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How Brexit blurs party lines in England's 'red wall'

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published 3 weeks ago - Duration: 01:58s

How Brexit blurs party lines in England's 'red wall'

With the certainty that the UK will leave the EU under a Labour government in doubt, northern English towns that are traditionally staunch in favor of the party could make a historic swing to the right.

Joe Davies reports.

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How Brexit blurs party lines in England's 'red wall'

The town of Crewe in northern England is part of what's called the "red wall" - an area that has traditionally voted staunchly Labour, in some families for generations.

But more than three years have passed since this town, like many, voted to leave the EU.

And with Labour promising another referendum on EU membership, many here are considering changing allegiances, turning Crewe into a potential swing district, once unthinkable.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) LOCAL RESIDENT, 62-YEAR OLD JULES WILDE, SAYING: "I'd hate to vote Tory (Conservative).

If there was a way of not voting Tory and still getting Brexit, I'd do it." (SOUNDBITE) (English) LOCAL RESIDENT, LINDA BONE, SAYING: "It's really hard because I'm sort of having to go against what I've always done, always believed in, because I always believed yes the Labour Party are for your ordinary working class but, like I said, the way they're going, I find it frightening." In the neighboring town of Nantwich - the other half of this constituency - the mood is much the same.

With a second general election since the referendum just weeks away, some voters are less than impressed about being asked to weigh up the options once again.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) JANET STOCKTON, WHO RUNS A SWEET STALL IN NANTWICH MARKET, SAYING: "I'm not ready for it but I think everybody is so fed up at the moment, we just want something sorting out and if it means we've got to go and vote then so be it." Labour candidate Laura Smith says hers is a party trying to heal division with a promise of another referendum.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) LABOUR PARTY CANDIDATE AND MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FOR CREWE AND NANTWICH, LAURA SMITH, SAYING: "Do you know, people are sick to death of Brexit, they really are, and what Labour is doing, is they are trying to bring a conclusion to this, they are trying to move it forward.

We're the only party who are trying to heal the divide that we've seen happen." The message from her Tory rival Kieran Mullan is clear - a vote for the Conservatives is the only way to guarantee Brexit will actually happen.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) CONSERVATIVE PARTY CANDIDATE FOR CREWE AND NANTWICH, KIERAN MULLAN, SAYING: "I think we have got a really clear vision for Brexit, a plan, as Boris says, is oven ready, ready to go, and I think people will vote for that.

And if there are other candidates, there are other candidates, if there isn't, it's about what we're offering people." The parties have less than four weeks to convince voters that their vision for the future is best.

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