Claire’s bid to be ‘free thinking’ MP
10:00 11 June 2014
An independent councillor has pledged to offer a ‘free thinking, free acting’ alternative to candidates from political parties if she is elected as East Devon’s next MP.
Claire Wright, who currently serves as district and county representative for Ottery St Mary, formally launched her campaign to run for Parliament in Sidmouth this week.
Mrs Wright said that, if successful in next year’s General Election, she would champion issues affecting people in East Devon, including opposing cuts which were ‘eviscerating’ public services across the region, as well pushing for a VAT reduction for the tourist industry.
But she added that her full manifesto would be drawn up after a six-month consultation with residents across the region.
Addressing supporters at her campaign launch on Tuesday, she said: “Anyone who has lived in East Devon for any length of time is likely to have noticed a rich seam of discontent among residents.
“There is widespread resentment directed at our conservative-run local council, and its political allies in central government.
“That discontent, very far from the apathy that we have been hearing about, has grown into something that resembles a revolution.”
Mrs Wright told supporters that she would work hard to represent the region’s interests by tabling questions, taking part in debates and speaking out on behalf of residents.
Incumbent East Devon MP Hugo Swire received more than 48 per cent of the vote in 2010’s election, and Mrs Wright admitted it would be a challenge to convince people that an independent would be able to exert enough influence to make a difference.
But she added she was ‘deadly serious’ about being elected, and said she would spend as much time as possible in East Devon meeting with constituents.
She added: “I think a lot of people see an independent MP as unusual, and people think that to actually make a difference in the House of Commons you have to be a member of a party, but actually that’s completely not true.
“I would argue you can have more influence and raise more issues on behalf of constituents because you are independent.
“I wouldn’t be beholden to anyone, except the people I represent.”