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Conservative candidate for Otter Valley attacks residents for trying to save Ottery Hospital

Thursday, 06 April 2017 5 Comments by Claire

The Conservative candidate for Otter Valley Ward, Tim Venner, has hit out at residents attending the event at Ottery St Mary Hospital on Saturday, which showed local determination to save the hospital and its services, which may be at risk in the future.

The hospital had its general medical beds removed in 2015 but the building may now be at risk too.

Mr Venner, who is my Conservative opponent in the Devon County Council elections, tweeted:  “Guess its (sic) good to spread gloom - stop hindering progress we need an evolving NHS fit for todday (sic) not 1970.”

It isn’t the first time Mr Venner has lashed out at local people trying to save Ottery Hospital.

After an event I organised at the hospital last May which Hugo Swire MP attended, Mr Venner referred to Ottery St Mary Hospital in a tweet as a “geriatric home.”

In a few days the Conservatives will no doubt send a leaflet around pledging their support for local hospitals and the NHS.

It is important that people are aware that in the Otter Valley, their Conservative candidate holds views that may be at odds with those set out in his leaflet.

The elections are on Thursday 4 May.


1. At 09:20 am on 07th Apr Philip Algar wrote:

The Conservative candidate’s comments are an insult to the determined people of Ottery. They have worked hard to maintain a hospital and its medical facilities, in which they have invested heavily and which, not least because of the increase in the size of the local population, they claim is essential.  His comments are a clear indication that, if elected, God forbid, he would not fight for the local community and what they have demonstrated so obviously, they need. Our hospital does not even belong to us now!!  Claire showed not just at the last county election but at the General Election, when she defeated three national parties, that solid work on local issues, which affect local people, are fundamental. At recent elections, the parties have claimed that they were fighting for the people of East Devon etc but when challenged to explain what they had done, silence prevailed. Beware of claims that will be made in the flyers soon to be delivered and ask who has done anything for local people. Only one candidate has been consistently active and involved and she needs no introduction!

2. At 10:05 am on 07th Apr Sandra Semple wrote:

Would a true blue Otter Valley Tory like to explain to me why they might vote for this man?  Bear in mind this is a COUNTY vote.  It isn’t about Brexit or Syria or Russia - it’s about what your candidate will do for your area and your county alone.  Remember that when the Health and Social Care Scrutiny Committee at DCC voted to re-examine plans for hospitals in Devon it would have taken only one more Conservative council to let the current flawed plans go through Diviani had already voted to block it).  IF this man were to get on to any committee he could create havoc - and it would affect not only you but everyone in Devon.  Choose wisely.

3. At 07:28 pm on 07th Apr Chris Wakefield wrote:

It used to be said that such was Tory party loyalty in constituencies like East Devon, the sole requirement for electoral success was to apply the famous blue rosette. The quality of the candidate was irrelevant - anybody or anything, preferably (but not necessarily) with a pulse, would be successful if this simple rule was adhered to.

In the modern world we no longer accept such cynicism, and we look forward to the contributions Mr Venner will bring to the debate on the many vital issues that confront constituents locally.  Oddly, the NHS and Ottery Hospital have proved to be early sticking points, where he finds himself notably out of step with almost everyone else in the local community including many established politicians of his own stripe. Quite possibly the return from the ‘questionnaire’ he circulated in Ottery (and maybe elsewhere) was inconclusive on the issue, but I hope he will stick to his guns on these matters - it does need someone to stand firm and expose the downright inconvenience of people defending their beliefs and promoting a point of view that so directly challenges the luminous true path laid before us by the Conservative and Unionist Party.

Might he perhaps be persuaded to elaborate further on the condition of the NHS locally and what the loss of community hospitals will mean? I hope so. That and many other questions will clamour for Mr Venner’s attention and he must soon start answering them.  An audience awaits…

4. At 06:09 pm on 08th Apr Philip Algar wrote:

There is one other point that the Conservative candidate might care to ponder. A petition to save the Ottery Hospital attracted support from 2,000 local people,  all of whom have a vote in the forthcoming local elections and who have recently been insulted by the Conservative candidate.

5. At 06:36 pm on 18th Apr Chri Wakefield wrote:

Just to follow up on my last, now having received Tim Venner’s promotional publicity for the DCC election.

On the ‘Party’ side of the leaflet, we see Tory vices converted ungrammatically into virtues.  John Hart has been frantically re-arranging deckchairs on the Titanic, declaiming to passengers the unequalled merits of sinking (an unbeatable view of the North Atlantic at close quarters; swimming with icebergs; a free trip on the RMS Carpathian, etc etc) and bragging that whatever services were provided before - there’s now a lot less of it. In most cases he meant ‘fewer’ not ‘less’ , but we mustn’t pick - education funding cuts are clearly having an impact on Tory Party literature as well as trashing our local schools.

On the reverse of the leaflet were Mr Venner’s credentials. His Flooding Scheme does not appear anywhere in the public record that I can find, so it must have been a fairly low profile effort. And no sign of the hospital issue, or the state of the roads, or schools, or climate change or anything remotely relevant to the immediate concerns of the constituency he hopes to represent.

And now, to add to our pleasures - a general election. Can we just stop this please, and think of something better?

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