General Election view from Stockton North: Education, immigration and the high street

Wellington Square was full of shoppers on Tuesday afternoon, as Teesside Live listened to the views of the people of Stockton North on the High Street.

When asked to describe Rishi Sunak, Thomas Hornar took issue with the Conservatives ’ wider ‘gamblegate’ problems that have dragged on for the past week: “This business of them putting money on knowing when the General Election, was on the fourth, that’s a scandal and so they should be kicked out of power.”

Criticism of the Prime Minister was abundant, with Mark, 61, citing Mr. Sunak’s early D-Day departure as another issue. At the same time, hardly anyone was willing to offer an endorsement of Keir Starmer.

Thomas Hornar was one of the few who said “I like Keir Starmer, I think give him a chance, he’s a new leader for the Labour government. Give him a chance”.

There were several issues that were cited by those walking on the High Street, including a desire to improve the town centre. Maureen passionately argued “Get rid of all the drug [takers] and drunks off the streets, and the beggars. We need to clean Stockton High Street”.

This sentiment was echoed by Carl Walters. Meanwhile, Mrs. Bradley also highlighted the importance of the town centre when she was asked about the important election issues: “Well as I say, the High Street as well, we haven’t got one now, it’s all gone!”

Rachel, 29, spoke of the importance of women’s rights as well as her distaste for the Rwanda policy. She acknowledged that some would consider her right-wing for her gender critical views, whilst others would consider her left-wing for her views regarding immigration and asylum seekers.

She said “I feel quite politically homeless. I definitely wouldn’t vote for the Conservatives or Reform”. Rachel was also unsure about voting for the Labour Party.

Despite her dissolution from the main parties, she added “I think it’s important to vote. Women fought for the right to vote, but I’m a little bit stuck at the moment.”

Immigration was raised by a number of people in the town as a major issue in this general election campaign. In the case of Biran Peacock, the 66-year-old owner of Peacock’s Greengrocers, he thought that the level of immigration needed to be considered when pondering how to improve children’s education.

More generally, there was a plethora of opinions when the people of the town were asked how the next government could go about improving schools and the education of children. Mark, who was sat next to the High Street fountain, advocated focusing “on special needs education because there are a lot of people who can’t get places for special needs schools”.

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