It needs sorting out, but who’s there to do the sorting?” said Margaret Beswick, 65, a retired soap factory worker and Labour supporter as far back as she can remember, until now. “Labour should go, but all the parties are in it to some extent, aren’t they?
“Everyone I talk to says they just won’t bother if there’s a vote, but we want all these people out even so.”
Her friend Brenda Walton, a works supervisor agreed. “What if we cheated on our benefits? We’d be up in court,” she said. “Why aren’t these MPs who feathered their nests with us paying?”
Three weeks of further revelations about other MPs have not lessened local anger with Blears, according to Edward Murray, 53, who was taking a smoking break from the export packing factory where he works, close to Salford Labour party’s closed and silent headquarters. Traditional Labour supporters such as himself were taking it hardest, he said.
“She’s let Salford people down with plain greed,” he said. “MPs get paid enough – they don’t have to take it off the working-class people. As a Salfordian myself, I think it’s disgraceful. She’ll never get my vote again.”
The scandal was worse at a time of recession, he said. The timing of Blears’s announcement, just before the local and European elections and in advance of a cabinet reshuffle, didn’t surprise him, although such politicking was secondary in his view to the simple need for her to step down.
“She’s done it now because he picked on her, I suppose,” he said. “But then she said all that stuff about him on YouTube. He was trying to deter others coming out against him like that, I guess, but they’re going to.
“If they get together, which I think they will, they’ll topple him. His problem is that we never voted for him to be prime minister … If there is an election now, Labour will lose.”
Elaine Edwards, 64, a retired cleaner at Salford’s Hope hospital who was out shopping with her daughter and granddaughter, said that the greed was devastating for Labour supporters. “If my mam, bless her soul, was still alive, she’d be heartbroken,” she said.
Students streaming past the Labour office which stands opposite Salford University’s main campus, had nothing encouraging to say for either the MP or the government. Josh Walker, 21, said: “It’s depressing because it’s got people slagging off democracy. That’s the worst damage Hazel Blears and the others have done to their own parliament.