THIS is the first batch of readers’ reports from and about your constituencies since Nigel Farage announced that he was stepping down his candidates in 317 Conservative seats. See below for how to submit your own report on the choice of candidates you have, which of them you plan to vote for and why, what you think of their chances and your stance on Brexit.
Current MP: Robert Courts (Conservative)
A constituent writes: David Cameron was the MP here until he resigned in 2016. He was replaced by Robert Courts, who in 2017 held the seat with a majority of 21,241 and a 55 per cent share of the vote. Labour came second (12,598 votes) with the Lib Dems a very close third (approximately 50 votes behind Labour).
The area is solidly Conservative, and I cannot see that changing. Robert Courts was something of a Brexiteer, voting twice against May’s ‘deal’, but caving in, in the end, to support it. He has now put out a leaflet commending Boris’s ‘deal’ as a way of ‘respecting all shades of opinion’ and enabling the country to move on. (There’s no suggestion that we should respect the 17.4million who voted to leave the EU in 2016.)
Robert is quite an active constituency MP, as a visit to his Facebook page will show. On it, some of his constituents remind him, angrily, that the constituency voted Remain in 2016 and that he should more actively reflect that, but I still cannot see them voting against him. All the councils in rural Oxfordshire (not Oxford City) are very much dominated by the Tories, with Labour and Libs winning a few seats, so I doubt he will lose.
I voted for him last time, and when he replaced David Cameron, but I really don’t know if I can vote for him again. He was a bit rebellious over Brexit when Theresa May was PM, but now he just comes over as a party man through and through. I’m disappointed in him. I hoped that the Brexit Party would stand, in which case they would get my vote, but this seems unlikely now; so I really do not know where I can go. I won’t vote Lib or Lab, who, on past form, will probably split the anti-Tory vote pretty evenly between them. I imagine Robert Courts will glide between them to win the seat again. I might not vote, or spoil my ballot paper – I feel silly doing that, but I feel as though I’ve been disenfranchised, so have no other choice.
Current MP: David Drew, Labour
Jeremiah Picton writes: Stroud is an unusual constituency, being filled with ‘Stroudies’ with an artistic and environmental bent. Extinction Rebellion started in our many independent cafes. Nonetheless our Westminster politics have always been mainstream.
Our current MP, David Drew, is seen as a good egg as he turns up and supports local organisations, opens fairs and supports individuals in disputes with our dreadful council. He helped me in a silly spat with the County Highways department. He first won his seat from a Tory in the Blair tsunami of 1997 but fell out with the Government over Iraq. Although we were initially delighted when he lost his seat to the Tory Neil Carmichael in 2010, we soon wished him back. I went to see Carmichael over a social care issue only to be patronised and told that if Leave won the referendum the social care situation would be worse. Further, it was my duty to vote Remain!
Happily, Carmichael was turfed out in 2017 and Drew came back. Crucially Drew is a Eurosceptic and reputed to be one of the voices that stopped Corbyn declaring for Remain. We are obviously equivocal about this election. The Tories have parachuted in a young solicitor from Camden and this is not going down well in a constituency that likes its own. Drew was a district councillor before Westminster and the Tory candidate Siobhan Baillie was preferred over a well-liked current Stroud Tory councillor. On the bright side, notwithstanding the Stroudies, the Greens and LibDems do not have a prayer. I also suspect Brexit Party posters will be torn down hereabouts.
Current MP: Sandy Martin, Labour (Majority: 831)
Brexit vote: 58-42 per cent to leave the EU
brownowl writes: Ipswich has long been a Labour stronghold, a trend most recently broken by Ben Gummer, the lamented co-author of May’s suicidal manifesto in 2017.
His Labour successor Sandy Martin, a committed Remainer, is, as far as I have seen, almost invisible as an MP, and has been next to useless – the ultimate lobby-fodder seat-polisher. Some research has failed to dispel this impression. In fact, he has made a few howlers in his time, most notably, despite having been leader of the council, losing the millions of investment for the Ipswich Waterfront that Mr Gummer had secured by deciding it needed to be spent elsewhere, seemingly not realising that it was impossible to do that and thereby having the offer withdrawn.
Our Conservative candidate is Tom Hunt, a committed Brexiteer with a strong and active social media presence. As a new MP (if elected) he is, however, highly likely to do as he’s told by the Whips. I don’t for a second believe he will vote against this appalling so-called ‘deal’.
Our TBP candidate seems worthy enough, but she’s unknown, virtually invisible locally, and in a marginal seat like this, is certain to steal votes from Mr Hunt.
My dilemma is that a vote for TBP, whose position I totally support, could easily let the useless Sandy Martin back in. However, in all conscience, I cannot support Boris’s so-called ‘deal’. Ever.
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