For the past three months, United Response’s political correspondent has been reporting all the very latest in the build-up to the election, from your street to Downing Street.

He has been out and about, pacing local constituency streets and taking the message of Every Vote Counts to politicians at Westminster, commentators and other organisations keen to lend their support and get involved.

This week, David Allkins has been in the key marginal constituency of St Austell and Newquay. David, who himself is from Quintrell Downs, spoke to all the local candidates about engaging voters with a learning disability and the Every Vote Counts campaign.

Tipping the balance of power

A political dogfight is currently taking place right across the constituency in this Liberal vs Conservative battleground. Stephen Gilbert, who was the area’s MP during the last parliament, is fighting to defend a majority of 1,312 votes from local Conservative candidate Steve Double.

Our political correspondent asked Mr Gilbert if he realised that by engaging with the LD vote, it might make the crucial difference between winning and losing this tightest of races.

The candidates’ responses

Mr Gilbert said: “You’re right. This is an election where every vote will count. But I’ve always believed that every person counts too. And that’s why it’s hugely important to me that we are able, as a party, to reach out to every corner of our community to make sure people are engaged in this election.”

Responding to the same question from David Allkins, Conservative candidate Steve Double said: “Every vote counts equally and therefore every vote is equally important. If we can connect with every member of this constituency, including those with special needs and learning difficulties, then that’s a really important thing to do to make sure that our message is connecting with those people.”

David also spoke to Deborah Hopkins. The Labour candidate was concerned about disabled people not having enough of a voice, and the effect of the last government’s cuts on their welfare.

UKIP candidate David Mathews said that United Response’s Easy News easy read Party Manifesto Special was common sense. Mr Mathews said the accessible, easy read literature was a good way of communicating the party’s message to all of the electorate.

Green Party candidate Steve Slade spoke about how crucial the Every Vote Counts campaign is, and how useful he found United Response’s literature in engaging with voters with learning disabilities.

Voters with learning disabilities could be decisive factor in General Election

Given that the impending General Election is set to be the closest in a generation, voters who have not previously been engaged could have a truly decisive vote in deciding the next government.

David Allkins has sent this outstanding special pre-election report, which examines how voters with learning disabilities, if engaged in an accessible way, could tip the balance of power in key marginal seats.

Watch the full report:


John JC Cooper, campaigns manager.