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 nationmaster.com.
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.
back to top of section
back to home page