Uxbridge residents react as constituency’s future hangs in the balance

Hillingdon Council has announced a by-election will take place on 20 July to replace Boris Johnson as MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip.

But who will take over in the long-time Conservative constituency and are residents optimistic about the area’s future?

Potential successors include Conservative councillor Steve Tuckwell, Labour councillor Danny Beales, Lib Dem campaigner Blaise Baquiche and Reclaim Party leader Laurence Fox.

Fresh faces

Conservative candidate Steve Tuckwell, who hopes to pick up the mantle from Mr Johnson, is hammering ULEZ as a main point of electoral contention.

He said: “Uxbridge cannot afford a Labour MP who backs Khan’s plan to stop residents living their lives the way they choose and make us pick up the tab for his mistakes, under his ULEZ expansion.”

Amidst rising food and energy prices, Labour candidate Danny Beales, who studied politics and social policy at the London School of Economics, appears concerned about the cost of living.

He said in a recent Big Issue interview: “The government can find the money in the budget to help millionaire pensioners, it can find very significant amounts of funding for PPE contracts for their mates.

“But it seems whenever the ordinary working person needs a pay rise, or a vital service that those people rely on needs funding, we can’t afford it as a nation, we need to tighten our belts.”

Meanwhile, Lib Dem hopeful Blaise Baquiche feels passionately about cycle lines while Mr Fox wants lower taxes and border control.

Other candidates from smaller parties are also set to enter the race.

We spoke to residents from the Uxbridge and South Ruislip area to gauge their thoughts on the upcoming by-election.

No one the Londoners spoke to knew who the candidates were.

Jamie Vardy, 47

Jamie Vardy, who has lived in Uxbridge for many years, was supportive of Boris Johnson.

He said: “He’s a good guy, he’s always got time for his fellow people and he’s done what he can.

“You can’t believe anything now, though I think personally you’ve got to be honest otherwise you get caught.”

Vardy’s sentiment was shared by almost all those the Londoners interviewed in Uxbridge.

As for Johnson’s successor, Vardy said: “I hope to see loyalty from anyone who takes his position.

“They say something and it never get’s done – it’s so annoying because we’re the workers there so we can’t do much about it.”

Dennis Miguel, 63

One thing at the forefront of many people’s minds when voting in the upcoming by-election will be the economy.

Dennis Miguel said: “I don’t think Labour will be the answer to everyone’s problems.

“Historically, they’re not renowned for running the economy very well.

“That is the key battleground in this particular election.”

Kevin Date, 43

Kevin Date, who has lived in Uxbridge for eleven years, said he felt sorry for Johnson and thought the former MP had brought a lot of good to the area.

“The lights, roadworks, it’s a thriving area in my opinion. Before shops used to be dead but now it’s thriving.”

Date said that he anticipated the next MP for the constituency would have quite big boots to fill given the celebrity status of their predecessor.

“It’s Boris. He’s known globally. He’s a character. He’s more of a celebrity than a politician.”

Brigitte Mason, 56

Brigitte Mason, a local resident of thirty years, was handing out Specsavers leaflets when the Londoners approached her.

“To tell you the truth, they all lie anyway,” she said.

“What I like about Boris Johnson is when he wants something he will do anything to get it.”

On the upcoming by-election, Mason said: “I think Boris Johnson has a lot of charisma.

“Does this other Conservative one have charisma and is he honest? I don’t know. On TV I’ve heard nothing about this one.

“Is he honest? Can we have somebody who’s honest amongst all of these? Please?”

Johnson won a 52.6% share of the vote in the constituency in the 2019 general election – but the seat is widely seen as a key target for Labour.

Only time will tell what local residents really think as the future of the Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency continues to hang in the balance.

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