Things are different in a winter election. As well as her red rosette, Ruth Alcroft wears a red hat and scarf. When you campaign after 5pm, it’s dark. Hence the head torches worn by Ruth and her fellow canvassers on their way through Denton Holme. “I’d been quite blasé about campaigning in the dark,” says Ruth. “Then I fell over.”

Perhaps the effectiveness, or otherwise, of LED street lights should be a factor in next month’s General Election. According to Ruth, Labour’s candidate in Carlisle, Brexit is higher on most people’s agenda.

“There’s a lot of frustration about Brexit, and politics in general,” she says. “There’s a sense that people definitely want it resolved. But I wouldn’t say remainers are resigned to it happening.”

Labour has been accused of a lack of clarity over its Brexit stance. Ruth says: “It’s become clearer since we said ‘Whatever deal we get, we’ll go back to the people for a confirmatory ballot.’ That’s made it easier for us.”

She reports that a sign at a house in Harraby said ‘Unless you want to deliver Brexit, don’t darken our door.’ This is polite, compared with many statements aimed at politicians in recent years.

“There’s anger at politicians. People have shut the door in our faces. People have shouted at us. People have called us liars. I’m offended by that. I say ‘I’m not a liar, thanks.’ Sometimes that breaks the ice. I try and keep the conversation friendly.”

Ruth believes that some politicians - notably Boris Johnson - have set a bad example. “The language that is used in politics - Boris Johnson dismissing Paula Sherriff’s concerns [the Labour MP accused Johnson of using inflammatory language] as ‘humbug’. If the Prime Minister is belittling other people’s experiences, you’re in a climate where people think it’s ok to be rude. I’ve got a few people who are wary of coming out canvassing. Most people are positive. It’s the odd one or two.”

One man said to her about politicians: “I’d put a firework under them.”

“I said to him ‘One of our MPs was murdered.’ That kind of throwaway comment... that sense that politicians are fair game.”

Ruth has represented Denton Holme on Carlisle City Council since 2016. She stood in the 2017 General Election, gaining 2,599 fewer votes than John Stevenson.

She is an education officer at Houghton-based Susan’s Farm, helping children learn about farming. She is also friendly, earnest and enthusiastic: vital qualities for anyone knocking on doors and announcing themselves as a politician.

Ruth and her team start canvassing on Richardson Street just after 6pm. Several knocks go unanswered. Finally a door is opened. “It’s a bad time,” says the woman standing behind it. “I’m making tea.”

Ruth manages to establish that the woman will be voting Labour. Several similar conversations occur.

“I’m just dishing my tea up.”

“Will you be voting?”

“Yes. I always vote Labour.”

One Labour-supporting man is uncomfortable with the party over Brexit. “I voted to remain. But the country has voted to leave. Jeremy Corbyn isn’t clear with what he wants. I believe the result of the referendum should have been accepted.”

The man’s wife is concerned about their names being published: “We don’t want eggs thrown at the house,” she says. Welcome to politics, 2019-style.

Most of Ruth’s team seem to be in their 20s. They include Adam Sawczuk, who is training to be a clinical psychologist. “The impact successive cuts had to the services I worked in prompted me to join Labour four or five years ago.

“As an NHS professional I saw it as my duty to fight for a properly-funded health system. People are waiting far too long to see professionals, by which time the problems have escalated.”

Ruth says: “This is a chance to show people who we are and what we stand for. It’s about the NHS, schools, transport. People are wanting the chance to change.”

But do they want Jeremy Corbyn? “I think people have been affected by what they’ve read in newspapers. But people really like our policies. We’re really excited about the changes we’re proposing. We’ve said how we’re going to pay for it.”

She and her team prepare to knock on more doors in the Denton Holme gloom. Whether canvassing really helps political parties is difficult to tell. Adam says that, if nothing else, it seems to have helped one Carlisle couple.

“We went to a house where one person voted to leave and the other voted remain. They hadn’t really talked about it for three years. It all came out on the doorstep. Being a therapist, I know it’s good to talk.”