We'll listen to angry voters who spoilt their ballot papers, say Ipswich councillors
PUBLISHED: 07:02 05 May 2019
Angry voters who spoilt their ballot papers at this year's local elections need to be persuaded to trust politicians in the midst of challenges delivering Brexit, Ipswich councillors have said.
Ipswich Borough Council reported a higher than usual number of spoilt ballot papers during the 2019 vote, with many scrawling “Brexit” across their voting forms.
Ian Fisher, leader of the Conservative group on the authority, said he wished voters had not expressed their frustration by throwing away their votes.
But he said: “We understand why you did it, we'll listen to why you did it.”
Even though it is central government which is responsible for Brexit and not local councils, Mr Fisher say Britain leaving the EU came up a lot on the doorstep.
“The first word that most people said was 'Brexit',” the Castle Hill councillor said.
“Trust also came up a lot, with people saying: 'Why should we vote for you? You're not going to enact what we want anyway.'”
He believes many of the spoilt ballot papers were in protest at the government's handling of Brexit.
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“It's going to be hard to win back trust,” said Mr Fisher.
“To be honest, even when Brexit goes away, I don't think it will be sorted.
“There's an awful lot of people that have been really put off. People don't forget.”
However Ipswich Borough Council leader David Ellesmere believes that trust can be regained on a local level.
“All we've got to do is show the people in Ipswich that when we make a promise, we keep it,” said the Labour councillor.
“For some people, Brexit is the only issue.
“What we need to do is find a resolution, but I'm not sure anybody knows what that resolution is.”
“What I do know is that while Theresa May is prime minister, it is not going to get sorted out.”
“There are so many things that need to happen in this country which are getting held up because of Brexit.”
Some Conservative members have said a new prime minister is needed and that they are looking forward to a time when Theresa May has left office.