Sidmouth's Councillor Stuart Hughes - and some local history.

A posting on the mudcat website on 1 November 2004 advised to use Google to search for details on Stuart Hughes: this is one of many items that may be found. It is taken from

Stuart Hughes's electoral successes

Unsurprisingly, the first Raving Loony to win as a result of a straight vote (as opposed to being elected unopposed) was Stuart Hughes, taking the "safe" Conservative seat of Sidmouth Woolbrook on East Devon District Council (he then took a seat on the Sidmouth Town Council from the Conservatives the following day) in May 1991. His election was met with fury and quite disproportionate hostility from the local Tories. Hughes's reaction was to make their lives an absolute misery for the next three years (this included refusing to pay his Poll Tax and then dumping a load of scrap metal in the middle of the council chambers to the value of his unpaid "Community Charge"), and forming an alliance known as "The Coastals" (because of the seats they held) of Independents and the sole Green Party councillor that gave East Devon's ruling Conservatives the first true opposition they had faced for decades (the local Liberal Democrat and Labour Parties being negligible).

Hughes retained his seats with increased majorities in subsequent elections, and the final humiliation for the Conservatives came when he took the Devon County Council seat from the local party's Chief Whip in the council. Hughes remains a member of all three councils to this day although he now does his politicking as a Conservative.

Stuart has said this is not entirely accurate! Times have moved on. Stuart is now a 'true blue' but there are still many in the Party who would like to clip his wings. Better still, they would like him to bite off more than he could chew, and fall flat on his face. However, he retains the distinction of being one of the few local Conservatives who have ever first been elected as an independent on their own merit - or as a raving lunatic. He subsequently joined the Party in 1997 so that he could begin to wield real power. The more usual route to power in East Devon is to join the Party first, preferably by transferring allegiance from another Party. This almost guarantees electoral success and power (as well as an expenses package), even for the least able candidates.   

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