A TORY MP swapped Somerset for South Shields to find out why the town is in the grips of a Labour of love.
Jacob Rees-Mogg MP left behind his leafy constituency in search of an answer to why South Shields has never returned a Conservative parliamentarian in its electoral history.
The member for Somerset North East dropped in out of the blue at the Royal British Legion Club in Queen Street, South Shields, this week – with a TV news team in tow – to see if his party can ever prove a vote winner in a Labour strong-hold.
But it was full house rather than the House of Commons that focused minds as Mr Rees-Mogg called a game of bingo while at the close-knit club.
After eyes were down, he remained upbeat that the number isn’t up for the Tories in South Shields.
The South Shields seat has been under Labour control since 1935.
Jacob Rees-Mogg said: “The reason I have been here, along with Channel 4 News, is because South Shields is the only seat formed in the election reform act of 1832 never to have returned a Conservative MP.
“But I was very interested that in last year’s South Shields by-election, 36 per cent voted for UKIP and the Conservatives, so there is a right-wing vote.
“There is a very strong attachment to Labour here, but I’ve walked around the town and it’s no different to a lot of other towns that do have Conservatives in power.
“There is a general disenchantment with politics, where people think we are all the same.”
While the borough has never turned blue, the optimistic 44-year-old said his reception was anything but off-colour.
He added: “The people here have been so kind. What I love about politics in this country, wherever you go, people are always friendly and engaged.
“They don’t make it personal against you, even if they don’t agree with your politics.”
Mr Rees-Mogg’s visit to the town will be shown on Channel 4 News this week.