A CONSERVATIVE by-election candidate has said that most voters consider the Partygate scandal to be “left-wing propaganda rubbish”.

In an interview with The Argus, Lynda Hyde - the Conservatives’ candidate for the Rottingdean Coastal by-election this week, said that the scandal of Conservative politicians and staff holding parties at a time when public health restrictions prohibited such gatherings had not been a significant issue while campaigning.

More than 50 fixed penalty notices have been issued by police over gatherings held while Covid restrictions were in place, including to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, his wife Carrie, and Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

Ms Hyde said the scandal had only been raised on the doorstep “very very rarely, but I think they’re probably not our voters anyway”.

She said: “People have seen the photos - they were in the garden, they were working together anyway.

“In fact, it has motivated those ‘true blues’ to definitely go out and vote, because they are fed up of this bloody Partygate which they consider insignificant.”

Ms Hyde also accused Labour and Keir Starmer of “grasping at straws” over the scandal.

“He’s got no policies of his own, so he’s looking for personal vendettas,” she said.

“I would say the majority of people think it is all left-wing propaganda rubbish.”

Prime Minister Johnson apologised several times in his first appearance in the Commons after being fined over a Downing Street party in June 2020.

In a speech last month he said: “I take this opportunity on the first available sitting day to repeat my wholehearted apology to the House as soon as I received the notice, I acknowledge the hurt and the anger.

“I repeat that was my mistake and I apologise for it unreservedly.”

He has, however, insisted that he will not resign and will fight the next general election - expected to be held in 2024.

Speaking to the BBC’s Sunday Morning programme last month, Labour leader Keir Starmer said that the prime minister has himself to blame for the focus on Partygate.

He said: “No prime minister in the history of our country has even been in that position before.

“His moral authority, his authority to lead, is shot through and his own side have now had enough of defending him.”

There are six candidates running in the by-election on May 5. The full list of candidates are; Libby Darling (Green), Lynda Hyde (Conservative), Robert Mcintosh (Labour), Stewart Stone (Liberal Democrats), Stephen White (independent) and Alison Wright (independent).