AFTER 40 years in office, Frank Field will once more battle to keep his Birkenhead seat, but this time his challenge will be a whole lot harder.

Last year, Mr Field quit the Labour Party and has chosen to form the Birkenhead Social Justice Party, under whose banner he will fight the election.

His strongest challenger will be Mick Whitley, a trade unionist from Birkenhead and Labour's candidate in the Wirral seat.

The Conservatives may benefit from the fact that 52% of Birkenhead's electorate voted to leave the EU in 2016.

They are fielding Stewart Gardiner as their candidate.

Pat Cleary, a local Green Party councillor and Stuart Kelly, a local Liberal Democrat councillor, will also hope to go well on December 12.

How do local people feel about the election?

The LDRS spent an afternoon in Birkenhead, talking to voters about their thoughts on the area’s most meaningful contest in decades.

Kyle Phennah, 23, who is unemployed, said: "I'm going to vote for Labour.

"I've got a lot of student debt and I think Labour will help me out with that more than the Tories."

He also thought Labour's advocacy of a living wage was important, as well as its commitment to public services.

He added: "There's no guarantee we'll stay in the EU or leave whoever gets in. I'm voting Labour because of their general policies, I agree with a lot of them.

"I haven't read much about Frank Field's policies, but I know he's always been my MP and I'll read his stuff before the election."

Similarly Sam Turner, 23, who works as a chef, said: "Getting wages up is my main concern and I trust Labour to do that more than the Conservatives.

"My family have always voted Labour and that's what I've always done."

Just like Mr Phennah, he was not familiar with Frank Field's manifesto and what he was standing for.

However, these views were far from unopposed in the town.

Kevin Bibby, 58, runs Kev's Kabin, a cafe in Birkenhead.

He said: "I'll be voting Tory.

"I used to vote Labour, but I've seen this town get run down over the years.

"Labour have been in here for ever and what have they done?

"They can't blame anyone else, it's always been them here.

"Frank Field has been the MP for 40 years and he's not done anything.

"Only now is he saying he'll do all this stuff."

While Mr Bibby was frustrated with Mr Field's time in office, he saved his harshest words for Jeremy Corbyn: "He refuses to where the poppy, he doesn't back the British army.

"98% of those who die on the battlefield are from working-class backgrounds, so by not supporting the army he's stabbing them all in the back.

"Every time socialists are in power, they ruin the country.

"They never leave it in a better state than it was in before."

Mr Bibby was also a firm supporter of Brexit.

He said: "It might hurt us [his shop] in the short-term, but then we'll recover. We voted out and we want to leave.

"I would consider the Brexit Party if I thought they had a chance, though I think they'd mess the country up if they were in power for longer than six months."

All of those the LDRS spoke to who opposed Labour, voted to leave the EU in 2016 and many had concerns about Jeremy Corbyn’s foreign policy views.

Mike, 38, a cleaner, said: "I'm going to vote Tory now. I've voted Tory the last couple of times. I voted Labour before 2010.

"I'm voting Tory this time because of Boris, there's something I like about him.

"I won't vote Labour because of Jeremy Corbyn, his views on the IRA and stuff.

"I would vote Labour if they were all like Frank Field, he is a good local MP.

"I know he's secured a lot of money for Birkenhead recently. But I won't vote Labour until Jeremy Corbyn leaves."

This was a fairly common theme that could spell trouble for Frank Field.

Many people were fond of him and believed he has fought for their area during his time as an MP, but those same people were persuaded by their pro-Brexit views and their lack of familiarity with Mr Field’s new party to vote Conservative.

Talking to people outside the bus stop next to the Pyramid Shopping Centre, it was clear that while political passions are running high at the moment, there is a sizeable minority of people who simply do not want to vote in the upcoming General Election.

Gerrard Tighe, 49, said: "I'm not going to vote.

"I don't think it will make a difference, it doesn't matter who I vote for."

He shook his head when asked if Brexit, the biggest constitutional event since the Second World War, has changed his mind on that at all.

But Birkenhead's non-voters were not purely driven by apathy, some were driven by exasperation at the incompetence of their politicians.

One lady, who did not want to be named, said: "The Prime Minister is a clown, he even resembles one.

"But I don't think things will change with the current parties, so I'm not going to vote."

Joan Rowe, who is retired, disagreed.

She was adamant that the environment was the biggest issue at this election and therefore she would be voting for Pat Cleary of the Green Party.

That was much more important than Brexit for her.

As the day drew to a close, Bev Moreton, 60, said that while much in politics may have changed some things didn't.

"The Tories are robbers, liars and thieves.

"I don't agree with everything Labour say, but they are the only way to make things better and get the Tories out.

"The Tories get rich on the backs of poor people.

"I don't agree with a second referendum and although I voted to remain the first time around I would probably vote leave this time."

Like every non-Tory voter we spoke to, Ms Moreton made the point that other policy areas are more important than Brexit.

She added: "I work in health care and we really suffer under the Tories.

They don't care about us.

"Labour are the ones that will support us."

A wide range of opinions were expressed by the people of Birkenhead on Wednesday afternoon, something you may not expect in an area where Labour got 77% of the vote in the last election.

But their views show us that politics is in a state of flux, traditional loyalties are changing and Brexit is at the heart of reshaping the political climate.

Yet we will have to wait till December 13 to know just how much our politics has been shaken up.