‘People are really cheesed off’ - How Brexit is having an impact on the doorstep for election hopefuls
PUBLISHED: 15:13 24 April 2019 | UPDATED: 15:13 24 April 2019
Election hopefuls are facing their toughest time on the doorsteps in recent memory, with frustrations over national politics proving a significant obstacle.
With the local elections looming, recent weeks have seen reports of candidates receiving abuse while canvassing and one hopeful in Great Yarmouth - Cathy Cordiner-Achenbach - punched on the trail.
To gauge feeling on the doorstep, the local democracy reporting service joined members of the Labour group on the campaign trail in the Great Yarmouth borough - the county's most Brexit-favouring area.
In the space of around 90 minutes, four candidates - group leader Trevor Wainwright, Brian and Coleeen Walker and Mike Smith-Clare - visited around 100 homes, either speaking to voters or posting leaflets.
And it soon became apparent that frustrations over Westminster were a recurring theme, casting a shadow over the local campaigns.
One voter in particular told Mrs Walker she would not be voting in the local election because she was “sick of bloody politics”.
Stuart Hellingsworth, a party member who was assisting in the canvassing, said: “There is a real frustration with people in Westminster that has been having a real impact.
“There are always people that don't engage with politics, but I feel these types of people have been pushed to the next level - those who previously would have just said no, thank you, are now being a lot blunter and we've had the occasional eff off.”
At one point Mr Smith-Clare found himself engaged in heated discussion around another national issue, foreign aid - something also outside of the local agenda.
After, he said: “All too often people can take things they see on social media as gospel and allow them to mould their political views. I feel there needs to be better education of which responsibilities lie at a local level and which are dealt with nationally.”
Conservative group leader Graham Plant said he had encountered similar trends on the trail.
He said: “People are feeling really let down by the process in Westminster, which has an impact.
“However, I honestly can't remember there being any local election where there hasn't been something happening in Westminster that has interfered.
“Personally, I have not encountered any violence or aggression, but you can tell people are just really cheesed off with politics in general.”
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