13 Jun 2024

UK election: what voters in key seat Rugby think of the hopefuls

North of England Correspondent

Ciaran Jenkins: The polls are all suggesting the election is Labour’s to lose, but how did the party’s manifesto go down with voters?

Rugby is one of the many Conservative-held constituencies Labour is targeting. Mark Pawsey won it in 2019 with a 13,000 vote majority.

Clare Fallon’s been finding out what people there make of what Labour have to offer.

Clare Fallon: They say elections are won and lost at the margins. But we’re in the middle, geographically, in an area Labour wants and needs to win over, talking to the voters Keir Starmer hopes to convince with today’s manifesto.

Patricia: I liked it in the days when Maggie Thatcher was in charge.

Clare Fallon: For decades, the vote in this area has mirrored the result of general elections. And Patricia and Bob have backed the party that has won every time.

What would Labour need to say to get you to switch from voting Tory?

Bob: They’ve got all the figures, every party all the figures. Lay it down in black and white and say this is how much it’s going to cost every man, woman, child in this country and then let them decide. And that’s the only way you’ll get me to vote.

Clare Fallon: So actually be honest about what taxes are going up?

Bob: Yes, what taxes are going up. Don’t put any mirrors behind them. It’s just smoke and mirrors all the while. You know, just be perfectly, perfectly honest with the public.

Clare Fallon: Would you vote for a party that says they’re going to put taxes up to fix things?

Bob: We all want things, and if taxes have to go up, they have to go up.

John: We haven’t got a strong enough government. We haven’t got a strong enough leader.

Clare Fallon: At 84, John is a lifelong Conservative voter, but this could be the year when that changes. So is your vote to be won at the moment?

John: I like Nigel Farage, right. I think Nigel Farage speaks the truth. All these immigrants have come into the country. Why can’t we just send them back? This is England, it’s our country. Why do you have to listen to international laws? Let’s run our own country as we should be running it.

Clare Fallon: In an election seen as a crossroads, to take power Labour need to win in places they’ve not won since 1997, or ever. And so today’s manifesto about powering growth, according to Keir Starmer. No tricks or surprises, pro-business. But will business back him?

Adam Land: It sounds like there’s no rabbits out of the hat. There’s nothing…

Clare Fallon: Did you want a rabbit though, actually?

Adam Land: Yeah, I think so. I think I needed a rabbit to try and pull me further that way. Something that, maybe we were never going to get it, but around corporation tax or incentives around investment.

Clare Fallon: In a constituency that’s part industry, part thatched roofs and commuter villages, in the market town of Rugby itself, we’ve come to a yoga session at the Benn Partnership Community Centre. Trudy was a social worker until illness stopped her working. Her feelings towards the party she’s always voted for illustrates another problem for Labour – how to get the balance between appealing to a new audience and keeping your core base of supporters.

Trudy: I think he {Sir Keir Starmer} probably is alienating the left of the party to a certain extent, but I think probably like myself, they’re so desperate to have a change of government because this government is out for themselves and nobody else.

Clare Fallon: So people will kind of close their eyes or grit their teeth and tick the box?

Trudy: I think, yes.

Clare Fallon: The seismic shift in 2019 means the mood here takes on more significance. And right now many are undecided and disillusioned.


Yousef Dahmash


Richard Dickson

Liberal Democrat

Devenne Kedward

Reform UK

John Slinger


Becca Stevenson


Anand Swayamprakasam


Mark Townsend