Horrabridge’s MP, Geoffrey Cox, visited the village this afternoon (Thursday May 25, 2017) and moved on again without many people paying attention.
But he stopped long enough to deal with a few questions and did reasonably well with his small audience.
Mr Cox, who looks likely to be returned as the representative for Torridge and West Devon, stopped at the bridge at 4.15 pm, as part of a tour starting with villages along the Okehampton road. Last call before Horrabridge was Mary Tavy. Next was Bere Alston to address a Christian gathering.
In spite of a mention of his visit on Facebook, he met only three locals. His most awkward customer was Christine Edmondson, of Caradon Court, Horrabridge, who wanted to know why he voted against a bill to enable assisted dying. She is five years into a fight with cancer, although meanwhile still working, with the aid of powerful pain-killers, as a specialist in the microchipping of pets.
She introduced herself, in the sunshine outside the Leaping Salmon, as “a walking death certificate” who wanted the right to finish her life when she had had enough.
Mr Cox said that as a Christian, he had baulked at giving doctors the right to end a life. Mrs Edmondson said many people only wanted to be helped to give themselves a fatal dose. Mr Cox said the bill he voted against would have given doctors the power of final decision, but she had personalised a powerful point and he would think about it.
The Horrabridge Times asked him about being seen as a North Devon MP.
Mr Cox said the size of the constituency was a problem but after 10 years based in Bideford, he had recently moved his office to Paddon’s Row in Tavistock to try to even up his attentions.
He asked after local issues and was told that a Ministry of Defence threat to cut back 42 Commando of the Royal Marines was one.
He said: “I have told the defence secretary that he will lost 200 marines over my dead body. I have voted against my party line before and I will do it again. I am not in Parliament to see the armed forces reduced when they are already cut to the bone.”
He acknowledged some criticism for continuing to work as a QC while acting as MP. He said he could fit it in and it was useful experience.
But he added: “I would give it up tomorrow for a job in government – and if there is any chance of that, I would like to be at Defra, representing the farmers of the constituency.”
He chatted to a passer-by he knew and walked up the road to Honey’s Bakery, in the hope of finding it open. A visit to the London Inn was suggested but Mr Cox said: “There are some things an MP should try to avoid, and interrupting a man with his pint without being asked is one of them.”
He promised to come back to attend a parish council meeting and hear its concerns.
He liked the idea of the Horrabridge Times and offered his support. If anybody has a question they would have liked to put, we can probably fix it. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org