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Hugh Grant on election trail in East Devon

Monday, December 9th, 2019 1:35pm

By Louise Mitchell and Ollie Heptinstall

He's supporting Independent candidate, Claire Wright.

Hollywood actor Hugh Grant has told people to vote tactically in Thursday’s General Election to ‘take out the Tories’, and that in East Devon, they should back Claire Wright.

The Independent Parliamentary Candidate was joined by the Love Actually star on her campaign trail on Monday morning.

The actor is encouraging people to vote tactically at the polls next Thursday to stop a Conservative majority, and supported Ms Wright, whose 21,000 votes at the 2017 general election make her the only candidate with any realistic chance of taking the seat from the Conservatives.

Following a meeting with her and her canvassing team on the seafront, he went doorknocking with her, before visiting the Swan Inn pub.

Speaking to the crowds of people and to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Mr Grant, 59, said that people had to do everything they could to stop the Conservative Party getting a majority.

He said: “I’m in a panic about the election. What’s left of the Tory party after kicked out those most responsible, humane and decent, is scary. They are willing to lie to us, to lie to the Queen, to trash our freedoms and constitutions. I think it is all our duty to do everything we can to beat Tory candidate where they can be defeated.

“All pundits and experts all point here to East Devon as a prime example of a wobbling Tory and a great chance to take out the seat.

“We have to do everything that we can to prevent them from getting a majority. Personally, that means tactical voting and wherever there is a good chance of taking out a Tory, we need to do that.

“Here in East Devon, unquestionably that person is Claire Wright, who is a superb candidate and a true independent.”

Asked why as an actor he has chosen to join the campaign trail, he said: “I am also a citizen, a tax payer, a parent, and I suppose a patriot too. I hate to see my country turn into a Trumpinton-on-Sea. I value our values and I hate to see our constitution trashed by political opportunists.

“At the referendum, I wasn’t that concerned about the relationship with the EU, but after I have read more and more about it, I find myself really angry about the way that we were conned in 2016, so this all begins with me for a feeling of rage about Brexit.”

He said that in his constituency he would be voting for the Liberal Democrats, as they have the best chance of winning, but added that all voters should vote tactically for the best candidate to beat the Conservatives where they can.

Ms Wright, 44, said that it was an honour that he had chosen her as one of the candidates to come out and support.

She said: “It was absolutely amazing and exciting and such good fun. It was just surreal to see someone only seen on films gets out of a car and say pleased they are pleased to meet you, and then say to crowds of people that you need to vote for her. I will go to bed tonight saying ‘did that really happen’, it’s just so extraordinary.”

Speaking about her campaign, she said that things were feeling even more positive that it was back in 2017 when she finished second.

“It was great to see everyone down there,” she added. “The campaign going really well. In 2017 it was really lively and full of hope and inspiration, but kind of still didn’t feel like I was going to win. This time, everywhere we go, it’s better than 2017 and there’s a different energy.

“The Tories have a new candidate who is not linked to the area. He was born here but not linked to the area, so absolutely everything is to play for. Not only that, I am starting from 21,000 votes, so I need a six per cent swing to win and I feel like I can do it.”

Asked people should vote for her, she added: “I have been a councillor for 10 years and been very effective. I would be a really good and hardworking constituency MP and I will fight for you. I have done it for the last 10 years and proved I can do it, and no other candidate has that.”

She added that she is a passionate advocate for the NHS, schools and the environment and over the last ten years, she has had thousands of conversations with residents, public services and businesses across the constituency to pinpoint the issues most important to the people of East Devon.

The visit came on the same day that it was announced that Exmouth receive new funding from the Government’s new Future High Streets Fund.

The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities & Local Government, Robert Jenrick, has confirmed that Exmouth will receive funding to help secure up to £20 million pounds from the Government’s new Future High Streets Fund.

Candidates standing in East Devon are: 

Peter Faithfull (Independent)
Henry Gent (Green Party)
Simon Jupp (Conservative)
Eleanor Rylance (Liberal Democrat)
Dan Wilson (Labour)
Claire Wright (Independent)

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