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Voters in Tony Blair’s former seat, Sedgefield, have lashed out at the Labour Party as they revealed why they turned to the Tories in the 2019 election after decades of Labour dominance. Speaking outside the virtual Blue Collar Conservatism Conference in County Durham, former Labour voters explained why after years of loyalty to Labour they felt the need to vote for Boris Johnson.
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One voter said: “I saw lots of cracks in Labour and I thought this is not good.
“I did complain to Labour and they’ve thrown me out.
“I was about to quit anyway but I just don’t agree with Labour politics in this modern day world.
“They’re far too – to me – mediaeval.
“And we really need to think about the people. The problem is your local important people around here who are Labour look after their own towns.
“And I just think that Ferryhill, Bishop Middleham, West Cornforth – all the little villages around here – with a railway line, will really benefit from it.
“For getting to work and all sorts of things, it’ll just be a brilliant benefit.”
And another: “I don’t feel Labour’s for the working class anymore.
“So that’s why I decided to change from Red to Blue.”
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Another voter added: “Paul Howell has almost made as many friends in this area, gained as many votes in this area, in the short time that he’s been in power, that his predecessor Phil Wilson lost in the same time.
“And that was a monumental defeat. Hopefully Labour won’t ever get another foothold here.”
But he warned: “Don’t throw it away, it’s yours to lose.”
Speaking at the virtual conference on Tuesday, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps echoed the voters’ sentiment.
He said: “The thing making the biggest difference is having new, brilliant Tory MPs and Conservative representatives on the ground.
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“Some of these seats have been promised stuff for so long, have always been Labour through and through, that’s why it was the red wall, and now they’ve got Conservative MPs who are actually out there doing things everyday.
“People like Peter Gibson, people like Paul Howell, people like Richard Holden, I’m hearing from them every day.
“They’re just pushing and pushing and pushing.”
He added: “It means that when people vote Conservative they’re actually seeing some really pro-active representation on their behalf.
“We’re going to make sure they show some delivery as well so things actually change for people, which I think after all these decades would just be a revelation for people.
“And it’s all been happening because people voted Conservative for the first time.”
Tune in at 6.30pm tonight for the big Blue Collar Conservatism debate
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