Steve joins election race

Labour candidate Steve Race

Labour candidate Steve Race - Credit: Archant

Charity campaigner and former Red Cross worker Steve Race has been picked by Labour to contest the East Devon seat in May’s General Election.

East Devon Labour Party selected Mr Race at Exmouth Community College on Monday night.

Mr Race, a former chief researcher to Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw, impressed activists with his knowledge and experience, with one describing his performance in front of their executive as ‘polished’.

Originally from Hull, Mr Race was the first of five children to go to university - his first job was working for the Red Cross in Salford and he ran a programme for inner-city children, inspiring them to learn new skills and continue with their education.

He then volunteered with a charity in Zambia, working in a children’s orphanage.

With a background in political campaigning, and vice-chairman of the Fabian Society – a ‘think tank’ for political ideas - he now works in London, advising charities and businesses on how to lobby parliament for a change in policy.

Mr Race told the Herald that rural areas had often presented a challenge for Labour, but he did not believe there were any ‘no-go’ areas for the party - and that included East Devon.

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“You have Hugo Swire here who sits on a large majority, and then you have the UKIP challenge to him,” he said. “I think people are looking for something new, something interesting and I don’t think the coalition is offering anything past austerity and past the cuts.

“I don’t think they have a vision of the future for Britain, where the Labour Party does; what we want to see is a fairer society.”

He said he had been given a chance in East Devon to talk to people about Labour and to ‘hold Mr Swire to account’ for the decisions the Government had made on issues, including the cost of living and the NHS.

Mr Race said: “Every vote that Hugo Swire’s majority goes down by is a sign of people’s unhappiness. If we can tap into that, and present a real vision for the future, optimism for the future, especially around young people, in terms of a making a fairer society, in terms of taxation, in terms of apprenticeships and in terms of a future for families generally, then I think we can open up some space where Labour has the opportunity to really build some support in East Devon.”

Other candidates are Andrew Chapman (UKIP); Hugo Swire (Conservative); Claire Wright (independent); Stuart Mole (Lib Dem).