East Devon

2015 Result:
Conservative: 25401 (46.4%)
Labour: 5591 (10.2%)
Lib Dem: 3715 (6.8%)
UKIP: 6870 (12.6%)
Independent: 13140 (24%)
MAJORITY: 12261 (22.4%)

Category: Very safe Conservative seat

Geography: South West, Devon.

Main population centres:



Current MP
HUGO SWIRE (Conservative) Born 1959, London. Educated at Eton and St Andrews University. Former army officer and director of Sotheby`s. Contested Greenock and Inverclyde 1997. First elected as MP for East Devon in 2001. Shadow culture secretary 2005-2007. Minister of State for Northern Ireland 2010-2012. Minister of State at the Foreign Office since 2012.
Past Results
Con: 25662 (48%)
Lab: 5721 (11%)
LDem: 16548 (31%)
UKIP: 4346 (8%)
Oth: 815 (2%)
MAJ: 9114 (17%)
Con: 23075 (47%)
Lab: 7598 (15%)
LDem: 15139 (31%)
UKIP: 3035 (6%)
Oth: 400 (1%)
MAJ: 7936 (16%)
Con: 22681 (47%)
Lab: 7974 (17%)
LDem: 14486 (30%)
UKIP: 2696 (6%)
MAJ: 8195 (17%)
Con: 22797 (43%)
Lab: 9292 (18%)
LDem: 15308 (29%)
Oth: 1953 (4%)
MAJ: 7489 (14%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
HUGO SWIRE (Conservative) See above.
STUART MOLE (Liberal Democrat) Educated at St Johns School, Leatherhead and Nottingham University. Writer, researcher and former diplomat. Contested Chelmsford F1974, O1974, 1979, 1983, 1987 for the Liberal party.
ANDREW CHAPMAN (UKIP) Born 1947, Wolverhampton. Educated at Denstone College and Goldsmiths College. Retired accountant. Surrey councillor 1985-1989 for the Liberal party.
CLAIRE WRIGHT (Independent)
Comments - 197 Responses on “Devon East”
  1. Goodness me, he’s a veteran all right. Seems strange to come back after all this time for an unwinnable seat after coming so close to being elected in Chelmsford in 1983.

  2. Not a safe seat any more but a marginal thanks to the independent candidate (and probably helped by Swire’s bizarre benefits comments).

  3. Clare Wright is very popular locally, has worked hard as a Councillor for 5 years & brings an alternative to the Tory cabal in Devon County Council by representing the people.

  4. The Independent here is now the most likely to win Ind in GB (or the UK after Sylvia Hermon).

    Her odds have shortened from a 33/1 outsider into just 5/1.

    The East Devon Watch site has a lot of the information and the East Devon Alliance (Ind Cllrs group) are backing here.

    She is apparently a parish, district and county councillor and the most popular County Cllr in the country.

    Hugo Swire was also caught joking about people on benefits at an auction at a Tory Ball. He then visited a food bank to attempt to rectify the matter but again made comments that claimants should learn how to cook and provide for themselves (presumably oblivious to the fact that they had no cash and that’s why they were given vouchers to attend a food bank).

    He should hold in this safe seat, but he seems rattled according to local reporters.

  5. Plenty of people will agree with him in this kind of area.

    The idea that East Devon or Richmond are at risk from independents is simply ludicrous. Lancs, you will know more than most how these things can spawn out of nothing more than lazy journalism.

  6. True, but she’s taken over from Steve Radford as the most popular Cllr in England so like he did in 1997, she should at least hold her deposit and may also come 2nd.

    This is an area where hustings still take place and at the 6 so far (with 200 at each), she received the most applause. From what I’ve read it’s the Tory Council who are hated most, but multi millionaire Swire hasn’t aided his chances.

  7. Conservative Hold. 15,000 maj.

  8. Swire held, but the Ind polled over 13,000 votes here.

  9. So Swire increased his majority despite his own vote share decreasing, but the local Independent attracted a considerable amount of support to easily take second place from nowhere?!

  10. This must rank as one of UKIP’s most disappointing results. They only polled 12.5%, just beating Labour on 10.2%. It was the sort of place where they might have hoped for as much as 30% at one time. But it’s evidence that there was a very heavy swing back to the Tories amongst this type of electorate when the prospect of an SNP/Labour coalition was thought to be a possibility.

  11. Interestingly the west country ‘anti-everyone’ vote that in previous elections largely coalesced around the Lib Dems seems to have gone for the independent here.

  12. Before the 2015 election is lost from memory, can people explain why Claire Wright stood her and also why she did so well? Is Claire Wright or another Indpendent running on a similar platform likely to run in 2020?

  13. I know a big part of her campaign was opposition to relaxed local planning rules and the threat of over-development.

  14. She is a district and county cllr. Going by her web page quite left wing (holding anti-tax avoidance demos and so forth) though the public’s mind works in funny ways so voters that aren’t very left-wing might be willing to support a left-winger standing as an Indy. I assume she mainly inherited the LD vote with little churn in this seat otherwise. Getting 24% as an Indy that isn’t a defector or a celebrity candidate of some sort is no mean feat – she must have run a very effective campaign.

  15. Tim Dumper has stood here several times for the Lib Dems (including 2010 IIRC) and used to be a regular poster here….if he’s still reading the site perhaps he could give some insight into the excellent performance of the independent candidate here.

  16. Andy JS – not in this seat. The Tory vote and % fell.

    Although I realise the anti vote went to the Independent rather than the UKIP PPC.

    JS – I don’t think she’s left wing; but, I haven’t met her.

    HH – yes, it’d be good if a local could give more info on her campaign. She started late, but the only info I heard was from a journo I emailed and she said the MP was run close by the Indy in some ballot boxes. [I’d be guessing but it could be she performed v well in some parts but bombed in others. An Indy even with helpers would find it very hard to physically fight a seat, especially one such as this.]

    I assume where she did well would be where she’s a Cllr (as I recall Steve Radford notionally won his ward in the General Election too when he came 2nd in 1997 in Liverpool West Derby and she’s taken his role as most popular Cllr in England).

  17. Sorry, I meant to add her site for those who asked:


    The other similarity with Steve Radford is that they both wear orange starburst rosettes in the Locals and at the Count.

    Although I see last May she donned a black and white Indy rosette for the General.

    Her public meetings were certainly packed (which is unusual these days part from in N Ireland). She intends to fight in 2020 and is the Woodland Trust Tree Champion for Devon.

  18. Hugo Swire headed to the backbenches.

  19. May really has had a clearout of all of the DC Toffs.

    I realise Carswell is now partial, but is really is extraordinary that he said some were considered for jobs merely because DC once shared a flats or went to school or Uni with them.

    It’s reminiscent of the ‘good chap’ being selected ahead of Maggie in all of those elections in the ’50s.

  20. Hugo Swire has said that Trump will win.

  21. So did Michael Portillo on last night’s This Week show on BBC1 with Andrew Neil.

  22. It would be extraordinary if he did but it wouldn’t shock me.

  23. Trump has just been rushed off stage by the Secret Service during a speech.

    A man was apprehended after reports he had a gun.

  24. I’m surprised the media haven’t at least given some coverage to the potential VPs.

    After all whoever wins will be the oldest President (quite apart from Hillary’s collapsing bouts) and the chance of someone shooting at one of them – as happened with Reagan – must be 50%+ over the 4 year term of office.

    Both VP candidates are more extreme in their views than HC & DT too.

  25. I have no idea how this election is going to go: it could be anything from a narrow Trump win to a Clinton landslide (in the electoral college rather than the popular vote).

  26. Fully agree Andy.


    Why do you think any of Mike Pence, Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine are extreme in their views, out of interest?

    Both Democrats would be regarded over there as moderates, especially Kaine – though possibly neither of them fit into a box.

  27. Of all the constituency threads to discuss the US election in!

    I’m supposed to have a vote as a dual citizen, but due to a very weird set of circumstances (and having to deal with it through a rural Coloradan County Clerk who probably hasn’t the foggiest what to do) I haven’t managed to get hold of a ballot.

    From my playing with electoral maps, best case scenario I can see for Hillary is 356-176-6 (McMullin winning Utah). Best case scenario for Trump is 294-244.

    Putting my money where my mouth is, I’ll call it 323-215. Clinton wins Colorado, Nevada, Florida, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia and Wisconsin, while Trump wins Ohio and Iowa.

    Soon we’ll see.

  28. I am surprised to see people continuing to hype Trump’s chances. Maybe says something about loss of faith in polls and the usual ‘rules of the game’ over the last couple of years. All evidence that is out there still points to a clear Clinton win on the electoral college.

  29. Nameless and Jack

    I hope you’re both right. 🙂

    I think it’s the unknown of Trump supporters who, like many Brexiters, will be voting for the first time for many years, that is causing this fear.

    On paper the situation looks similarly close to 4 years ago, maybe fractionally better for Clinton, but Romney was a conventional candidate with conventional voting bases – plus Obama’s base was more enthusiastic for him in much larger numbers than Clinton’s is.

  30. “I think it’s the unknown of Trump supporters who, like many Brexiters, will be voting for the first time for many years, that is causing this fear.”

    An understandable worry. But polling for the Republican primaries was broadly right. And the handy factor of partisan voter registration makes it possible to track turnout during early voting, and that seems to have gone relatively well for the Democrats.

  31. ‘I am surprised to see people continuing to hype Trump’s chances’

    I’m even more surprised that Trump has maintained his leads in traditionally Democratic states like Iowa (so Democrat it voted for Dukarkis in 1988), New Hampshire and even swing states like Ohio, Florida and Nevada (which Obama carried relatively comfortably)

    If Trump carries Florida and Ohio and hangs onto North Carolina he’s effectively won, and it will be interesting to see if turns out like that or if like last time, it’s a more comfortable night for the Democrats

  32. I can’t see Florida or Nevada going for Trump if the Hispanic turnout is as reported so far.

    Utah could be interesting. Would be a first since 1968 if McMullin takes it.

  33. “If Trump carries Florida and Ohio and hangs onto North Carolina he’s effectively won”

    Not quite. That leaves him on 253 and he needs 270 electoral college votes.

    We probably all agree he’s favourite in Iowa, so that takes him to 259. Colorado – and even more so New Hampshire – are suddenly unexpectedly competitive (Clinton’s had countless double digit leads in NH, which have suddenly completely evaporated, and it’s a very white state). If Trump take both of these in addition to the aforementioned, he’s over the line at 272. If he takes Colorado but not NH, but does win Maine CD-2 (IIRC), then it’s a tie 269-269. He’s looking unlikely to lose Utah now, incidentally.

    And this is all without Wisconsin, Pennyslavania, New Mexico, Michigan, Minnesota – his path is definitely less narrow than it was, although that doesn’t quite make him favourite.

  34. ‘Not quite. That leaves him on 253 and he needs 270 electoral college votes.’

    It is if he hangs onto his leads in New Hampshire, Iowa and Nevada

    Basically it all comes down to Florida – like it did in 2000 – which like it was then and in 2012 is too close to call

    The real surprise for me is Virginia – a once solidly Republican state which even Bill Clinton came nowhere near to winning when he was President – which has shown a consistent Clinton lead

    Kane might be from there, but John Edwards being on the ticket in 2004 didn’t do the Democrats much help in North Carolina (his home state) – which they lost – and neither Romney nor Gore were able to hold their home states (liberal Massachussets and reactionary Tennessee)

    Given how implausible he’s candidature has been from the outset it’s remarkable that a man like Trump is still even on the race and notwithstanding the numerous flaws of Hillary as a Presidential candidate, I think it says more about how divided 21st century America is, than the merits or otherwise of his bid

    You could never get a 1964 or 1984-style landslide result in a US election any more

  35. “It is if he hangs onto his leads in New Hampshire, Iowa and Nevada”

    Except that, in the polling averages, Trump hasn’t got a polling lead in NH and Nevada.

    See http://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2016/Pres/pres_polls.html

    Granted they’re perhaps close – though the latest two polls in NH are way in Clinton’s favour, oddly enough.

    I agree re Iowa – if he loses this, he’s almost certainly in trouble in Georgia, South Carolina and Arizona too, possibly also Ohio and Texas, as well as not taking Florida. Landslide territory for Clinton in other words.

  36. The only way I can see another 1964/84 style result in the USA would be if a strong third party candidate slammed into one of the major parties and left the other untouched. In 1992, the electoral map was fairly normal despite Perot, because his support was quite evenly spread and came evenly enough from both other candidates.

  37. Not quite sure which thread has become the unofficial US election thread so I’ll re-post my prediction on the Western Isles here.

    “OK I will probably be completely wrong but here is my detailed prediction on the US election.
    Clinton=279 (Elected)

    Firstly I don’t anticipate any shock results, so Clinton winning Georgia or Arizona or Trump winning Minnesota is off the table.

    I anticipate Trump will hold North Carolina (albeit very narrowly perhaps even sub 1%) along with Nebraska’s 2nd congressional district and will win Ohio, Iowa and Florida.

    Clinton will hold Colorado, Virginia, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Nevada and Michigan (in the case of the latter a lot narrower than I think most people expect) along with Maine’s 2nd congressional district.

    Nothing too controversial there I feel, the most stand out claim perhaps being my belief Michigan will be a lot closer than most people think. For the record Obama won Michigan in 2012 by 9.5% I think Clinton will win by sub 4% reason being a more solid Republican showing amongst WWC Towns like Traverse City and Grand Rapids and a much poorer turnout for the Democrats in studenty Washtenaw County (containing the university town of Ann Arbor) and in the greater Detroit area particularly monolithically Democratic Wayne County.”

  38. BT
    Re Colorado I think Clinton is a shoe in there. That state is pretty much decided in three suburban Denver counties (Adams, Arapahoe and Jefferson) this is highly educated wealthy commuter territory and Obama carried all three narrowly giving him a 70,000 vote lead in these three counties alone (compared to his state-wide lead of about 100,000 votes) The only real path for Trump to win in Colorado is to carry these three counties but its precisely the type of area where he goes down badly.

    With a much more moderate Clinton as an option rather than the perceived “extremist” Obama the white middle classes in these counties will probably break for the Democrats in larger numbers than they did in 2012 securing a Democrat win in the state.

  39. Colorado is interesting for their introduction of all-postal ballots. Of course you can still show up and vote in person, but dropping a ballot on everyone’s doorstep by default might change the turnout a bit.

    The county where I’m registered (La Plata) seems to lean Democratic and has had pretty significant turnout so far – but it’s hard to compare that to 2012!

  40. Clinton=279 (Elected)

    I didn’t actually realise that Clinton can still win even of she losses Florida, Ohio, North Carolina and Iowa – bit she can so long as she holds on to the decisively more liberal states of Colorado and New Hampshire

    It’s hard to see Trump winning without a major upset – but I thougt that about Brexit – how comparable the two are I’m not so sure

  41. MrNameless
    La Plata County went 52.9% for Obama and 44.1% for Romney in 2012, the county actually kinda encapsulates Trumps problem in the state, short of carrying the three suburban Denver counties I mentioned In my last post or some huge collapse in turnout in Denver and Boulder the only way for Trump to win Colorado would be to carry counties like La Plata pretty decisively, that’s simply not going to happen given the high Hispanic vote (and in the case of La Plata) native American vote, on a good day the Republicans could carry the county by 3 points or so but that would only give them a lead of about 1,000 votes or thereabouts, certainly no game changer, there simply aren’t enough La Plata’s to outvote Denver.

  42. Tim
    Indeed short of an upset I don’t see Trump winning, for the record I believe that upset if it comes will be in Michigan, I think the Clinton camp have been unbelievably complacent in Michigan up until now totally ignoring the fact that the white voters in the state are the exact types Trump resonates with and the Democrats in the state are the exact types Obama enthused to vote in big numbers (Blacks in Detroit and students in Ann Arbor) which explains the recent scramble in the state after being ignored for the past few months.

    As I said I don’t think the swing will be enough to carry it for Trump but if there’s an upset I’d bet money it would be there, Michigan has a recent history of upsets for Clinton like Sanders surprise win of the state in the primaries.

  43. FWIW the US’s best bellwether state Nevada looks to be a Clinton win already. the head of the Nevada Republican party is already rolling out the defeatist lines about differential early voting treatment for “certain kinds of voters” in Clark County (the home of Las Vegas and the overwhelming majority of Democratic voters in the state)

    These types of feeble pre-emptive excuses normally suggest they know they’ve lost. Trump can still win without Nevada but it means there HAS to be an upset elsewhere.

  44. ‘FWIW the US’s best bellwether state Nevada looks to be a Clinton win already. the head of the Nevada Republican party is already rolling out the defeatist lines about differential early voting treatment for “certain kinds of voters”

    But Trump has been ahead in Nevada – which as you say is even more of a bellwether than Ohio – for a couple of weeks now and is ahead in the most recent poll, which generally shows Clinton pulling away – but not in Nevada

    Along with Florida it’s probably the most difficult state to predict

  45. Nevada is indeed another tricky one to predict but ultimately I think the Republicans have come close to maxing their vote in Nevada in 2012.

    Obama had a 65,000 vote lead in 2012 and again short of a collapsing turnout in Clark County (which seems unlikely given the Republicans mumblings about preferential treatment there) I just don’t see where the votes come from.

    There is room to perhaps open up a bigger lead in Carson City but that delivers at best about 5,000 votes, bigger leads in the already solid Republican Lyon, Douglas and Churchill counties nets them perhaps another 10,000 votes, then carrying the only other Democratic county in the state after Clark (Washoe county home to Nevada’s second city Reno) nets the Republicans another 20,000 votes absolute max. Elsewhere the state is made up of tiny (population wise, geographically huge) counties where the Republicans already utterly dominate.

    This demonstrates the importance of Clarke county in the state and unfortunately for the Republicans I think they pretty much maxed their vote their in 2012 managing a very respectable 41.9% probably on the back of a strong nationwide performance amongst military personnel of which there are many in Clark based at Adams Air Force Base just South of Vegas Thus by my calculations this still leaves Trump 30,000 votes short of carrying the state.

  46. Yes, Nevada, Florida and N Carolina look the three closest and therefore the hardest to predict. Also Nevada is apparently notoriously hard to poll accurately.

  47. I’m fairly confident of a Clinton win – but lots of unknowns so not at all over-confident.

    I would be delighted with a BIG Clinton win of historic proportions showing a wholesale rejection of the deceit, bigotry and unfitness / ignorance that Trump represents – but definitely not expecting that to happen.

  48. Re Florida I’m calling that based entirely on differential turnout. Obama carried it by an incredibly close 0.9% in 2012 which worked out at about 75,000 votes.

    Democrats will be aided by demographic changes in Orange County (containing Orlando) and Hillsborough and Pinellas counties (containing the bulk of the Tampa metro area) but I think the Republicans will somewhat neuter that with a stronger showing in Duval County (containing WWC Jacksonville) where I think Trump will go down well.

    The reason I’m predicting a Trump victory though comes down to Florida’s two most populous counties, the strongly Democratic Broward and Miami-Dade. Obama racked up a whopping 475,000 vote lead in these two counties alone. Just a small drop in turnout amongst Black voters here and that 475,000 vote lead drops significantly and the Democrats state-wide lead of 75,000 evaporates with it.

  49. Surely the early voting results in Nevada have sealed it for Clinton? Trump would need a miracle tomorrow to win.

    NC and FL are too close to call. Trump looks to have wrapped up OH and Iowa.

  50. Tristan
    Agree re Nevada, I just don’t see where the Republican votes come from for them to win the state given the rumours coming from Clark county about a strong Democratic showing.

    As I said before though Trump can still win without Nevada but it requires one of his outside chances, I reiterate keep an eye on Michigan, my gut tells me that’s going to be closer than people expect.

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