Lib Dem MP to stand for new Honiton and Sidmouth constituency at next general election
By Ollie Heptinstall - Local Democracy Reporter
24th Jul 2023 | Local News
Two of Devon's MPs will go head-to-head for the same seat at the next general election.
Due to a shake-up of constituencies, Tiverton & Honiton MP Richard Foord has announced he'll be standing for the new Honiton & Sidmouth seat when we next go to the polls.
It means the Liberal Democrat will be taking on his Conservative neighbour Simon Jupp, the current East Devon MP, who was selected to stand for Honiton & Sidmouth by party members in February.
The Boundary Commission recently published its final recommendations for a shake-up of England's map for general elections, which aims to give each MP roughly the same number of voters.
The changes will give Devon 13 MPs – up one on the existing 12 – although one will be split across Devon and Somerset in a new 'Tiverton and Minehead' constituency, which replaces part of the current Tiverton & Honiton seat.
East Devon's current constituency is also being scrapped. There will instead be new 'Honiton & Sidmouth' and 'Exmouth & East Exeter' seats.
Mr Foord was first elected to parliament last summer, overturning a Tory majority of 23,000 in a by-election weeks before Boris Johnson was ousted from office, and after a scandal in which the former Conservative MP Neil Parish resigned.
Mr Jupp was part of the 2019 intake of new Conservative MPs who won a large majority at Westminster.
Announcing his candidacy, Mr Foord said: "I believe that everyone deserves a strong local champion, acting as their voice in parliament. This is what I like to think I have been over the past year and want to continue being – because there is so much that needs fixing.
"In spite of the brilliant people who work in the NHS locally, too many people are stuck on a long waiting list, can't access dental treatment, or face hours of waiting for an ambulance to arrive. We've also seen our community hospitals hollowed out, losing beds that could be helping get people out of the RD&E.
"I have been listening to what experts and local people say will help address this. That's why I've been calling for a Community Hospital Fund, have pushed for NHS dental contract reform, and lobbied for more support to cut waiting times in rural areas like ours."
He added: "I will continue to work every day for everyone in Tiverton & Honiton, while also being a voice for people in parts of east Devon who also feel they're being let down and taken for granted by this out of touch Conservative government."
Reacting to Mr Foord also standing for the seat, Mr Jupp said he is "proud to be a candidate standing in Honiton & Sidmouth who is lucky enough to live in the new constituency," adding: "I have a proven track record of delivering action, not just words.
"Since I was elected in 2019, I have successfully secured a new school to replace Tipton St John Primary, £15.7 million from the levelling-up fund, a new police station for Exmouth and the planned reopening of Honiton's police enquiry desk, and a confirmed banking hub for Sidmouth.
"Following my recent debate in parliament on South West Water's poor performance, over £35 million of investment was announced for Sidmouth, Tipton St John & Axminster to clean up our rivers and coastline."
Mr Jupp says he has "continued to meet residents in our towns and villages over the last few months and I won't be taking any vote for granted."