Greater Manchester Covid standoff and free school meals row have not impressed a former ‘red wall’ town

When the Conservatives won a landslide majority in December last year, Justina Smyth, 35, was “more than happy”. Standing in the drizzle outside the Polish shop Baltic on Heywood high street in Greater Manchester on Friday, she recalled how she “had been surprised what help they seemed to be offering single parents” after the party promised to encourage flexible working.

But 10 months on, Smyth, originally from Poland, said she “definitely would not vote for them again” and had decided to vote Labour in the next election.

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