'Game on' for May election
PUBLISHED: 06:12 02 January 2015
East Devon's MP Hugo Swire says it is 'game on' as he prepares to defend his position ahead of May's General Election.
Speaking before a coffee morning fundraiser he hosted at Sidmouth’s Kennaway House, the Tory MP said he will be focusing on local issues as he begins his election campaign.
Mr Swire – who recently spoke out against East Devon District Council’s relocation plans – also responded to criticism that he does not spend enough time in his constituency.
He said it is his responsibility to represent his constituents in Westminster and that there will always be critics who use this to make a political point against him.
“You will find in any constituency the complaint that ‘we only see [our MP] when there is an election’,” he said.
“It is an obvious point to make.”
He added that he is actively involved with a number of local charities and holds regular surgeries for his constituents.
Mr Swire has been East Devon’s incumbent MP since 2001, but he will face competition in 2015 from potential candidates, including Claire Wright, who is standing as an independent, and Labour’s Jessica Pearce.
Andrew Chapman has recently joined the contest as a representative of UKIP, while the Liberal Democrats do not yet have a candidate.
“The wild card is UKIP,” said Mr Swire.
Although, he stressed that UKIP do not offer a viable alternative to the Conservative party.
He said he wants to serve in a Conservative government – as opposed to the current coalition - and remains confident they can win with a Tory majority.
“I am never complacent, I am confident that we will win the election with a Conservative majority,” said Mr Swire.
“I hope that people in East Devon will give me the same support as they have in the past.”
Mr Swire said his role as Commonwealth Office Minister takes him away from his constituency a lot, but he will be travelling less in the new year to concentrate on the domestic agenda.
“I am looking forward to it because it gives me a good excuse to spend time down here; it is a lovely time of year to do this, so it is no hardship,” he said.