Residents in the Tory stronghold of Old Bexley and Sidcup are hesitant to vote Conservative in the upcoming by-election, following a series of corruption scandals.
The London constituency has been voting Tory since its creation in 1983 and, in the last general election, former Tory MP James Brokenshire who died last month won the largest-ever majority in the area.
But several scandals have been raising questions about Tory politicians’ behaviour in public office, including their attempt to protect former MP Owen Paterson from a lobbying scandal and allegations of cash for peerages.
This meant most residents The Guardian spoke to ahead of the by-election taking place on 2 December have expressed disappointment over Boris Johnson’s handling of the sleaze row – but only some would not for the Conservatives.
Gillian Moore, 64, a poll clerk and retired bank receptionist, told the newspaper she would vote Tory because she does not agree “with a lot of the Labour manifesto”.
“But I’m not impressed with the Conservatives at all,” she added. “I really fancied Boris Johnson as prime minister but I think he’s a waste of space and I’m quite disappointed in him. I don’t think he inspires confidence. He makes promises he doesn’t keep.”
But Guy Plunkett, an 86-year-old former marine insurance broker and lifelong Tory voter, said he is considering voting Labour because the Tories “seem to fall down on promises”.
He added “the sleaze hasn’t helped”, and he agreed with changing parliamentary rules to allow suspended MPs to appeal, but argued the government “chose the wrong time” to take steps towards it.
Meanwhile, two movements supporting London’s independence from the UK and rejoining the EU are teaming up to field a candidate in the by-election.
Londependence, a political party who believes the capital’s values and quality of life are better off beyond the control of Westminster, decided to not stand.
Instead, it will support Rejoin EU party leader Richard Hewison, who will be demanding devolved powers for London because Westminster politics is “hampering” the city in repairing ties with the EU.
Hewison said the Conservative Party is “mired in sleaze” and is “still saying Brexit is the most wonderful thing that’s happened.”
He added: “If I’m elected, one thing I will achieve is that I will be the first person in the UK Parliament who will put on record in Hansard how corrupt and depraved this government is.
“I will use extremely unparliamentary terms to record this government’s disastrous achievements, however many times I’m thrown out of the chamber by the Speaker.
“All the other opposition parties are just too tame at the moment to put on record how awful this government actually is. That’s what I would bring but no other candidate would.”