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Sir Ed Davey builds sandcastles on Paignton beach

Tuesday, 18 June 2024 07:30

By Guy Henderson, local democracy reporter

Ed Davey building sandcastles with Caroline Voaden (courtesy: Guy Henderson/LDRS)

It was the latest in a series of election stunts

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey used a visit to South Devon to pledge his party’s support for people struggling with transport in rural areas.

Sir Ed made sandcastles on Torbay’s Broadsands Beach in the latest of his series of photo-friendly election stunts which have seen him falling off a paddleboard, having a TV makeover and conducting interviews on fairground rides.

Only a week ago he was at sea on a yacht off Torquay in another of his carefully-organised photo opportunities.

Broadsands is in the Conservative-held South Devon constituency, and the party leader was on the sands and paddling in the water to show his support for Lib Dem candidate Caroline Voaden.

But it was also the day the Lib Dems took the wraps off a new package of pledges designed to help people in rural communities such as South Devon.

He said: “We want to expand the rural fuel duties relief scheme. At the moment it only applies in 21 quite remote rural areas – a bit of north Devon is covered. We want to double the number of areas covered by that.

“There are some people in rural areas who depend on the car. They’ve got no alternative. They have been really badly hit by increases in the cost of living.

I think it’s reasonable, given that we can’t get them the public transport they would want, to help them in this way.”

He also said the response to doorstep canvassing in South Devon had been ‘fantastic’. He went on: “The reason I think we can do it this time is the number of people who say they have always voted Conservative. It’s in their blood almost, but they’re saying they can’t do it this time.

“Some are going to stay at home, a few may go to Reform, but what is exciting for us is the number of those people who are saying they are going to give the Liberal Democrats a chance.”

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