Voters in key marginal constituency hit out at Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer ahead of crunch vote

The General Election is just days away and many people are yet to make up their mind on who to back, especially in constituencies that for many years have been represented by the Conservatives. As part of our 5000 Voices project, where we are working with titles across the country to speak to as many voters as possible, we have visited Long Eaton, in the Erewash constituency.

It's been represented by Maggie Throup of the Conservative Party since 2015. Since its creation in 1983, the constituency has voted for the party that eventually formed the government in every election. That means national campaign teams consider Erewash to be a key marginal seat.

We first asked voters which issues are key to them at this election. Voters in different age groups differed on priorities. Top of the list for older voters was immigration and pensions.

Younger voters are increasingly concerned about the environment and social issues. However, people were united by their concerns about the NHS and the cost of living crisis.

Michael McEvoy, 72, believes the government needs to cut down on the number of people coming to the country. He said: “We really need to cut down on inviting people to the country until we get strong again, then we can open the doors.”

Dan Bennett, 41, is primarily concerned with the treatment of LGBTQ+ people across the country, and the cost of living. He said: “Key issues at this election are the treatment of LGBTQ+ people. Which I don’t think either government are particularly interested in at the moment. I think the cost-of-living crisis is a big one. Again, Labour are probably the best people to sort that, but other areas they lack.”

We then ask voters for their opinions on the two men almost certain to be the Prime Minister on July 5. On Rishi Sunak, there were very few positive responses.

Robin Duncan, 77, said: “He’s an expert in finance, and I don’t think his expertise goes beyond that.” Hazel Green, 74, believes the Conservatives made a big mistake removing Boris Johnson, and doesn’t support the current Prime Minister.

On Keir Starmer, there was also little admiration from Long Eaton residents. There is a lack of trust in the Labour leader, with many taking issue with ‘U-turns’ and a perceived move away from traditional Labour values.

Tom Mortimer, 31, did not hold back when describing Starmer. He said: “A smart snake. Very much kind of wants to go where the wind goes, but kind of… morally bankrupt.”

Dave Timberlake, 76, is a retired accountant. He isn’t convinced by Sir Keir Starmer either. He said: “I think he should give it to Angela Rayner, but that’s my opinion.”

Finally, we asked voters what they believe the next government needs to do to tackle knife crime. Everyone believes there needs to be more police on the streets.

Kate Jackson, 77, said: “Increase the police. It was the Tories who cut them. It’s time they put some back. We haven’t seen a policeman walking around here when we used to.”

Tom Mortimer, 31, argues the importance of education and inclusion in tackling the root cause of knife crime, which he believes is neglect.

He said: “It’s a massively difficult question. But I guess bringing more people into the community. Not making people feel like they’re outsiders, not castigating people. Not tell people that they’re horrible. I think it all starts with neglect. If people are going down that path, it probably starts with not feeling worthy.”

The election takes place on Thursday July 4, with polling stations open between 7am and 10pm.

The candidates standing in Erewash are:

Liberal Democrats

James Martin Archer

Reform UK

Liam Dane Booth-Isherwood


John William Kirby


Brent Poland


Adam Thompson


Maggie Throup