What do voters in Hartlepool make of Conservative Party 'sleaze' allegations?

ITV News North of England Reporter hears from voters in Hartlepool what they make of the past few weeks of Westminster scandal

In Hartlepool, where the Conservatives sailed to their latest victory.

The so-called sleaze scandal is causing ripples - but not waves.

At the cafe visited by Boris Johnson during the election campaign, few are surprised by the revelations of the past ten days, though the vote to change the rules to help Owen Paterson has caused some consternation.

"We don’t want them to get away with things but if they do have time to get a second job then I don’t care as long as they’re here to do their job," said Julie Addison, a cafe worker.

Boris Johnson campaigning with Jill Mortimer in Hartlepool. Credit: PA Images

Hartlepool’s MP Jill Mortimer, who took victory for the Conservatives in a by-election six months ago, was one of 13 of the party’s MPs to rebel against the government over the rule change.

But neither she, nor the Metro Mayor Ben Houchen, nor any of Hartlepool’s councillors were willing to discuss the issue on camera on Thursday.

Some claim they’ve received no emails at all about Conservative Party "sleaze", they would certainly rather point to delivering on local priorities - though again, not on camera.

It’s a tactic that worked out well during the by-election, when Labour attempts to talk about the cost of Boris Johnson’s wallpaper or who paid for his holiday in the end made no difference to the outcome. 

Geoffrey Cox has become embroiled in a sleaze scandal.

But people here have noticed the events of the past fortnight - "sleaze" is a word that gets repeated, unprompted, when we ask about the Conservative Party.

But in the next breath many voters say they don’t feel there’s a credible alternative.

One woman describes Boris Johnson as "crackers", says she voted for him and isn’t convinced at all, but then shrugs her shoulders at the idea of voting for anyone else.

While this episode is undeniably of the Conservative government’s own making, it plays into many people’s wider distrust of politics as a whole.

The shine may be coming of Boris Johnson, but politics as a whole isn’t bathed in a favourable light.