Voters in Bury South reacted with a mixture of surprise, support, and opposition after their local MP Christian Wakeford defected from Tory to Labour on Wednesday.
In Radcliffe, the centre of the constituency, the MP’s office, painted in true-blue Tory colours, was shuttered.
Outside on the street, ex-Labour and current Tory voter Mavis Leach said: “Well, I’m surprised. Are there others doing it, as well, getting out of a sinking ship before it goes down?”
Mrs Leach, who said she disavowed Labour because of a dislike for former leader Jeremy Corbyn, said Boris Johnson should stay on as Prime Minister.
“I know he’s done wrong, done a lot of things wrong,” she said. “Boris has done a lot of things. We know that.
“But I think he’s done a good job in other things, (such as) bringing the vaccinations in, and we’re in a good place for that.”
Another local, Jonathan Boston, a Labour supporter, said Mr Wakeford’s change in loyalty is “really good news”.
“Presumably, it’s all to do with partygate”, he said, referring to allegations of lockdown-busting parties within No 10, though a Labour spokesman has since said talks with Mr Wakeford began before the scandal hit.
Mr Boston said: “From what one hears, all the MPs have had millions of emails from constituents saying, ‘It’s terrible and he’s got to go,’ so I don’t think any Tory voter, even in Radcliffe, or Bury South or whatever, would be surprised at (the defection).
“(It’s) probably the first of many, I would have thought, especially the newer MPs. I think a lot of the newer ones will do a similar thing.”
Meanwhile, Chris Holland said he rated Mr Wakeford as a local MP but had not voted for him.
He said: “I’ve never voted Tory and I never would do. I’ve messaged him a few times and he has got back to me.
“To me, he’s not been doing too bad. I’d rather have a Labour (MP) than a Tory.”
David Collins, who runs Marie’s Coffee Shop, a stone’s throw from Mr Wakeford’s constituency office, said: “I probably wouldn’t vote for either of them anyway, Labour or Conservative.
“They’re all as bad as each other.
“They all promise they’re going to do things and none of it ever materialises, does it?
“You wouldn’t think you were able to jump ship halfway through, would you?”
Tory voter Joan Humphreys said she feels like her tick at the ballot box has now been wasted.
She said: “I feel like going down there and saying, ‘Right. I want to withdraw it.’
“If he wants to become Labour, and he wants to support Labour’s policies, we should have a by-election and see what the people say.
“If Boris had held his hands up at the beginning, people would have been far more forgiving about it, but he’s not.
“But who are you going to have instead of Boris? I can’t see anybody else.”