April 23, 2019 4.31 pm This story is over 32 months old

The Brexit blockade on the doorsteps of Lincolnshire voters

Local candidates say they are being tarred with the same brush as national politicians

Local election candidates say they are struggling to get past a Brexit blockade as they fight for seats in this May’s election.

Party leaders have said the issue is causing a hurdle which can cause residents to go one of two ways – accepting that local parties are fighting for local issues, or tarring national and local candidates with the same brush

The Boston Conservative Association published an open letter calling on Prime Minister Theresa May to step down over the issue.

In it, they say the time has come for the PM to “take full responsibility for the litany of failures over the past two years” along with criticising her recent talks with Labour-leader Jeremy Corbyn.

They say the issue is having a “real impact” on local candidates who “feel utterly betrayed by the present leadership”.

“The damage done to our party by the failure of our leadership to get on with Brexit will harm the delivery of good local services, and the jobs and investment local people rely on,” they add.

Tom Ashton, the association’s deputy chairman, told Local Democracy Reporter Daniel Jaines of difficulties getting past the topic of Brexit and onto local issues on the doorstep.

“It’s a hurdle, a distraction. Try as you might to get out there and speak to people on our wards that’s incredibly challenging to do.

“There are a lot of people out there who are not going to go and vote because of their despair with the political situation nationally.”

Craig Leyland, chairman of the Louth and Horncastle Conservative Association, and leader of the party on East Lindsey District Council, agreed.

“When you get that response it’s very hard to turn people around because they are so disappointed with politics.

“It’s a mixed picture but it’s not a great one to be fighting an election against.”

He confirmed his own association would be voting on a similar motion at their next meeting in May.

Boston and Skegness Labour party chairman Andy Izard also said the “messy situation nationally” was on most people’s minds.

“There’s a lot of resentment against major politics this time,” he said.

“It’s almost the wrong time to do politics locally, based on national issues.

“You have to allow local voters to raise those problems and then gently bring them round to say these are national so we can’t do too much on them.”

He called on candidates to persevere and said once residents had got through that initial reaction they were “pretty forthcoming” about local issues that needed tackling.

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