'Waste of space', 'likeable' and 'untrustworthy' - Nottingham city centre voters give their views on Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer

As the General Election campaign reaches its final day after six dramatic weeks, we have been out meeting more voters and finding out what they think of it all as part of our 5,000 voices project. This time we visited Nottingham city centre, part of the Nottingham East constituency.

We first asked voters to share the most important election issues to them, with concerns raised about the cost of living and education. One voter highlighted the requirement to have photo ID to vote, branding it a "stealth way of stopping poorer people voting".

We then asked people in the city centre to describe Rishi Sunak. One woman said she found him "likeable", a view she admitted might be controversial. However another voter said his huge personal fortune meant Mr Sunak, who worked for Goldman Sachs and in hedge funds before entering politics, was unable to work for the interests of ordinary working people.

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We also asked people what they thought of Sir Keir Starmer. One unimpressed voter called the Labour leader “a waste of space", while another said they believed his humble background was an asset.

Finally we asked voters if anything has happened during the campaign to change their mind on who to vote for on Thursday, July 4.

Read on to find out what they told us.

Voters on the issues most important to them

Roger G, 55, said he thought taxes needed to be increased in order to invest in public infrastructure, although, this will not affect how he will vote. He said this is because he doesn’t have ID - which is now needed to cast your vote in the general election.

He said: “I can’t vote because I need photo ID, but I don’t drive, haven’t got a passport because I have no plans of going abroad, so at my age, I don’t need photo ID.

“It really is a shambles. My interest is when the stats come out about voting, what the difference is with turnout … I bet there’s lots of poor people who can’t afford a passport...I think it’s a stealth way of stopping poorer people voting.”

William Abbot Butcher, 22, recently finished his studies in games production. He said the most important issues are cost of living and education. He said: “I think education in regards to the arts is being put on the back burner again.

“I think there are a lot of people going to university doing degrees that perhaps aren’t like, super mathematical or scientific...but I still think the arts are really important for people to grasp.”

Voters on Rishi Sunak

Donna Pritchard, 53, is retired. She said she believes her opinion of Rishi Sunak to be quite controversial.

She told us: “It’s quite polarising in a sense. I admire him, I think he’s a very likeable character.”

Rachel Boughton, 23, disagrees. She believes the Prime Minister's wealth makes him unfit to govern in the interests of the average person: “He is a literal billionaire. How can you call yourself a person of the people and make decisions that impact a whole country when you yourself are a billionaire."

The personal wealth of Mr Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty was estimated as £651m in the latest Sunday Times Rich List. This was mainly due to Ms Murty's shares in Infosys, the Indian IT giant co-founded by her father.

Voters on Keir Starmer

On Keir Starmer, there was less support for him personally. Some admitted they support the Labour Party, but not the leader himself… with one man describing him as “a waste of space".

Lynn McBernie, 68, is a retired NHS nurse. She believes Starmer lacks charisma and warmth. She added: “He seems to say a lot of the right things, but I don’t really feel that I could trust what he says.”

William Abbot Butcher believes Starmer’s humble upbringing is an asset to him. However, he admitted: “I don’t know. I’ve heard good and bad about him, but I think I’m more on the fence about him than my sort of opposition to Rishi.”

Voters on whether anything has changed their mind during the general election campaign

Paul Boatman, 70, believes the campaign has become nasty, and caused him to switch off, and as a result said nothing had changed his mind. He said: “[There has been] little sniping remarks at everybody which causes me to get disinterested, so no.”

Donna Pritchard originally wanted to vote for Keir Starmer, in protest at the Conservative government for allowing her grandmother to die alone during Covid. However she said that over the campaign, the Labour party lost her vote.

She said: “I had a dichotomy, because I wanted to punish the Tories… for letting my Nana die alone, so I wanted to vote Keir. But then I found out Keir didn’t have a plan for immigrants and wasn’t going to send them to Rwanda.”

Who is standing for each party in Nottingham East?

Nadia Whittome was first elected as Nottingham East MP in 2019 with a majority of 17,393. Aged only 23 at the time, she was the youngest member of the House of Commons until July 2023.

The candidates running, in alphabetical order by surname, are:

Workers Party of Britain

Issan Ghazni


Ali Khan

Conservative and Unionist Party

Johno Lee

Green Party

Rosey Palmer

Liberal Democrats

Anita Prabhakar


Naveed Rashid

Reform UK

Debbie Stephens


Nadia Whittome