Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead


Friday, 19 May 2017 7 Comments by Claire

I am an Independent candidate in the General Election on Thursday 8 June, for the East Devon parliamentary seat.

My campaign has taken off like a rocket with almost £8,000 received in donations in 10 days, hundreds of my A1 poster boards being displayed across the constituency, and a 600 strong team of enthusiastic and willing helpers!

Keep reading…


The draw of this campaign seems much stronger than in 2015, where I came second to Conservative Hugo Swire with 13,140 votes and a 24 per cent share.

I am the only Independent candidate in the country to have been endorsed by the chief tactical voting website, and my odds with William Hill are currently 9/2.

Below is some important information for you to download and an ever increasing number of questions and answers!

I hope you will consider giving your vote on 8 June to a hard-working effective and experienced Councillor, who already has a great track record of representing people on the issues they care about most.


If you wish to donate, the best way is through Crowdpac at


My manifesto is based on thousands of conversations I have had with people since 2014. Most recently in the Devon County Council elections, where I was re-elected with 3,638 votes and a 75 per cent share.  This result is, for the second time, the biggest majority and vote share among Devon County Councillors.

Here’s a copy to download -
2017 Manifesto p12017 Manifesto p2


If you’d like to support me please consider displaying a poster in your house or car window. It will encourage others to support me also! Thank you! 

Here’s the downloadable version -



Ottery 10am – outside Boots
Sidmouth 11.30am – Market Square
Exmouth 2pm – outside Boots, Magnolia Centre
Budleigh 3.30pm – on seafront at the town end


Firstly, I am deeply disappointed to report that Hugo Swire has refused to take part in ANY hustings.  This would appear to be because he does not wish to debate with me, as I have been challenging him publicly on a range of issues for around three years now. Slinking off into the shadows in this way is all rather cowardly, in my view.

Hustings are an important part of the democratic process and allow candidates a golden opportunity to let residents know how they intend to represent them if elected. 

This is what I intend to do, regardless of whether Hugo Swire makes an appearance or not.

Hustings are booked in so far at:

Friday 26 May - Cranbrook, 7.30pm - Cranbrook Education Campus
Tuesday 30 May, 7.30pm - Exmouth - Holy Trinity Church

Exeter Claire Q & A
Friday 2 June, 7pm, Newcourt Community Centre


Please do join me on Twitter at @ClaireWrightInd or the ongoing political debates on my Facebook page at


Austerity and public services

Austerity has caused huge hardship to the most vulnerable people in society, with massive cuts to council budgets and other public services.

Devon County Council has lost more than half its budget in seven years, resulting in many services gone, including care homes, children’s centres, day centres, children’s homes. Roads are now continually potholed, and efforts to improve highway safety and reduce speeding have been compromised due to lack of funding.


For the police, it has meant the loss of hundreds of officers and the closure of many police stations. And now the likely loss of hundreds of police community support officers, who are part of the fabric of communities and deal with low-level crime such as anti social behaviour, parking and speeding problems and cycling safety for children.


The NHS has suffered from a reduction in the annual growth funding which used to be around six per cent and has dropped to one per cent. The government introduced a greater involvement from the private sector under the 2012 Health and Social Care Act, and removed nurse training bursaries despite a shortage of nurses.

Many GPs are leaving the NHS, and there are shortages of junior doctors and just about every other discipline. Many are leaving due to the working conditions which are often described as stressful and very challenging due to underfunding.

If the government isn’t deliberately trying to damage the NHS with its actions, it is certainly giving that impression.

The Government’s position

The Conservatives say the money isn’t there for these services and they must be cut. However, they are spending vast sums of money, including:
- A £7bn third runway at Heathrow
- Corporate tax breaks for big business and high earners, costing £2bn
- Not properly addressing tax avoidance by big business, costing billions
- Billions on free schools and new grammar schools, while our schools suffer significant underfunding meaning losses of teachers, increased class sizes and fewer subjects
- The new HS2 rail-link at a cost of around £70bn
- Millions on creating new Conservative peers in the House of Lords
- A new road building scheme, costing around £1bn

Austerity hasn’t worked. National debt has soared since austerity was introduced in 2010.  The government, quite wrongly, appears to devalue public services and doesn’t appear to consider them part of the economy, which is bizarre and short-sighted.

Every year, without fail, East Devon’s Conservative representative in Parliament has voted in the House of Commons in FAVOUR of massive cuts to councils and the police, regardless of the hardship the cuts are causing to local people.

Hunting with hounds

I campaigned against vivisection, hunting with hounds and other cruel sports such as hare coursing in my teens and early twenties. I continue to oppose hunting and would vote against any repeal of the ban.


This is a somewhat thorny issue. My position is that while it is important that we have a well-resourced armed forces, I have concerns about the renewal of Trident, on the basis it costs £100bn over its lifetime. I believe that this country needs to be working with other powerful world leaders on a programme of reducing such weapons, which could cause really appalling levels of long-term destruction.


While not in favour of an open door policy, I do support immigration. It is vital for the economy and also services such as the NHS and social care would fail if it wasn’t for hard working overseas workers who make an important contribution.

I believe also that we need to take our fair share of refugees from war-torn countries where people are experiencing persecution. I have signed a pledge stating that I welcome refugees to this country.

Holidays in term-time

I have sympathy with parents who find it hard to take their children on holiday outside term-time because of work pressures or the high cost of travelling at peak times. While I agree that on principle children must be at school in term-time and parents should endeavour to take family holidays during school holidays, I believe that this should be a general framework agreed with parents. I disagree with fines being imposed.


The biggest issue for farmers is Brexit and the potential loss of vital EU subsidies. Farmers play two very important roles: food production, and stewardship of the countryside. It is vital that those subsidies are transferred in the form of a government grant to ensure that food security is maintained. The last thing we need is to be importing food from countries that do not share our standards on animal welfare, health and environment. 

The government must also ensure that pollinators and other species flourish by maintaining the environmental stewardship role of farmers. We need hedgerows and wildflowers rather than monoculture. Worryingly, the latest State of Nature report states that many UK species are in decline and even at risk of extinction due to habitat loss, pesticide use and climate change. 

Farmers have a vital role in turning this situation around and must be supported to achieve this. A thriving natural world is in all our interests.


I am very sorry to report that Hugo Swire has refused to sign a pledge put together by 30 environmental charities asking MPs to vote in favour of providing at least the same level of legal protection to our landscapes and species as currently provided for under EU legislation.

In East Devon this is very relevant because EU legal protections apply to landscapes and species in areas including Aylesbeare and Woodbury Commons, as well as the Exe Estuary. Much of Dartmoor is also protected.

I successfully proposed a motion at Devon County Council’s full council meeting in April which called on the government to provide at least the same level of protections to these places. Across Devon there are 122 sites across 115,000 hectares that are currently protected under EU law.

Nuclear power

I have been deeply concerned about the massive cost to the taxpayer of Hinkley C – around £37bn – given that Hinkley will provide just SEVEN per cent of this country’s electricity needs.

Nuclear waste is dangerous and extraordinarily difficult to dispose of.

At the same time, the Conservative government has ruthlessly slashed renewable energy subsidies, resulting in thousands of job losses.  While we still need nuclear energy as part of a mix, clean renewable energy MUST be the way forward.

I completely oppose the environmentally damaging process of fracking, which also contributes to CO2 emissions.


I voted to REMAIN in the European Union for a range of reasons, including environmental, employment, business, and the simple belief that we are better off working alongside our neighbours in a productive way.

I do acknowledge though that many people were unhappy with aspects of the EU and had concerns about some of its functions.

I am very concerned about the possibility of a ‘hard Brexit’ which could see us without an adequate deal from the EU and reliant on trade deals with countries who do not share our high standards on health, human rights, employment, animal welfare and the environment, as well as a range of other issues.

I believe that it is vital that there is a meaningful vote in Parliament on any final Brexit deal.

Housing crisis

There needs to be more genuinely affordable housing built for younger people and those of us on low incomes. Unfortunately this government has made this more difficult by slashing the threshold at which developers must provide affordable housing when submitting planning applications.

There are hundreds of thousands of empty properties across the country that need to be made habitable. Laws should be altered to speed this process up.  Also, there are many properties, especially in Devon, that are used for holidays and are empty for most of the year, which also damages the local economy.

I would like to see these properties subject to significantly increased council tax charges, which would provide more revenue for public services.

Business rates

The new rules on business rates that went live in April mean that many businesses are worse off in East Devon. There is a disincentive to grow, and the business rates system is unfair in general because rates only apply if a business is attached to a property. So online businesses get a much easier deal, even huge corporations such Google and Facebook. A much fairer alternative to the current business rate is needed and one approach may be to simply base rates on turnover.


1. At 03:27 pm on 19th May Rory Jennings wrote:

Hi Claire, you mention you have a 600 strong team of enthusiastic and willing helpers. How can I get involved and provide my support?

2. At 03:33 pm on 19th May Claire Wright wrote:

Thanks Rory! Probably best to contact me direct at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

3. At 09:03 am on 20th May Elisabeth Flynn wrote:

Hi Claire, I just wanted to say I agree pretty much with all that you say. As a complementary therapist I would be interested to hear your views on Codex and the EU restrictions on health claims. Plus how do you stand personally on CAM? Would you welcome some sort of integrated approach to healthcare whereby GPs could refer to CAM therapists and/or include some CAM therapists within hospitals and GP surgeries? There has been a lot of therapy bashing by the media and the likes of Edzard Ernst and Simon Singh over the years, but the simple truth is that the NHS in its current form is failing a huge number of people, particularly those living with mental health problems and chronic conditions. Many, many of these have turned to CAM for support. I would be interested in your views in these issues. Kind regards, Liz.

4. At 10:09 am on 20th May Lesley Hooper wrote:

What is your position on pensions and the women who were born in the 1950’s.we havent seen you or any literature in my area. Dont forget that though I live in Exeter I am in the east Devon constituency.

5. At 08:03 pm on 20th May Claire Wright wrote:

Hi Elisabeth, I am not very familiar with these issues. Perhaps you could send me a message with the detail, to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) - please bear in mind that I am deluged with questions on many many subjects right now!

Hi Lesley, I fully support the WASPI campaign. I have been out and about canvassing in Exeter twice last week. There are very many houses to get around in the constituency, but we will do our best to visit all of them.  Best wishes….

6. At 05:57 pm on 21th May Eleanor Moudiotis wrote: health matters- A vision for 2017.pdf?utm_source=Royal College Of Paediatrics and Child Health&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=8290251_Election 2017 v2&dm_i=12S1,4XOSR,8NHVIZ,IQH8N,1

This is the link to the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health document CHild Health Matters: a vision for 2017. Will you be supporting their vision for child health policy?

7. At 07:21 pm on 21th May Kevin Furzer wrote:

I would like to vote for you but I am concerned with labour. I have a small business and have conservant I’ve values but I think the majority is to large for democracy.  Please ensure me to vote for you.

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