North West Leicestershire voters on 'weak' Rishi Sunak and 'rather dull' Keir Starmer


As General Election campaigning reaches its penultimate week, we have been out meeting voters and finding out what they think of it all as part of our 5,000 voices project. This time we visited Castle Donington in the North West Leicestershire constituency.

We first asked voters to describe Rishi Sunak. The most popular description of the PM was that he was weak, although some people did appreciate the difficulty of the economic situation he inherited.

We then asked people to describe Sir Keir Starmer. Descriptions of the Labour leader ranged from “rather dull” and “rubbish” to “competent” and “intelligent”.

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Next, we asked voters to share which issues are key to them at this general election. And finally, we asked which party has the best policies on the housing crisis.

Read on to find out what they told us.

Voters on Rishi Sunak

Michael Prince, 76, is a retired manufacturing engineer. He accused Rishi Sunak of lacking the nerve to leave the ECHR (European Court of Human Rights).

He said: “He doesn’t seem to have the bottle to leave the UHCR [ECHR] and get some real action done so we have got a border force and not a border farce.”

Retired hotel owner Sandra Buldgin, 75, accused the PM of not being strong or trustworthy. She said: “I’ve voted for Conservatives for years, but I don’t know what I’ll do this year.”

Mr Sunak did have one fan however in 88-year-old Maureen Amos who described him as a “good man".

Voters on Keir Starmer

Damon Watts, 38, shared his frustrations at what he said were Starmer’s U-turns and what some see as a drift from core Labour values.

He said: “I think he’s being going a bit more towards the right, but I think he should kind of keep those values of the last four years really, he seems to be kind of flip flopping a bit which I’m not particularly happy with.”

Retiree Lesley Price, 75, described the Labour leader as “dull” and “very reserved”. She added: “I do think he’s got a good team behind him, so maybe that’ll swing it for him.”

Voters on the issues most important to them

The most frequently mentioned issues were the economy, immigration, and the NHS.

Julie Howlett, 58 said: “I think funding for the NHS, which is in collapse is up there. And then the immigration issue, which isn’t an easy fix.”

Michael Prince, 76, also believes immigration is one of the most important issues at this election. He said: “We shouldn’t be standing by. We will make France take the steps, and we want to be reimbursed for the money they’ve misused and not used in our favour.”

Voters on the housing crisis

Everyone we spoke to appreciated the scale of the crisis, however no one believed that any party has announced sufficient steps to tackle it.

Steven Rice, 64, said: “I don’t think either of them have got the better plans. The number one thing is they wouldn’t need to build so many houses if they didn’t let as many people in the country.”

Julie Howlett, 58, shared these concerns. She said: “I think it’s very important because our population as a country is growing all the while. So until we can come up with a workable, sustainable solution, I think we’re in trouble.”

Who is standing for each party in North West Leicestershire?

North West Leicestershire has been held by Andrew Bridgen since 2010. Originally a Conservative MP, he briefly joined the Reclaim Party in 2023 following his suspension from the Conservatives for breach of standards. He is now running as an Independent.

The candidates running are:

Green

Carl Benfield

Independent

Andrew Bridgen

Liberal Democrat

Alice Delemare

Independent

Siobhan Dillion

Labour

Amanda Hack

Reform UK

Noel Matthews

Conservative

Craig Smith

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