'Red wall' constituency Blyth reacts to Liz Truss' pledge to get country 'through the stormy days'

People living in a key Conservative constituency have given their reaction to Prime Minister Liz Truss' speech on the final day of the Conservative Party conference.

Blyth was the first traditionally Labour-voting seat to turn blue in the 2019 General Election.

Major themes for Ms Truss included building and strengthening the economy, and pledging to get the country 'through the stormy days' in reference to the global economic crisis caused by the pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

Despite the words of hope, businesses and residents in the town responding to the Prime Minister's performance so far were left unimpressed.

Marc McPake owns four businesses in Blyth. He said the cost of living crisis and financial turmoil during Liz Truss's short leadership is having an effect.

"People vote by their feet, they tell us how they're feeling by whether they come in or they don't come in. And right now we're at 50% capacity to where we were a month ago and that's already at a 50% reduction on where we were before all of this started," Mr McPake told ITV News Tyne Tees.

He added: "Corporation tax is frozen at 19%, corporation tax is based on profits. Survival is where we're at right now."

On the streets of Blyth, one resident said: "Life just seems to get harder with the cost of living crisis and I just think we need a different change."

Another added: "The sooner Mrs Truss abandons her job, the better."

One woman said: "She's there for herself and her rich friends. She's got no idea how us ordinary people live."

In her speech on Wednesday, Ms Truss said: "As the last few weeks have shown, whenever there is change, it will be difficult, whenever there's change, there is disruption. And not everyone will be in favour of change, but everyone will benefit from the result. A growing economy and a better future."

Those at the party conference were more convinced.

David Metcalfe, a Conservative party member from Newcastle said: "I thought it was an excellent speech, I think she did a lot to calm the nerves a bit. Some of the nerves that have been coming out recently have been torn to shreds, and what she did was starting to put them back together again."

Conservative councillor for Bishop Auckland Joanne Howey said: "I found it actually really invigorating, uplifting. After mixed messages of the last few days, I think it's now time to come together and it felt like that time to come together, and we're all united."

"This is the Liz Truss I voted for for party leader, it's the Liz Truss the country will vote for at the next election, and that's answered a lot of questions about her," added Conservative party member Matthew Clarke, from Consett.

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