Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Zoe Tidman

NHS staff, teachers and shop workers say public ‘need a voice’ with general election now

The Independent

The UK needs a general election to “give the public a voice” in how the country is run, workers have said.

NHS staff, teachers and shop assistants told The Independent they wanted a chance to choose a government they believe represents them to steer the country through the economic crisis.

“The government at the moment doesn’t know what the hell is going on outside,” Angie Wilson, an NHS catering assistant in the North West, said.

More than 460,000 people have signedThe Independent’s petition for a general election now after the last two prime ministers entered Downing Street without a public vote.

Have you been affected by this story? Contact

Hundreds of workers were set to rally for a general election in central London on Wednesday evening.

The Independent spoke to some who work in the NHS, education, retail and call centres ahead of the demonstration.

“The country is in a mess. Absolute mess,” Sandrene Wright, who works in a Morrisons supermarket in Crewe, said.

“I’m 57, so I can remember little bits of the 70s and that was crazy. But I think they don’t know - excuse my language - their arse from their elbow at the moment.”

She added: “We need some stability. We need a government that isn’t on the side of the rich people.”

Sandrene Wright says the UK is ‘in a mess' (Zoe Tidman / The Independent)

NHS catering worker Ms Wilson also wanted a general election: “It’s been far too long.”

“The government at the moment doesn’t know what the hell is going on outside,” the 58-year-old said. “They seem to be living in their own little ivory towers and not understanding what is actually going on poverty-wise on our streets in this country.”

Angie Wilson says it has been ‘far too long’ since the UK had a general election (Zoe Tidman / The Independent)

Ms Wilson added: “I also believe we are the absolute laughing stock of the world at the moment.”

John Plannery, who also works for Southport and Ormskirk hospital trust, said the UK has had several prime ministers who have had their say on the direction of the UK - and now it’s the public’s turn.

“We have had people who’ve come into power who haven’t been elected. It’s a very small minority of the country. most of which are out of touch with the general population,” the staff site lead said.

John Plannery says he wants a general election (Zoe Tidman / The Independent)

“They’re not working class. They don’t understand the struggles that we have. But actually they’re making policy decisions that impact the most part of the country.”

Meanwhile Deb Egglestone, a technology teacher at a secondary school in Durham, said she “most certainly” wanted a general election.

“The cabinet has been selected by someone who been completely brought in by, fluke, to be honest. His predecessor was voted for by a miniscule amount of people,” she said.

Deb Egglestone says she wants a general election (Zoe Tidman / The Independent)

“As far as the madate they have to do what they’re doing... they haven’t got one.”

Boris Johnson won the last general election for the Tories in 2019. He stepped down in summer after a myriad of scandals.

Liz Truss took over after a Tory leadership campaign that saw members - but not the public - vote for PM. After she stepped down after 45 days, Rishi Sunak entered Downing Street after a vote by MPs.

“It can’t go on like this. They can’t keep passing the parcel of who is going to be the next PM when ordinary people get no voice in it whatsoever,” Frances O’Grady from the Trades Union Congress told The Independent.

“I think the only way we can resolve it is with a general election.”

The general secretary said workers were sick of being treated as a “Tory experiment”, citing the mini-Budget and “reverse Robin Hood” policies.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady with deputy general secretary Paul Nowak are calling for a general election (Jess Hurd / TUC)

“I think the public has had it up to here with this government and their incompetence and chaos,” she said.

“They keep coming back to attack working people even though we’ve seen key workers during the pandemic described by ministers as heroes and now being disrespected and expected to suck up more pay cuts at a time everbody has bills to pay.”

Most workers who had gathered for the rally in Westminster told The Independent they wanted Labour to win the next general election.

But Dawn Roberts, an NHS worker, said she did not know what she was hoping for from a public vote.

“I just want for it to be brought back to the people and for the people to have their say,” she said.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.