Vote Labour 6th May 2021 – Devon County Council ELECTIONS (and Teignmouth Town Council Elections)

Here are the Candidates who are standing in our Divisions across the Constituency for Labour:

Jeff Pocock: standing for Dawlish :

Jeff has been a teacher for over 2 decades, and has a good grounding on the issues that affect ordinary people. He grew up in London, where he saw the benefits good Labour councils can have for local people. He has a young family, and wants the best for families in Dawlish and Teignmouth West Ward, and to support them in housing, environment, health and wellbeing issues. He rejects further cuts to local services, such as the police, schools, the local hospital closure and youth and community services.

Jackie Jackson: Standing for Teignmouth:

Jackie has lived in Devon for 30 years, and has supported many issues locally. including the Save the Hospital Campaign. She runs the local food larder, and is passionate about supporting local people in the community. She has voted Labour all her adult life, and been active in the Labour Party for 5 years after retiring as a headteacher. Local issues, such as post covid jobs, affordable housing, care for the elderly, and funding for schools, and police are important to her.  

Town Council Vacancies, West Teignmouth and Teignmouth Central: Jackie is also standing for Teignmouth West town Council Vacancy, and Jeff for Central Teignmouth Town Council Vacancy.

John Fitzsimmons: Standing for Newton Abbot South:

John has voted Labour for many years since the 60’s. He studied Economics at university and worked as a Civil Servant, later as a work/study engineer, did PGCE primary maths, but was offered a business studies teaching role at Exeter College. He then went on to work for many years in TV and Production, including the music business, and finally became head of faculty for Performing Arts, at Plymouth Uni. He has lived in Devon since 1985, in Chudleigh, Totnes, and Exeter. He joined the Labour Party in 2015. He belongs to UCL (Union)

Lesley Robson: Standing for Newton Abbot North: 

Lesley had lived in Bucks, and Greece, with her engineer husband, during the Thatcher years, and came back to find a Britain she didn’t like much because of the Tory actions. She taught maths and supported her husband to become a Labour Councillor, but when he died, she followed his lead and became a City Councillor in Exeter, Deputy Leader of the Labour Group, and eventually 13 years as the Deputy Lord Mayor in Exeter. Since she stood down from that role she has been working with the Priory Community Food Larder, and is involved heavily with the growing numbers needing it.

Bahv Studley: Standing for Exminster and Haldon: Lives in Exminster

Bhav explained that she was a working mum, with a young child. She worked as a clinical psychologist, and was concerned about the rising mental health caused by the pandemic. She had joined the Labour Party in 2015, and belonged to UNISON. She wanted to become more active because of the poor leadership of the Tory Government.

Chris Robbillard: Standing for Kingsteignton and Teign Estuary:

Chris has been 53 years in the Labour Party, worked in social security, as a civil servant, and in many other interesting jobs, ranging from NHS auditor, to computer expert and journalist. He has worked with Fair Trade and the NHS, and was a councillor for 15 years. His main concerns were about the privatisation of the NHS by stealth, and Climate Change. He knows Kingsteignton well and is known, through his work with the Kingsteignton magazine.

John Hodgson: Standing for Ipplepen and the Kerswells:

Having lived in Shaldon in the eighties and now in Teignmouth, John has a long-standing knowledge of the local area. He believes that the aftermath of Covid makes the provision of healthcare especially important, and is concerned at the proposed closure of Teignmouth hospital. He is concerned about local employment post-Covid, and the continuing need for affordable housing for local people. 


While maybe only a footpath to some, the sudden and hugely unpopular removal of a feature of one of Teignmouth’s biggest car parks late last year is yet further sign of the high handed action of local government in Devon.

There is too much complacency and a lack of proper checks and balances in the system. Proper scrutiny and oversight would have stopped the removal of this well used community asset from happening. Without change it will happen again.

Where’s our footpath?

We can all recall situations in our villages, towns, and cities, like the removal of the footpath and guardrail at East Cliff Car Park in Teignmouth. Here, without any apparent warning or need, a community facility is removed or altered. With a huge impact, especially on the most disadvantaged community members. 

No-one at the council is apparently responsible, with blame passed around. Councils rely on short memories and another problem arising.

Councils may plead poverty for their actions or lack of them and to a degree they have a point. However, the same old faces and the same political parties making the decisions leads to a lack of real scrutiny.

Ultimately, the removal of the pedestrian footpath at East Cliff Car Park is due to a lack of proper oversight and scrutiny at council level. This is in good part because, as is often the case in localities, the different levels of councils are run by the same party.

Councils such asTeignbridge and Teignmouth are run by the same political parties at present but without proper oversight and consultation. The East Cliff Car Park footpath has been allowed to be removed as there is no opposition on the councils involved.

This is where Labour’s candidates in Devon can and will make the difference if elected. We won’t be complacent and we will fully scrutinise what is going on.

Devon’s democracy in sum, therefore, needs Labour more than ever.

So come May 6th vote for us and we will supply what the parties running many of Devon’s councils will not or cannot.

Proper scrutiny and accountability. 

And let’s make sure no further footpaths and other beloved features of our beautiful county are lost forever.

Vote Labour 6th May 2021. Vote for Change.

Election on Thursday 6 May 21 : Residents of Shaldon, Ipplepen and the Kerswells

A message from your Labour candidate, John Hodgson

Why vote Labour?

Labour is the only major party that genuinely believes in government by and for the people.  The Tories put their friends first in the pandemic.   Track and Trace was headed by a university chum of Boris Johnson with no medical experience.   Government cronies received millions of pounds to make unsuitable PPE equipment.   The result was the highest death toll in Europe and the fifth highest in the world.

Yet the government hasn’t learned.   The US health corporation Centene is now the largest provider of GP services in England, covering a patient population of over half a million.   The proposal to close Teignmouth Hospital is strongly opposed by most residents, but will the Secretary of State decide in favour of local people?

As we come out of the pandemic, we need government that will put people’s needs first.   I have lived in Devon (except for a period in Bristol) since 1979.  I made a doctoral study of the lives and education of children in a coastal community of north Devon.  I know the importance of good housing, proper jobs and local transport.   As your Councillor, I will work to support you in your concerns and to communicate with you clearly and fully.  I will represent you at council meetings and in direct liaison with local organisations, businesses and interest groups, ensuring that council policy and decisions support the common good.  

Promoted by Roger Jackson on behalf of John Hodgson, both of The Old Cottage, Higher Ringmore Road, Shaldon TQ14 0HG.  Printed by John Hodgson of Flat 10, 1 South View, Teignmouth TQ14 8BJ


This post is from 2014, but the same decision was made this year. Our government should be supporting the extraordinary people who work to keep us healthy and have bravely kept going through the worst year we have ever experienced in the NHS.

We must vote Labour because we need to change this and so much else that is wrong with the present government:

The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

“The United Kingdom has lost an extraordinary public servant in Prince Philip.

“Prince Philip dedicated his life to our country – from a distinguished career in the Royal Navy during the Second World War to his decades of service as the Duke of Edinburgh.

“However, he will be remembered most of all for his extraordinary commitment and devotion to The Queen.

“For more than seven decades, he has been at her side. Their marriage has been a symbol of strength, stability and hope, even as the world around them changed – most recently during the pandemic. It was a partnership that inspired millions in Britain and beyond.

“My thoughts are with The Queen, the Royal Family and the British people as our nation comes together to mourn and remember the life of Prince Philip.”

Keir Starmer
Leader of the Labour Party

Community Larder and Foodbanks

In Teignmouth we have been running a community food larder since July 2020, as a response to the pandemic. We have wonderful volunteers, many of them Labour members, and we serve a changing group of families, individuals and couples. At the moment we are packing about 35 – 40 food parcels each week and delivering them locally.

Foodbanks and larders like ours should not be needed, but they are! Covid has made it worse, and families locally have lost jobs, been made redundant, had hours
cut, and their income reduced. Illness, disabilities and family difficulties can affect ability to

Bills pile up and debt can grow alarmingly fast. The wait for benefits is long, and not many of
us have savings when we get to this point. I believe that the government needs to think again about how it supports people in this position, and change its attitude of considering people as lazy or scrounging first rather than in genuine need. One of our mums explained how ashamed she had felt when trying to explain that she needed food for her family. It wasn’t her fault, as she had lost her job due to Covid seasonal work being closed, and had 3 children to support.

Each of our families have different reasons for needing help. some need it permanently and some only need it because they have hit hard times and fallen into temporary debt. Universal Credit is a disaster, and one of our single dad’s has waited weeks for it to start, using his last savings to survive, despite being disabled, and having two children. He told me how hard it was to pay rent, bills, and buy things for the children’s school needs. The food the larder has provided has been a help, so that he has some money for bills.

That is one of the reasons why I am standing as a Labour Candidate in these elections – I want to see positive change in support for families and individuals, and change starts with small steps, even someone like me getting voted onto the local council.

Jackie Jackson

Devon’s care workers deserve to be ‘recognised and better paid’

30th January, 2021

Labour’s Cllr Marina Asvachin (Wonford and St Loyes), responding to Devon County Council’s (DCC) Cabinet Member for Adult Health and Social Care’s statement Devon’s care workers deserve to be ‘recognised and better paid’ – News centre (, said ” The Labour Group on the Council has been pressing for recognition and better pay for care workers consistently over the last 4 years. Labour has always recognised that care workers in this Country are underpaid, overworked and undervalued. This job is still seen by many as unimportant and even beneath them. The Covid-19 Pandemic has made everyone (even the Tories), sit up and realise, that without the hard work and dedication of these workers, our society would be a much worse place. I’m really pleased that the Conservative cabinet of the council has finally listened.” Cllr Asvachin, a Senior Medical Technologist at the Exeter RD&E, is a member of DCC’s Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee.

About Devon Labour Party:

Councillor Marina Asvachin, Wonford and St Loyes Councillor details – Councillor Marina Asvachin – Democracy in Devon

Fighting for Food Justice from opposition in Devon

8th December, 2020

Councillor Su Aves – Exeter Labour Group

Even before Covid-19 the number of people needing the food bank in Exeter was rising – which as one of the Devon County councillors representing Exeter was of a significant concern. Then Covid-19 hit. With people isolating and others losing income there was a huge need to support them. Locally city and county councillors were doing their best to support the community and charity efforts to provide food to those who needed it. Other councillors and I were doing much to support the community and charities which provided food for those who needed it, but I had a sense that there was not enough strategic planning. What support there was emerged organically, reacting to need – after a bit of asking around I found out that Devon County Council did not have a Food Strategy policy.

At around the same time I became aware of the Co-op Party’s Food Justice campaign. Of course, I knew other councillors that were members, and being someone with co-operative views, I felt it was time I joined them and became a member. I wasn’t at the time expecting my fellow County Councillor Hilary Ackland to ask me at my first Co-op Party meeting what I was planning to do as a councillor to demonstrate my co-operative principles! Thinking quickly on my feet, I explained that I was considering putting the Co-operative Party’s Food Justice Motion to the next Full Council meeting in October.

I researched the topic thoroughly. Hilary kindly guided me to the Co-op Party zoom session on Food justice and encouraged me to contact Cllr Jack Abbott from Suffolk County Council who had taken a motion to council in an authority like ours where the Conservative party are the majority. With advice from Jack and the Co-op Party’s staff I went about tailoring the motion and set about winning over councillors from the ruling Conservative Group. With statistics from council officers to back my case, I persuaded the Leader of the Conservative Council of my good intentions and that the proposal for a lead member and a food partnership was a genuine one and that I did not seek to score political points on this issue – and that I would be happy to accept reasonable amendments or for Cabinet to consider the issue.

Although pleased that the motion was referred to Cabinet in October, I was also a little sceptical that we would see a positive outcome. When the word came back that it would be possible to find common ground at the December Council meeting and agree an amended motion which retained much of what we wanted I was delighted. With over 40 Conservative Councillors and just 7 Labour ones on Devon County Council it is a challenging and at times extremely frustrating political environment. I’m thrilled that we’ve managed to get political agreement and that Devon Council has made a significant step forwards to tackling food insecurity with commitments to a lead member for food insecurity and support a working group to consider a Devon Food Partnership and a food resilience strategy for the County. It was a genuinely co-operative endeavour which I could have only done with support from my fellow co-operators in my own council, Cllr Jack Abbott from Suffolk Labour Group, and from Co-op Party itself.