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People can differentiate between local and national issues, say councillors

By Mark Andrews | Telford | Politics | Published:

As he heads into next month's local elections, the long-serving leader of Tekfird & Wrekin's Conservative group admits there is a disillusionment about politicians in general over the failure to deliver Brexit.

Councillor Andrew Eade

But he thinks the impact it has on people's perception of local government is not as strong as one might expect.

"It hasn't affected us as much as I would have expected it to," says Councillor Eade,

"Most people are able to differentiate between local issues and national ones.

"It's very important who is going to run the local authorities, that affects your day-to-day life as much as what's happening in Parliament.

"The two local MPs backed Theresa May's deal last time it came up, and I think that is right thing to do. The deal isn't perfect by any means, but it will satisfy the outcome of the referendum.

"That is what most of the people say. I have been quite surprised, quite a lot of people have said 'I voted Remain, but we have got to see the result of the referendum carried through'."

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There will be no elections for Shropshire Council this year, but leader Councillor Peter Nutting says it is inevitable that national politics will have some impact.

"I think the country is getting fed-up with both parties at a national level," he says.

Councillor Peter Nutting

"We do our best to concentrate on local issues, and I think people are better these days at differentiating between national and local issues. But there is bound to be some knock-on effect, I think there is a mood of frustration."

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Councillor Nutting says his biggest concern is that while the Government is preoccupied with Brexit, important legislation affecting local government means it is taking too long to get through.

"We need to get the whole thing sorted so we can move on and get back to normal," he says.

Councillor David Evans, who represents Church Stretton and Craven Arms, says most of the conversations he has with the public are about local issues rather than national politics.

But Councillor Evans says parliamentary arithmetic means it is almost impossible to break the Brexit impasse.

Mess

"I think there are 480 MPs who have stated at some time or another that they wanted to remain in the EU, while the people voted to leave," says Councillor Evans.

"Somebody has got to sort it out, it's just a mess. I voted to remain, but now we've had the vote we have got to leave."

He says whoever becomes the next leader of the Conservative Party will need to bring about a shake-up on a similar scale to what Tony Blair did for Labour 25 years ago.

"It needs somebody with a bit of common sense to bring them all together and stop the bickering," he says.

Councillor Eric Carter, who represents Newport South & East on Telford & Wrekin Council, says he hopes he will be judged on his record.

"There is only so much we, as local representatives, can do to make people in London see sense," he says.

"We are working on behalf of our constituents, and I would stress that in the local elections people should vote for the councillors who do the most for their communities.

"Those who have done nothing won't have much to say."

Councillor Nicholas Bardsley, who represents Ruyton and Baschurch on Shropshire Council, says people national issues rarely raise their head when he speaks to members of the public.

"When I talk to people in Ruyton XI towns and Baschurch, they want to talk about things concerning planning, and the North West Relief Road and matters of local interest."

Councillor Mark Jones, who represents Gobowen, Selattyn and Weston Rhyn on Shropshire Council, says the divided state of the nation would make it impossible job for whoever was in power.

"Half the country wants to leave the EU, and half wants to stay," he says.

"If they had got a 60-40 majority, it would be easy to say 'this is what the country wants'.

Regarding who would make the best new leader for the party, he is in two minds.

"Jeremy Hunt is the safe pair of hands, but Boris Johnson has more charisma," he says.

Mark Andrews

By Mark Andrews
@MAndrews_Star

Senior news writer for the Shropshire Star specialising in in-depth features and commentary, investigative reporting and political matters.

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