Voter turnout in Buckinghamshire on July 4 mirrored the national picture of decline – with nearly 40 per cent of the Wycombe electorate choosing to stay at home. We asked people on the High Street whether they were surprised by the figures.

Last Thursday was a historic day in local politics – with Tory strongholds Aylesbury and Wycombe both going red and just two Conservative MPs holding on to their seats.

Voter turnout across the UK was around 60 per cent, the lowest since 2001, and the turnout for Wycombe – 61 per cent – was 11 per cent less than in 2019.

Luke Woodley, 44, who works in marketing and voted for Conservative candidate Steve Baker both in 2019 and last week, said he wasn’t surprised so many people decided to stay at home.

“I wasn’t sure who I was going to vote for, even when I was walking down the road to the polling station. I ended up voting for the Tories because that’s what I’ve always done, and I don’t favour the Labour Party at all.

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“With our system, it’s one or the other so I essentially held my nose and voted. I certainly wasn’t enthusiastic, and I suspect the mood here was pretty much the same as most of the country.”

Pearl and Brian Montague, 68 and 64, said they thought it was “very important to vote” and that “if you don’t vote, you can’t complain about the things that go on in government”.

Pearl, who is retired, said she has always voted Labour because of her dad but thinks Emma Reynolds will be a good MP and was “over the moon” when Wycombe went red last week.

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However, Brian, also retired, said he doesn’t think local problems like potholes will “ever get changed”, regardless of who’s in charge, because “there’s just not enough money”.

Katherine and Tom, both 19-year-old students and first-time voters, said they hadn’t felt inspired by Labour or the Conservatives and had chosen marginal parties more closely aligned with their beliefs.

Katherine, who is studying in London but came back home to cast her vote, said she “figured Labour would win” so “felt safer voting where my real opinion lay” – that is, with the Green Party.

Tom, who lives in Beaconsfield, voted for Liberal Democrats candidate Anna Crabtree, who lost out to the Tories by around 5,000 votes.

He said he made the choice because “it would be really interesting for politics if the Lib Dems had managed to get more seats than the Conservatives and became the opposition party”.

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Jennifer Bruce-Mitford, 76, a retiree who lives in Penn, in the Lib Dem-held Chesham and Amersham constituency, said she had been persuaded to support MP Sarah Green in 2021 after a lifetime of voting Conservative because of her personability and willingness to listen to local concerns.

And Sarah Liddle, 58, a telephone engineer from Oakley, in Tory-held Mid Buckinghamshire, said she was glad she had exercised her right to vote, even if it hadn’t achieved the desired result.

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“People think there’s no point in voting, then they’re unhappy when their voice isn’t represented. I voted Labour, and where I live was always going to go Conservative. But I was looking at the national picture rather than the local one, so it still feels like I’ve made a difference. It’s something that was ingrained in me – my parents always said, ‘Vote, vote vote’.”