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Election 2024? The Candidates Perspectives

The 2024 online hustings

We’ve arranged our second Totnes Pulse online hustings for the South Devon Constituency (Formally Totnes).

How this works

You can ask questions in the comments column below and we will forward a precis of questions asked (to avoid repetitions or confusion) to each candidate.

It is very clear that all the Parliamentary Candidates are working extremely hard right now and we can hope they find the time to come back to your questions altough some have given very fullsome answers.

We will then publish the question put and their responses in the interactive chart below these candidate statements.

The Rules

This isn’t Facebook or TXitter! Please be considerate and consider your question before entering it. Can it reasonably be answered without recourse to an essay for example.

Abusive comments will not be published.

The Prospective Parliamentary Candidates

Michael Bagley - Reform Party
Michael Bagley – Reform Party

Michael Bagley – The Reform Party

Reform Party LogoMichael has chosen not to participate in this process

 

 

 

 


Robert Bagnall – The Green PartyGreen Party Logo

Robert Bagnall - Green Party
Robert Bagnall – Green Party

The son of a World War II RAF veteran and an NHS nursing auxiliary, I’ve spent my career working with the public sector, and animal and conservation charities. My family moved to Devon a decade ago for its beauty and quality of life.

I am shocked and saddened by what has happened to our country and region in that time. Lack of investment in every aspect of public services has left our roads potholed, our rivers unsafe, and the jewel in the crown, the NHS, in the ICU. Our failure to address the climate emergency is a failure to the younger generation and the future of this planet. Disregard for nature has made us one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world.

We are a rich nation which can afford to protect the environment, invest in public services, and eradicate poverty, but for too long we have made political choices which make the rich richer and the poor poorer. That deepening wealth inequality affects almost every aspect of life—and in South Devon we have some of the poorest parts of one of our nation’s poorest regions. Poverty is a political choice, and it’s not one I’m prepared to make—which is why I am standing as your Green candidate.

 


Conservative PartyAnthony Mangnall – The Conservative Party

Anthony Mangnall - The Conservative Party
Anthony Mangnall – Conservative

I am delighted to be standing as the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for South Devon, having served as the Member of Parliament for Totnes between 2019 and May 2024. While the past four years have been incredibly hard work and we have faced some tough times, I have been proud to be from such a caring, compassionate and community spirited part of the country.
My aim is to help change things at a local and national level, and I have a proven track record of delivering on my commitments. In my time serving the people of South Devon, my team and I have worked on over 29,000 cases for residents, attracted millions of pounds of investment into local public sector organisations, passed laws to protect our local environment, amended legislation to support Devon’s farmers and fishermen, delivered two banking hubs, supported community groups to access funding, and much more.
However, my work is not done. I want to continue to deliver for South Devon. I have always believed that putting people before politics, and listening locally so I can deliver nationally, is the best way to be a good local Member of Parliament. 

 

 


Daniel Steel - Labour Party
Daniel Steel – The Labour Party

Daniel Steel – The Labour PartyLabour Party Logo

It is truly a privilege to be selected to stand as the first ever Labour candidate for the new seat of South Devon.
After 14 years of the Tories, people are crying out for change across the country, including in South Devon. Labour is the only party with a plan to deliver it.
My entire career has been dedicated to the service of others. This is rooted in the values I was taught growing up in a service family. My career has taken me around the world, but I feel lucky to call Devon, my home.
I was a diplomat at the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office until April 2024. I’m proud to have represented the UK and its interests overseas in Afghanistan, Egypt and at the United Nations. I will show the same honesty, integrity and determination if the people of South Devon elect me as your next Member of Parliament.
It is time for change. We can all feel it. I am looking forward to being part of that change with you all!

 


Liberal Democrats LogoCaroline Voaden – The Liberal Democrats

Caroline Voaden - The Liberal Democrats
Caroline Voaden – Liberal Democrats

Hello, I’m Caroline and a resident of Totnes for 15 years. I’m the former CEO of Devon Rape Crisis and served as a Member of the European Parliament from 2019-2020, where I led the Liberal Democrat delegation.
My early career was spent working as a Reuters journalist, primarily in the Balkans during and after the Yugoslav war, and then as a freelance editor. I lived in six European countries and speak several languages – I worked in both English and French in the European Parliament.

I got actively involved in politics on June 24th, 2016, the day after the Brexit referendum. I clearly remember the shock our town felt that day. One of the reasons I am standing for election now is because I still believe Brexit was a huge mistake, and we need voices in parliament who are brave enough to say so.

I’m very proud to have won the South Devon Primary in March with 78% of the vote, and am humbled at the active support being given to my campaign by Labour and Green voters, as well as Lib Dem colleagues. I am a progressive politician, I passionately support PR, and I believe that there really is far more that unites us than divides us.

 

 


The questions and the answers

last modified 22:00am 13th July 2024

Women and Trans groups

What is your position on protecting the right of women to organise, meet and compete in female-only groups, in view of the conflict with the trans activist position that men are entitled to join such groups by either identifying or transitioning?

 

Robert Bagnall - Green

 

Anthony Mangnall - Conservative

Single sex spaces and female only competition must be protected. While I support the right of any individual to live their life as they wish, I do not believe this means that they can override the rights of women or fair competition.

The Conservative Party has made it perfectly clear that it will protect the rights of women and fair competition which means protecting single-sex spaces and ensuring that fair competition takes place.

 

Daniel Steel - Labour

There is an epidemic of violence against women and girls. I take my safety for granted as a man but I understand why single sex spaces (e.g. toilets) are important for many women to feel safe. I’m proud Labour has a plan to halve the levels of violence against women and girls within a decade. But let’s be clear, this issue is most definitely not the fault of transwomen and men. They are very often victims of violence themselves.
The vast majority of women are born biologically female, women like my mum and my sister. A miniscule number of women are not born biologically female feeling their gender doesn’t match their body. These transwomen deserve kindness and respect like any other women.

 

Caroline Voaden - Liberal Democrat

I firmly support the rights of both transwomen and transmen to be able to live their lives with respect, free from discrimination and judgment.
I think all politicians have a duty to behave responsibly, to dial down the rhetoric and hate speech, and to find a kinder, calmer, more mature way of dealing with what are complicated issues. Stoking a culture war on this issue helps no one.
My role as CEO of Devon Rape Crisis & Sexual Abuse Services (DRCSAS) has given me a very specific view on some of the issues involved in this debate, and the Rape Crisis movement included a wide range of opinions on how best to manage women-only spaces.
As far as the risks around access to women-only spaces goes, the evidence shows, and I agree, that transwomen do not pose a risk. The risk is from men, and we know that predatory men will do anything to cause harm to women and girls.
I believe everyone has the right to access a service like rape crisis, and provision must be protected and expanded. There are women who have experienced a lifetime of abuse and violence at the hands of men, and I believe it is important they can access services where they feel safe.
For the majority of women using DRCSAS – and we surveyed them every year to keep us informed - this meant a space where only CIS women were present. That was what the vast majority of our service users wanted and expected from us. For many it was the reason they came to our service.
So in the case of services like Rape Crisis I would always support a service offer that includes everyone, but where group work is clearly defined – so there should be support groups available for anyone who identifies as a woman, and other groups for CIS women only. That way everyone can access a service that feels right for them and no-one is excluded from support.
As far as sport is concerned, I would not profess to have any expertise. I believe sporting bodies rather than politicians should decide on who competes in elite sports, and that decision, which is going to be a balance between inclusion and sporting fairness, needs to be based on evidence.
Elderly social care funding views and plans for improvement

What are your views on the current social care funding structure for the elderly and does your party have any plans to change this?

Robert Bagnall - Green Party

 

Anthony Mangnall - Conservative Party

Over the past four and a half years, I have spent a significant amount of time working on social care, especially through my Social Care round table working group. Bringing together local care groups with the NHS, Government officials and independent funding groups I have focused on how we can support those most in need.
Locally, my work has helped to share resources, learn from different organisations and use the NHS’s network to ensure that no vulnerable person is left behind or without care.

These successes locally have made me all the more aware that over the coming years more will be needed for social care. But it is welcome to see what steps the Government has taken through:
Ringfencing and increasing the Social Gare Grant for adults and children
To providing more money for providers and support workers through the Adult Social Care Market Sustainability and Improvement Fund
Increasing funding for the social care work force and to help improve retention within the sector
To improving the Additional Social Care Grant and increasing the budget to £5bn

My party has provided up to £7.5 billion in new support for adult social care over 2023/24 and 2024/25 to address issues like workforce pressures and waiting lists all of which will benefit us at a local and national level.

If re-elected I will continue to support the local social care groups and ensure that they not only have the resources they need but a strong voice in Westminster that champions local and national initiatives that can support young and old alike.

 

Daniel Steel - Labour Party

Trying to access social care support for my elderly grandma was one of the major reasons I first became involved in politics. While the people I dealt with in the local council were kind, it was a maze to navigate with excessive paperwork and extremely long waiting times to receive any help. I worried about all the people who don’t have family or friends who are able to advocate on their behalf. I want to ensure that everyone is able to live an independent, prosperous, and dignified life.
Labour will undertake a programme of reform to create a National Care Service underpinned by a principle of ‘home first’ so people can live independently for as long as possible. Alongside these changes, we will build consensus for the longer term reform needed to create a sustainable National Care Service. We will explore how we best manage and support an ageing population; how integration with the NHS can be secured; how to best support working age disabled adults; and how to move to a more preventative system

 

Caroline Voaden - Liberal Democratic Party

Awaiting Response

 

Will you reform the 'First Past The Post' system

The First Past The Post (FPTP) system is unrepresentative.
Will you reform it?

 

Robert Bagnall - Green Party

Anthony Mangnall - Conservative Party

No. I do not agree it is unrepresentative nor would I reform it.

 

Daniel Steel - Labour Party

While Labour’s manifesto doesn’t propose changing the First past The Post voting system, we are proposing the biggest overhaul of the electoral system in a generation. We will give 16- and 17-year olds the right to vote in all elections, modernise the House of Commons, introduce immediate reforms to the House of Lords by removing the right of hereditary peers to sit and vote in the House of Lords, and consult on replacing the House of Lords with an alternative second chamber. I fully support these ambitious reforms which will make our electoral system more representative and fairer for all.

 

Caroline Voaden - Liberal Democratic Party

Awaiting Response

 

 

Wealth inequality in the UK

What is your position and plans on rising wealth inequality in the UK and approaches to tackling it

Robert Bagnall - Green Party

 

Anthony Mangnall - Conservative Party

To address inequality in the UK we need to ensure that we have vibrant and successful economy. To do so we must empower every individual across this country at every level with equality of opportunity.

This can be achieved by continuing the work to improve our schools and colleges, with over 83% of them rated either “good” or “outstanding” to providing more opportunities to young people by expanding further education colleges and apprenticeship schemes.

Beyond education we need to do better around housing. Building the right size houses, in the right style and in the right place at affordable rates will be essential to closing the inequality gap. My work to reform the second homes market is already helping to raise more money that can be used for local community housing projects and ensuring that those who live and work in South Devon at any age can afford local housing.

South Devon may not be viewed as anything other than a tourist and hospitality power house but it has so much more. The established sectors such as farming and fishing coupled with new high-tech businesses and pharmaceutical manufacturing means that we have a wide variety of businesses and sectors with the jobs to go with it. Ensuring we attract more investment to the South West and to South Devon, will help to mean that we have the jobs and pay to help close the gap.

Finally, taxing less and ensuring that works really pays is the only way to ensuring that the gap is closed. I have long called for lower taxes for those in work and I will continue to speak up for the fact that the best way to close the gap is for Government to step out of the way and for residents to be taxed less and to have more responsibility and opportunities in their hands.

 

Daniel Steel - Labour Party

We have seen an unprecedented fall in living standards following the disastrous ‘mini-budget’. The Conservative’s economic record over the past 14 years has seen productivity and wages flatlining, leaving British families significantly poorer than those in neighbouring countries like France or Germany.
The only route to improving living standards for working people and reducing wealthy inequality is sustained economic growth. Labour will form a mission driven government with this as our first mission. We will be pro-business and pro-worker as the party of wealth creation.
We will tackle inequality root and stem. We will build 1.5 million homes with ‘first dibs’ for local people. We will end exploitative ‘zero hour contracts’, scrap discriminatory age bands on the minimum delivering a pay rise to hundreds of thousands of workers across the country. We will reform education to deliver high-quality apprenticeships and specialist technical colleges. We will reduce your bills by switching on Great British Energy, a publicly owned clean energy company. We will make transformative investments across every part of the country by setting up a National Wealth Fund capitalised with £7.3 billion over the next Parliament.
If Labour forms the next government these just some of the policies we will deliver to transform the lives of people across the country

 

Caroline Voaden - Liberal Democratic Party

Awaiting Response

Support for the Hospitality Industry

How would your party support the hospitality sector in the South West which has been hit by COVID and bounce back loan payments , cost of living crisis and huge increases in utilities and insurance? We are also struggling to get staff due to lack of affordable housing. The post COVID tourism boom seems to be over too now. It’s hard to make ends meet every month let alone make a living.

 

Robert Bagnall - Green Party

 

Anthony Mangnall - Conservative Party

My party has stood firmly with the tourism and hospitality sector over the past four years. From introducing the temporary 15% reduction in VAT on tourism and hospitality as a result of my campaign during the pandemic, to providing grants and loans to help businesses build back in the wake of the pandemic.

However, what has been introduce so far must be the start point not the end point. Reducing VAT on tourism and hospitality on a permanent basis can be achieved over a set period of years that gives confidence to businesses and certainty when planning for the future.

Working with local businesses through my tourism and hospitality group I have championed this sector for the past four and a half years and I will continue to do so. By increasing the measures on second homes we can help provide more primary ownership property for those living and working in the area. Through the Energy Bill Relief Scheme and now the Energy Bills Discount Scheme and Business Rate Relief and Capital Allowance schemes we have provided a huge amount of meaningful support across the country that has saved, sustained and allowed businesses to build back from the pandemic.

However, while schemes of support are of significant use the focus must be on reducing the tax burden via VAT reductions.

If re-elected I will continue to promote and champion our vibrant tourism and hospitality sectors and to support those working in these areas through addressing our housing needs, shortening supply chains, encouraging localism and promoting South Devon.

 

Daniel Steel - Labour Party

We are lucky to live in a truly beautiful part of the country. It’s why we’re rightly recognised as a tourist destination of choice and why our hospitality sector is so vital. In South Devon hospitality employs 7466 people, generating £399.6 million for the local economy with 2618 venues.
We will support the hospitality sector by switching on GB Energy which will lower energy bills for companies and individuals alike. Labour will replace the current business rates system with a reformed system that levels the playing field between ‘bricks and mortar’ businesses and online giants.
Water companies like South West Water are putting our countryside, our tourism industry, and health at risk by dumping raw sewage in our rivers and sea. Labour will crack down on these failing water companies by giving regulators the power to block the bonuses of executives who pollute our waterways and bring criminal charges against persistent law breakers. I will back these changes to the hilt to clean up our water.

 

Caroline Voaden - Liberal Democratic Party

Awaiting Response

How will you ensure appropriate and adequate funding for early years education?

How will you ensure appropriate and adequate funding for early years education?

 

Robert Bagnall - Green Party

Awaiting Response

Anthony Mangnall - Conservative Party

Awaiting Response

Daniel Steel - Labour Party

High-quality early education and childcare is a crucial opportunity to transform life chances. Too often it is unavailable, or unaffordable. As an initial step, Labour will open an additional 3,000 nurseries through upgrading space in primary schools, to deliver the extension of government funded hours families are entitled to. Labour will end the VAT exemption and business rates relief for private schools. This will generate £1.5 billion to invest in education to invest in our state schools and early years education.

Caroline Voaden - Liberal Democratic Party

Awaiting Response

Robert Bagnall - Green Party

Awaiting Response

 

Anthony Mangnall - Conservative Party

Awaiting Response

 

Daniel Steel - Labour Party

Awaiting Response

 

Caroline Voaden - Liberal Democratic Party

Awaiting Response

 

 

 

Over to you.

Please ask your questions for the online hustings in the comments section below.

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22 Comments
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Helen Seaman
Helen Seaman
6 days ago

How will you ensure appropriate and adequate funding for early years education?

Peter Shearn
Admin
3 days ago
Reply to  Helen Seaman

We apologise but the Online Hustings process has been cancelled – article here

Peter Shearn
Admin
6 hours ago
Reply to  Helen Seaman

I know this sounds mad, but all the candidates have now sent in replies to a lot of questions so happily the Hustings is back on and worth re-visiting for the answers!

L Pilkington
L Pilkington
7 days ago

Thank you for participating in this discussion- I would like to ask you for your views on the current social care funding structure for the elderly and does your party have any plans to change this?

Peter Shearn
Admin
3 days ago
Reply to  L Pilkington

We apologise but the Online Hustings process has been cancelled – article here

Peter Shearn
Admin
6 hours ago
Reply to  L Pilkington

I know this sounds mad, but all the candidates have now sent in replies to a lot of questions so happily the Hustings is back on and worth re-visiting for the answers!

J Jarvis
J Jarvis
7 days ago

What is your position and plans on rising wealth inequality in the UK and approaches to tackling it

Peter Shearn
Admin
3 days ago
Reply to  J Jarvis

We apologise but the Online Hustings process has been cancelled – article here

Peter Shearn
Admin
6 hours ago
Reply to  J Jarvis

I know this sounds mad, but all the candidates have now sent in replies to a lot of questions so happily the Hustings is back on and worth re-visiting for the answers!

Mark El-Kadhi
Mark El-Kadhi
7 days ago

The FPTP first past the post system is blatantly unrepresentative and gives majority rule to a party (mostly Tory) despite a minority wanting that party in power.
Will you reform it?
Fyi: https://makevotesmatter.org.uk/first-past-the-post/

Peter Shearn
Admin
3 days ago
Reply to  Mark El-Kadhi

We apologise but the Online Hustings process has been cancelled – article here

Peter Shearn
Admin
6 hours ago
Reply to  Mark El-Kadhi

I know this sounds mad, but all the candidates have now sent in replies to a lot of questions so happily the Hustings is back on and worth re-visiting for the answers!

John Cummings
John Cummings
7 days ago

Totnes / South Devon constituency, like dozens around the country, has not changed Party hands in a century or more. No Party since 1935 has won as much as 50% of votes – so every general election has resulted in the majority being governed by a Party they did not vote for. Clearly, our current voting system does not enable all voters to share in removing from government a Party they dislike. So, if elected, will you campaign vigorously for some system of proportional representation for Westminster elections, so that every vote counts equally, wherever it is cast, and has an impact on the outcome in the Commons?

Peter Shearn
Admin
3 days ago
Reply to  John Cummings

We apologise but the Online Hustings process has been cancelled – article here

Peter Shearn
Admin
6 hours ago
Reply to  John Cummings

I know this sounds mad, but all the candidates have now sent in replies to a lot of questions so happily the Hustings is back on and worth re-visiting for the answers!

Sarah Kidd
Sarah Kidd
8 days ago

How would your party support the hospitality sector in the South West which has been hit by COVID and bounce back loan payments , cost of living crisis and huge increases in utilities and insurance? We are also struggling to get staff due to lack of affordable housing. The post COVID tourism boom seems to be over too now. It’s hard to make ends meet every month let alone make a living.

Peter Shearn
Admin
3 days ago
Reply to  Sarah Kidd

We apologise but the Online Hustings process has been cancelled – article here

Peter Shearn
Admin
6 hours ago
Reply to  Sarah Kidd

I know this sounds mad, but all the candidates have now sent in replies to a lot of questions so happily the Hustings is back on and worth re-visiting for the answers!

H Choo
H Choo
8 days ago

What is your position on protecting the right of women to organise, meet and compete in female-only groups, in view of the conflict with the trans activist position that men are entitled to join such groups by either identifying or transitioning?

L. M.
L. M.
3 days ago
Reply to  H Choo

Trans women are women. You could have asked this without misgendering.

Peter Shearn
Admin
3 days ago
Reply to  H Choo

We apologise but the Online Hustings process has been cancelled – article here

Peter Shearn
Admin
6 hours ago
Reply to  Peter Shearn

I know this sounds mad, but all the candidates have now sent in replies to a lot of questions so happily the Hustings is back on and worth re-visiting for the answers!

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