Ben Bradshaw

Working Hard for Exeter

Exeter Unitary

We had a good meeting yesterday between the local government minister, Rosie Winterton and Exeter councillors and business community on Exeter’s bid for unitary status. 

I do hope that the Government will now honour the long-standing wish of Exeter to run its own affairs. It was heartening to be able to present the Minister with a united political front – with all 4 parties on Exeter City Council – Labour, Conservative, Liberal and Liberal Democrat strongly supporting Exeter’s case. 

It was surprising then to read in Saturday’s Express and Echo that the Tory parliamentary candidate for Exeter has set her face against her own party locally and come out against Exeter.

The implication of this is that she believes councillors from North Devon and South Hams are better able to make decisions affecting Exeter than councillors, including those of her own party, who actually live in and represent Exeter. 

Exeter had its own council quite happily for 800 years before the then Tory Government took it away in 1974.

Since then, it has been the policy of all the parties in Exeter to support a return to self rule. 

I know the Conservative candidate has come under strong pressure from rural Conservatives in Devon and from her party’s HQ in London – but if she’s aspiring to represent Exeter, shouldn’t she be standing up to them and supporting Exeter’s interests and the views of her own local councillors?

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