CONSERVATIVE Central Devon candidate Mel Stride is hoping voters will “once again put their trust in me to represent them” as he stands for re-election. 

Elected as the area’s MP in 2010, which includes Crediton, Okehampton and Ashburton, Mr Stride says his 14-year record “speaks for itself”. 

He will defend a majority of 17,721 at the general election on Thursday, July 4. He gathered more than 55 per cent of the vote in 2019. 

Mr Stride has denounced Labour, potentially his biggest rival in the constituency, as having “no plan”, saying they would “wreck our economic stability”. 

The Labour Party came second in Central Devon – albeit far behind the Tories – in the 2019 and 2017 elections. 

In its latest poll, YouGov has predicted Labour will come much closer to winning Central Devon this year. 

The pollster forecasts the Tories will only just cling on to power with 33 per cent of the vote, while Labour would take home 30 per cent. 

Mel Stride, who has also been Work and Pensions Secretary in Rishi Sunak’s government, told the Courier: “I was elected as the Member of Parliament for the newly created constituency of Central Devon in 2010 and since then I have worked tirelessly to support constituents, whether this is through casework, lobbying for local funding, or raising issues in Parliament. 

“On July 4, voters in Central Devon will have an important choice; a clear plan to build a more secure future with the Conservatives, or Labour, who have no plan, would wreck our economic stability, and take us back to square one. 

“My record speaks for itself, and I hope voters will once again put their trust in me to represent them, as I have done for the past 14 years.” 

The other candidates for the Central Devon seat are Ollie Pearson for Labour, Mark Wooding for the Liberal Democrats, Gill Westcott for the Green Party and Jeffrey Leeks for Reform UK.

The constituency’s boundaries have been slightly rejigged for the upcoming election, with small patches of land lost to the east and west and a thin slice gained to the south.