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Tories set to lose two Devon seats, poll suggests

Thursday, 4 April 2024 11:40

By Guy Henderson, local democracy reporter

House of Parliament (image courtesy: Radio Exe)

Could Foster and Mercer be on their way out?

The Conservatives stand to lose two seats in Devon at this year’s general election, according to a new poll.

Figures from market research and data firm YouGov say Labour is poised to win more than 400 seats in a landslide victory, with support for Rishi Sunak’s Tory administration slipping away.

And the poll claims Tory MPs Kevin Foster and Johnny Mercer are among those at risk of losing their seats, with Mr Foster’s Torbay seat going to the Liberal Democrats and Mr Mercer’s in Plymouth Moor View going to Labour.

Mr Foster today dismissed the predictions and said there was only one poll that mattered – the one taking place on election day.

The Conservatives would win just 155 seats nationwide according to YouGov, down from 169 in a similar poll published in January. Labour is predicted to hold Exeter.

Conservative candidates would, however, take the rest of the seats in Devon, including that of Liberal Democrat Richard Foord, whose current Tiverton and Honiton constituency is being abolished and incorporated in the new Honiton and Sidmouth seat. Mr Foord and the current Conservative East Devon MP Simon Jupp will contest that one.

Torbay’s Liberal Democrats have welcomed the poll, with candidate Steve Darling saying: “This shows that Labour can’t win here, and that the next election in Torbay will be a clear two-horse race between the Liberal Democrats and the Conservative Party. 

“The national media are looking at Torbay as a battleground seat at the next election and the Liberal Democrats are on the up after our big gains at the local elections.

“After years of people struggling to get a GP appointment, soaring prices in the shops and our seas being polluted by filthy sewage, it’s clear it’s time for a change in Torbay.”

But Mr Foster said: “There have been various polls, with one last week suggesting a Labour win in Torbay, a prediction site saying it will be a clear Conservative hold and now this one.

“Yet only one poll will matter, the one on election day. I’ll leave others to pick which national poll they like, as residents want to see their representatives dealing with issues, not simply scoring party political points in an attempt to get attention.

“Last year the polls did not predict the Conservative Party gaining Torbay Council, some even thought it might go Lib Dem as it did back in the 1990s, yet the strong offer locally from the Conservative team and the failures of the Lib Dem/Independent coalition leadership saw a very different result when voters went to the ballot box.”

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