Oli Dugmore 4am - 7am
‘More lies, more hogwash’: Flitwick voters say Tories’ tax cuts don’t go far enough
23 November 2023, 09:16
Mid Bedfordshire has been one of the most talked about seats in the country in recent months. It was just last month that voters here opted to kick the Conservatives out - the party had held this seat since 1931 and had a majority of 24,664.
Listen to this article
It’s seats such as this that will be crucial for Rishi Sunak to win back at a general election, if he’s to have any hope of finding a narrow path to victory.
I’ve been redeployed to Flitwick in the constituency after my previous unsuccessful mission of Desperately Seeking Dorries - I’m now desperately seeking Conservative voters
A lot of the frustration with Nadine Dorries does now seem to have now dissipated - but how willing and ready are voters here in Mid Bedfordshire to forgive the Conservatives? And has the national insurance tax cut done enough to woo them back?
Some of the forthright folk of Flitwick have given me the benefit of their views. One tradesman told me that the party “are thieves” and “are in it for themselves”.
Whilst two constituents shopping at the gift shop Box Of Delights on the high street told me “it’s more lies, it’s hogwash, it’s failing to mention the freezes that will make people worse off, these tax cuts will mean absolutely nothing”, whilst the other said “they’re liars, and cheats and hurt good working people”.
Asked if they can win back the seat they told me “absolutely not, people are more intelligent than that” as well as “the people of Flitwick have got good brains and will make the right decision”
One professional who works in Central London told me “I like the idea of a tax cut, but there is no tax cut, it’s just a reduction on national insurance”. He added “I don’t think this will go back to the Conservatives”, adding that the local MP Alistair Strathern “is in WhatsApp groups, holding surgeries, meeting electors… something that I don’t think Nadine Dorries ever did”.
One pensioner told me “it might not be enough to win it back, people here voted Labour to punish the Tories in the first place. I think it’s still early days, if the Conservatives had done this earlier they might have been alright”
Another voter told me “they can definitely win this seat again, I think there’s an in-built Conservative majority here - but I don’t think they will win the general election”
Yesterday Jeremy Hunt boasted of the “largest business tax cut in modern British history" - but is that cutting through with local businesses?
Tracey Sharp from Flitwick Jewellers told me “we still need more help, all small businesses need help”. She added “at the moment the government aren’t doing enough, they need to help more”, saying that the overheads are “massive”. She told LBC “we don’t have the money for gas, electric, staffing, insurance - it’s all gone up so much
Mid Bedfordshire’s new Labour MP Alistair Strathern has a wafer thin majority of 1,192 to hold onto - it’s a seat that traditionally should be Conservative - but the message from many voters here is that whilst Nadine Dorries’ book may be on their Christmas list, more tax cuts are on their wish list.