed us that buy local, support local was the way forward. I want that to continue.” 

A general election must be called by the prime minister at some point this year.

Will Goddard