Culture war footballs and NHS waiting lists. Voters in key Nottinghamshire constituency speak out

In two weeks, give or take a few days, the UK will wake up to a newly elected government. In amongst all the talk from politicians of all persuasions, we've been hitting the road to speak to people about the issues that matter most to them.

It's all part of our 5,000 Voices project which we're running with our colleagues from other UK publications like the Manchester Evening News and Birmingham Live. This week, we visited Beeston, in the constituency of Broxtowe, last won by the Conservatives in 2019.

People in Beeston were most concerned about the NHS, migration and the environment. One of the first people we bumped into was the leader of Broxtowe Borough Council, Councillor Milan Radulovic MBE, who was sitting in The Square.

The Labour councillor said the state of the NHS, cost of living, and housing were key issues facing people at this election. He said: “The NHS is the most fundamental human right to us all, and it’s being denied to so many people by huge waiting lists.”

Ady Cox, 31, believes the environmental crisis needs to be taken more seriously, describing it as a key priority for him when deciding how to vote. He said: “I think the environment is the most important thing to me, because I don’t understand why politicians don’t take it more seriously. I really don’t like when politicians use it as a culture war football.”

Anthony Bernard, 61, said migration was essential. However, he argues that it must be controlled. “There’s no two ways about it," he said. "It’s impacting on our major services, and the resources that we have got, or limited resources that we have got.”

With the National Health Service being frequently mentioned by parties on the campaign trail, we also asked people how important the NHS is to them at this election.

All voters we spoke to considered the NHS a top priority at this election. Many said they wanted long waiting lists to be addressed.

Sheila Penselay, 64, said the NHS is critical but was unsure if it's being funded properly. Describing her own personal experience, she said: “I think it’s being outsourced a bit, which I’m experiencing… my eye stuff is outsourced. My mother has been told she has to go to Arnold for something… when we’ve got two hospitals closer.”

We then asked voters for their thoughts on the two men who could be our next Prime Minister. Volunteer worker Sharon Cargill, 54, described Rishi Sunak as “fairly efficient” but added: “He doesn’t seem in touch with real people’s lives.”

Mark Gregory, 63, did not mince his words when asked to describe Mr Sunak. He said: “Being cynical, the guy is a public school oaf who has drifted into politics. I don’t think he’s effective at all.”

Anthony Bernard, 61, admits he doesn’t hold the Prime Minister in high regard, although he maintains some sympathy for him. He said: “He’s doing a difficult job. It’s in a mess… not a good record although it’s been a challenging time in terms of major events.”

On the Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, there seemed to be a similar amount of criticism. Many feel he is not the right fit for the Labour Party.

Sharon Cargill said: “He’s remote, and I’m not really sure what he stands for.” Anthony Bernard agreed with the sentiment.

“I like a politician to be, you know what the politician is saying," he said. "Now with Keir Starmer, there is a lot of flip-flopping. He’s got a history of that.”

Ady Cox said Keir Starmer is a better option than Rishi Sunak. He said: “I like that he seems to take things quite seriously, and he doesn’t play into the culture war politics in the way the Conservatives seem to.”

The General Election takes place on Thursday (July 4), with polling stations open from 7am-10pm.

The candidates standing for election are:

Labour

Juliet Campbell

Liberal Democrats

James Collis

Independent

Dr John Doddy

Conservative

Darren Henry

Green

Teresa Needham

Reform UK

Joseph Oakley

Workers Party of Britain

Maqsood Syed

More information about the candidates standing in Broxtowe can be found: here .