Edinburgh Portobello voters speak on top priorities ahead of General Election

With general election polls opening on July 4, Edinburgh East & Musselburgh constituents are gearing up to vote for the first time since 2019.

Edinburgh Live interviewed Edinburgh East voters in Portobello and at the University of Edinburgh to hear what issues mattered to them most in this election.

Residents who spoke to Edinburgh Live were vocal about the state of the economy, the NHS, public services, pensions, Scottish independence, and the cost of living.

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Elizabeth, a Musselburgh resident, said: “I run a charity shop and I get the feeling from people that come in there that people are really struggling.

“I think that someone should be looking at the prices of food that have gone sky high and never come down again.”

Green issues were a common theme for residents who spoke to Edinburgh Live .

Claire, a Portobello resident and former environmental activist, said: “We need to deeply commit to helping the planet. We are caretakers, we are not in charge.”

Jane Barrow, a Portobello voter, said: “None of this matters if we don’t sort out the climate.”

When asked to describe Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Edinburgh East residents used words like: “ineffectual”, “hard-working”, “no leadership”, “untrustworthy”, “unenlightened”, “incompetent”, and “out-of-touch”.

Christi, a University of Edinburgh student, said: “He’s an idiot. I’m a dual citizen, I come from South Africa, and [Sunakl’s] immigration policies are ridiculous.”

Some voters shared favourable opinions of the Prime Minister, with one resident calling him “hard-working”.

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Pat, a Dalkeith resident, said: “I think he comes across as being quite straight-forward. I don’t dislike him.”

Claire commented: “He tries his best in an awful situation.”

For Labour leader Keir Starmer, Edinburgh East voters expressed mixed opinions.

Words used to describe Starmer ranged from “not much leadership”, “frightened”, “incompetent”, and “uninspiring” to “integrity", “caring", “ambitious”, and even “English”.

Pat said: “Something about him that doesn’t enamour me to him. It’s not that he’s a horrible person or anything else. He just doesn’t make me want to vote for him."

Many residents seemed unclear on the Labour leader’s political positions, with several expressing that they did not know enough about the politician to describe him.

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Elizabeth said: “I don’t know who he is because I don’t follow them. If there was someone I could vote for that you can trust, I would. But I don’t think there’s anyone, really.”

The Edinburgh East & Musselburgh constituency includes the Royal Mile, Brunstane, Portobello, Craigmillar, Duddingston, Holyrood, Newcraighall, Musselburgh, and the University of Edinburgh.