Shropshire Star

We visited Oswestry market to ask traders and shoppers for their election views - this is what they had to say

There was little love for either main party in north Shropshire, as we visited Oswestry market to see what was on the minds of voters ahead of the election.

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Just three years ago, the historically die-hard Conservative North Shropshire constituency turned yellow in what was an explosive moment in British political history.

The resignation of long-standing Tory MP Owen Paterson in November 2021 triggered a by-election that saw the Lib Dems take a memorable win, with a 34 per cent swing from the Conservatives.

The landslide victory saw Helen Morgan become the constituency's first-ever Liberal Democrat MP.

While national polls continue to predict a historic win for Labour, there is little doubt that North Shropshire remains a key battleground for the Lib Dems.

The latest 'polls-of-polls' by Electoral Calculus, predicted the party will gain 39.4 per cent of the vote, followed by the Conservatives with 31.4 per cent, Labour at 14.5 per cent, Reform UK with 8.3 per cent and Green with 4.2 per cent.

But what's the word on the street? We visited Oswestry on market day to have a chat with voters.

Unsurprisingly, in a theme emerging across Shropshire, the idea of Reform UK was proving tempting to those voters who would have traditionally turned to the Tories.

Mike Breeze from Berriew

70-year-old Mike Breeze, who owns Rainbow Records, said: "For 50-odd years I've always voted Conservative, my mother and father always voted Conservative. I think sadly today, they would turn in their grave because I'm going to vote for Reform.

"I think the Tories have had 14 years and I haven't got what I voted for. Brexit has not turned out what I expected it to be.

"At the end of the day, I don't think the Tories wanted Brexit. I feel the country needs change, but not a Labour government."

Malcolm Edwards, owner of Malc and Bevs Bags said it was looking "very doubtful" he'd be voting Conservative again too.

Malcolm Edwards from Chirk

The 68-year-old market trader said: "They've had so long to change things and they haven't really done it in 15 years so give someone else a chance."

Malcolm said "eight out of ten" people he spoke to were also planning on voting for Reform UK.

He added: "I think people are sick of the same old same old. Farage seems to be saying what the people want to hear."

Dorothy Thomas and her dog, Frazer

While Australian-born Dorothy Thomas, 71, said she was feeling "quite depressed" about the upcoming election, she said she had found the constituency's Liberal Democrat MP Helen Morgan to be "a breath of fresh air".

She said: "I think I'll stick with them, it's not my natural choice, my natural choice is Green. But with the system we have here, the first past the post system, our Green vote doesn't count for anything."

Another would-be Green voter, 56-year-old artist Sara Heap, said she would also be sticking with the Liberal Democrats.

Sara Heap from Gobowen, with her dog Dolores

"I'll be voting for Helen Morgan, I'd usually be a Green voter but there's absolutely no point around here," she said.

"I am optimistic, I don't know whether I'm a fool to be optimistic, but there's got to be change. We can't go on with this madness.

"People at the top don't have a clue about how the vast amount of society live, they're absolutely clueless."

Elsewhere in Shropshire, our reporters have been meeting dozens of people who wouldn't be voting for anyone at all this time around - and Oswestry was no different.

Jackie and Morgan Williams

Mother and son Jackie and Morgan Williams had both voted Conservative at the last election, but this time around their indifference for all parties was pointing them away from the polls.

"There's all the same," said Jackie. "I don't take any notice of it any more."

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