On a boarded-up window of a dilapidated former pub near the shuttered steelworks is a royal-blue poster with one word: ‘Conservatives’.
Less than a week away from an election in Britain, it looks like a battle flag planted behind enemy lines. This is north-east England, dyed red by the Labour Party for generations, and the idea of anything else in the region’s dejected post-industrial towns would have been unthinkable just a year ago....
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