‘Who is gonna take over, and are they going to be any better?’

Mr Malcom Hepworth and Michelle Aldred - Charlotte Graham for The Telegraph
Mr Malcom Hepworth and Michelle Aldred – Charlotte Graham for The Telegraph

It was by a majority of 24,239 that the Tories won the seat of Tiverton and Honiton in 2019.

After the resignation of local MP Neil Parish, a by-election looms. But this predominantly rural Devonian constituency, putatively a safe seat, no longer seems so reliably Tory. Boris Johnson has survived a vote of no confidence, but locals have expressed their disappointment in his refusal to join Mr Parish in stepping down.

“He had the grit to get through the Covid-19 crisis, and then the chump had to be gone and caught partying,” said Charles Sleigh, a dandyish 67-year-old retiree who was formerly a consultant for restoring period furniture.

Mr Sleigh is a loyal Tory and praised Mr Johnson’s record. Asked whether the Prime Minister should have resigned over partygate, Mr Sleigh said: “Ethically, yes. But who the hell else is waiting in the wings?”

Chris Coopey, a retired lawyer, said of Mr Johnson: “He should resign, now that so many MPs have declared no confidence. But he won’t.”

Mr Coopey has voted Tory before, but will be voting for the Liberal Democrats on June 23. He said of the Tories: “You can’t put your confidence in a party that doesn’t do the right thing.”

Barry and Bridgette Sowerby - Charlotte Graham for The Telegraph
Barry and Bridgette Sowerby – Charlotte Graham for The Telegraph

Other voters, collared by The Telegraph while out and about in Tiverton on Tuesday afternoon, were similarly forthright. The problem with Mr Johnson, said Jason Gale, a 40-year-old auditor, is “the constant lies and distractions”.

He said that Mr Parish, a long-serving MP who admitted to viewing pornography in the House of Commons, was a scapegoat and that he would still vote for him if he could.

Mr Johnson and his party retain support. Nicholas Holdsworth, 57, remarked of Mr Johnson: “He’s bloody good, isn’t he? He’s eccentric, but there’s no-one else, and that’s about it, really. Let’s just crack on.”

Derek Brown, 63, added: “I don’t think the Conservatives are fantastic, but they’re the best we’ve got at the moment. A lot of working blokes I know, who you’d think would be Labour, want them [the MPs] to stick with Boris and get on with it.”

Harry Rayner - Charlotte Graham for The Telegraph
Harry Rayner – Charlotte Graham for The Telegraph

Sarah Tanner, a 26-year-old healthcare worker, is a Labour voter who has become increasingly dispirited by the Tories. “Partly it was Neil Parish, partly because it seems like everything is a bit of a laugh,” she explained, citing partygate.

Mrs Tanner pointed out that “when Theresa May had her confidence vote, it was a better result than Boris’s and she left soon after”.

Tiverton and Honiton goes to the polls on the same day as Wakefield, the constituency in Yorkshire and the Humber that has been vacated by Imran Ahmad Khan. He was found guilty of sexually assaulting a boy, and polling has suggested the Tories are heading for a bruising defeat in a constituency they snatched from Labour in 2019.

The inhabitants of this Red Wall constituency had some stern words about Mr Johnson. Barry Sowerby, an 81-year-old former builder, said that his fellow locals have “had enough of him. I think he’ll be out this next month, hopefully, because there’s more to come [on the parties]. He’s an absolute buffoon. He just looks after himself and his friends”.

Mr Sowerby was speaking outside a boutique where his wife, Bridgette, was trying on a dress. She said of Mr Johnson: “I think he’s disgraceful, I think he tells a lot of lies. I think he’s just in the game for power.

“I don’t think he’s any inkling about working-class people, how they live or anything. I think with gas, electric, food and everything going up, it’s shocking.”

Margaret Walker with her daughter Linda Fisher - Charlotte Graham for The Telegraph
Margaret Walker with her daughter Linda Fisher – Charlotte Graham for The Telegraph

Malcolm Hepworth, a 74-year-old who was formerly a pet shop owner and market stall holder, voted Tory in 2019 in order to keep Jeremy Corbyn out of power. He is undecided whether his vote will remain Conservative.

Of partygate, he said: “Well, I think it is a big deal. [Boris] has lied, hasn’t he? Labour’s on about Johnson, but they could be fined too for the curry and the beers. I think it needs a line drawing under it and moving on. There’s more things in life, bigger things. Petrol, diesel, cost of living, war in Ukraine, you know.”

Harry Rayner, 78, is a retired timber-frame raiser. Of the Prime Minister, he said: “He were only human, he might have talked some lies, but he were only human. As long as he keeps peace. The main concern is not to get involved in another world war.”

Many voters said they had had enough of Mr Johnson, but there was no consensus on who ought to succeed him.

Linda Fisher, 71, was sitting outside Wakefield Cathedral with her mother, Margaret, when asked for her opinion on whether Mr Johnson should resign.

“I don’t know,” she said. “Because who is gonna take over, and are they going to be any better?”

Published by anthonyhayble

I AM A PROFESSIONAL BLOGGER WHO BLOGS ON EVENTS, NEWS AND CELEBRITY ACTIVITIES. YOU WILL GET THE LATEST BLOGGING UPDATES WITH UP TO DATE NEWS AND EVENTS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU. COMMENTS AND LIKES ARE ALSO WELCOMED. I AM STILL IN THE PROCESS OF BUILDING AND UPDATING MY BLOGS AND IT WOULD BE UP AND RUNNING SHORTLY. THIS IS STILL A NEW SITE AND WILL GREATLY IMPROVE WITH TIME

%d bloggers like this: