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East Devon Parliamentary Constituency

Geographic and social profile

East Devon is a mixed rural and urban constituency, lying to the east and south-east of Exeter. It covers the south-eastern corner of Exeter and takes in the two City Council wards of Topsham and St Loye's. The large seaside town of Exmouth is the constituency's major population centre, though the division also includes the smaller seaside towns of Sidmouth and Budleigh Salterton, the market town of Ottery St Mary, and many villages, some substantial ( such as Clyst St Mary and Broadclyst). It also takes in the expanding new town of Cranbrook, still not entirely welcome in its surrounding rural environment.

The constituency boundary is the English Channel from Sidmouth to Exmouth, the eastern bank of the Exe Estuary up to Exeter, St Loye's, then via Broadclyst and Ottery St Mary before turning south to Sidmouth. It is located mainly in East Devon District Council area (with the HQ currently located at Sidmouth, but considering a move perhaps outside the constituency). Much of the area has protected status, the Jurassic Coast World Heritage site (UNESCO), and the area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (ONB) covering most of rural East Devon, plus Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), recognising the great wildlife habitat on the Exe Estuary and the rare pebblebed heath environment of Woodbury and Aylesbeare Commons.

Economically the area contains a high proportion of retired people. At the same time, many commute to the boom-city of Exeter. There will be new opportunities for employment in the area around Cranbrook, with the development of Skypark and the new Science Park, both of which enjoy close proximity to the Exeter Regional Airport and excellent links to the local and national transport infrastructure. The picturesque Avocet Line connects Exmouth, Topsham and other villages to the national rail network at Exeter.

Tourism, agriculture and fishing have been traditional occupations, though all face various challenges. Main employers in the area are the District and County Councils and two large charitable trusts, namely the National Trust (the Killerton Estate by Broadclyst and A la Ronde, at Exmouth) and Clinton-Devon Estates (areas around Budleigh Salterton and Sidmouth).

Political and electoral profile

The constituency, first fought under its present name in 1997, is currently represented by Hugo Swire who first fought and won the seat in 2001. The result in the 2010 election is shown below:

East Devon Constituency





+ or - %


Hugo Swire




Liberal Democrat

Paull Robathan





Gareth Manson





Mike Amor





Sharon Pavey












-1.0 Tory to Lib-Dem

In general, there has been a consistent increase in the Liberal Democrat (LD) share of the vote at recent elections, and a decline in the Labour vote from 17.7% in 1997 to 10.8% in 2010. The Conservative vote was down to 43% in 1997 but has returned to around 47-48% subsequently. The Liberal Democrats remain the main challenger to the Conservatives in the constituency.

The electoral Wards that comprise the constituency are:

From the East Devon District;

Broadclyst, Budleigh, Clyst Valley, the Exmouth wards of Brixington, Halsdon, Littleham, Town and Withycombe Raleigh, Newton Poppleford and Harpford, Ottery St Mary Town, Ottery St Mary Rural, Raleigh, Sidmouth Rural, Sidmouth Sidford, Sidmouth Town, Whimple and Talaton; and Woodbury Lympstone;

From the City of Exeter;

St Loye's and Topsham