'I don't think either of us will be voting... I don't think our opinion counts'

In 2019, a Labour MP took Worsley and Eccles with a majority of just over 3,000 votes, so it could justifiably by called a marginal seat. Although the current incumbent, Barbara Keeley, has announced she will not be contesting the July 4 General Election, you’d be hard-pressed to find even the most staunch Conservative voter who thinks Rishi Sunak’s Tories could win there.

But judging from the number of negative, shoulder-shrugging responses the Local Democracy Reporting Service gleaned from the streets of those two areas of the constituency, if there was an ‘Apathy Party’, it might romp to victory. The number of people who said they had lost trust in politicians and would not vote was worrying, if not surprising.

Affluent Worsley is a haven of cottages and greenery just a stone’s throw from one of the busiest motorway junctions in the UK. From The Green, where young couple Charlotte and Jack are playing with their child you can hear the constant buzz of traffic noise not far away.

READ MORE: Chaos erupts in pub as traveller families clash in 'horror' scenes

“I don’t think either of us will be voting,” said Charlote, 25. “I don’t think our opinion counts. If I was voting for anyone, it would be the Green Party. My parents talk about it but I don’t see anything coming from it, so I don’t really give it much thought.”

Another man who did not wish to be named had a similar view. “I don’t bother voting,” he said. “I’ve got my own stuff going on.”

Julie Bowyer, 59, who runs The Flower Stop and a coffee shop on the banks of the Bridgwater Canal at Worsley would not disclose her voting intentions but said she would vote. “I keep who I vote for private,” she said.

“I know you’re probably thinking that because I’m self-employed I’m likely to be a Conservative. People have got to look at what’s put on the table. But sometimes they say all these things but nothing comes to fruition.

"I think the Tories will be hard-pushed to get in this time. A lot of people who have voted Conservative will look the other way.”

Ged Southern, 69, is a retired dentist. “I’ve always voted Conservative,” he said. “But I’ve always thought the NHS is very important.

“The Conservative government has made a mess, particularly with Boris Johnson’s behaviour during the Covid pandemic, which I think people still remember.” Sophie Hadfield, 40, and her mum Julie Hadfield, 67, had slightly different views on who they might vote for.

Asked what the main issues were, Sophie said: “It’s everything - the NHS, the cost of living, unfair child benefit changes, and the way the welfare system is run. “In the past, I’ve voted Conservative because our local councillor Robin Garrido has opposed over-development of housing, when there aren’t doctors or school places for local people.”

However, Julie had a slightly different take. She said: “I’m thinking about the homeless people and how we need more housing. A lot of people don’t believe politicians anymore.”

Referring to Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey plunging into Lake Windermere from sailboard a couple of days ago, she added: “I would like to see Rishi Sunak on a sailboard on Windermere and taking a tumble into the water in his £500 suit. He’s got no idea how ordinary people live.”

Meanwhile, New Zealand-born landscape gardener Daniel Cooper paused from a stint working on a Worsley property to describe the current Conservative government as ‘a shambles’. “But there are the same issues all around the world,” he said. “I would like to see the sort of health care that they have in New Zealand introduced here.

“Everyone has to buy health insurance and if you get sick or injured you are protected. It’s very much on a par with the NHS.”

Although he is eligible to vote here, he hasn’t made his mind up over who to vote for, saying Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer ‘doesn’t stand out’. Jane, 30, admitted she lived in a predominantly Conservative area in Worsley but said: “A change is needed. It’s certainly felt in this location, and probably nationally too.”

Another woman who did not wish to be named said: “I will vote Conservative, in fact anything other than Labour. Look what happened last time they were in power.

“They left office with no money in the Treasury. I wouldn’t imagine it will be any different this time.”

Down the road in Eccles, it’s back to the Apathy Party. “They’re all the same,” said one woman. “They feather their own nest. I used to vote Conservative, but I won’t be bothering this time.”

Barbara Howard, 80, had no such qualms. “I usually vote Conservative and I will be doing this time,” she said. “I used to always vote Labour, but I don’t like Sir Keir Starmer.”

But Sean Shipley, 23, was the opposite. “I will vote Labour. The Conservatives have made a complete mess of the country,” he said. And with that, he jumped onto a bus which sailed off into the distance.

Adam, 30, said he normally votes Conservative, but this time, he ‘doesn’t know’. “There’s not an infinite pot of money available to whoever comes into power,” he said. “It’s going to be very difficult for whichever party wins the election.

“The main issues for me are the cost of living and inflation, which, has come down recently.” Dave Woods, 62, is another non-voter. “No-one has any respect for politicians,” he said. “Boris Johnson made a right mess things and showed how utterly selfish politicians are.”

Karen, 38, is a social worker. She said she would be voting Labour. “The main issue is that we’ve had a long time with everything going wrong. “I work in the public sector and I am a parent with young children. We have family members with disabilities and health needs which the Conservatives are doing nothing to help.”

“I remember my parents were Conservative voters, but I think it was a status thing for them.” Emily Ramsey, 23, said she would probably vote Labour because of the rising interest rates on her mortgage. “Luckily, I’m on a five-year fixed term, but that will come to end in the not-too-distant future,” she said. “What will it be after that?”

Jeanette Shaw, 40, is a nurse. “I’m not political, so probably won’t vote. But recruitment in the NHS is a serious issue. No-one wants to work. It used to be really good, but not any more.”

Couple Poppy Holmes and Jim Pearson, 26 and 23 respectively, both said they ‘wanted rid’ of the Conservatives. “I’m leaning towards voting Labour,” said Jim. “But I’m also considering the Green Party. It’s mainly about getting rid of the Tories.”

Poppy said: “For me, I will vote Labour. It’s the only viable option.”