‘Despite a drubbing’ North Devon’s UKIP candidate is upbeat about his party’s future and what it stands for in this election

UKIP supporters are quite cheerful despite losing so heavily in recent Devon county elections says the party’s North Devon general election candidate.

Steve Crowther, a former national party chairman and still a member of its national executive, is standing once again for UKIP in the constituency.

The 60-year-old from Heanton Punchardon says although the news of a snap general election surprised many, he wasn’t unduly shocked as Theresa May’s party would ‘never have forgiven her’ if she’d thrown away such a potential political advantage.

The Gazette caught up with Mr Crowther for a chat and you can watch the full video of his interview here, the first in a series of interviews with each candidate standing for North Devon and for Torridge on June 8.

Mr Crowther, who was born in North Devon but ran an advertising agency in London before moving back home, said UKIP was standing as it always did in constituencies across the country, though it would not be opposing seats in margins where there was ‘danger of a remainer getting in’.

He said: “Since both Peter Heaton-Jones and Nick Harvey are remainers I think it’s fairly important there is somebody standing in this election who is committed to Brexit and always has been.”

But the recent county council elections that saw UKIP lose councillor seats across the country is not an issue.

He said: “It may seem odd but we are quite cheerful about the fact that we got a drubbing in the county council elections nationwide – and the reason is because it’s a consequence of our success.

“Labour is getting pasted because it’s useless, the Lib Dems are still in the doldrums and we are losing our votes at the moment because our supporters want to see through the success we gained last year in the referendum – so some of them are lending their votes to the Conservatives.”

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