MANY of the houses around Cammock Avenue and Cammock Crescent are bungalows, so there could be some retired people at home on a weekday afternoon at this time of year

Fiona Mills, the UK Independence Party’s candidate for Carlisle, is campaigning with the city’s only Ukip councillor, John Denholm.

The Brexit party aren’t contesting Carlisle, but she adds: “It isn’t a proper party.

“It doesn’t have members, only supporters. It’s just Nigel.

“We are a democratic party and we have a full manifesto.”

There’s a sleepy feel to the area they are visiting and she finds: “Weekends are best, when people are at home.

“But weekdays are good for delivering leaflets.” Every house gets one, but responses on the doorstep when they come are lukewarm – unlike the weather.

“I haven’t decided yet,” says one elderly lady.

“I never voted to join in the first place,” says one of her neighbours. But he doesn’t commit to voting for a leave candidate at election time.

Another elderly lady is returning home just as Fiona knocks her door.

She speaks for many voters when she says: “I’m sick of hearing about it. Every time you switch on the television it’s the only thing that’s on.”

And asked if she’ll accept a leaflet, she says: “No, I won’t bother.”

It is a reaction that all the political candidates are used to hearing. It may be a decisive yet unpredictable election but Fiona finds: “Voter apathy is an issue.

“People are so fed up. They get to the stage when they think: ‘I don’t care any more.’

There’s a more positive reaction in Brisco Meadows. A former Tory voter says he is switching his vote to Ukip.

He says he doesn’t trust Boris Johnson to deliver Brexit – after his pledge to “die in a ditch” rather than delay it beyond the end of last month.

“I think it’s a deliberate policy, to drag it out so that in the end people accept any old deal.”

Another man out walking his dog was a Brexit supporter who said at first that there was no-one he could vote for.

Then he said: “Is that Fiona Mills?

“I voted for her last time. I hadn’t heard she was standing.”

Many supporters come from among the ranks of Conservative voters but Fiona finds: “We are picking up a lot of people who are disaffected Labour voters.

She adds: “I’ve got a lot of friends and relatives who voted differently from me in the referendum.

“But now they are saying: ‘The people voted to leave. We should respect that.’

“If we believe in democracy we should carry out the decision.”

Now that the Conservatives have promised to deliver Brexit, and the Brexit party have emerged, does Ukip still have a role?

Fiona insists that they do. “John Stevenson voted for Theresa May’s surrender deal, and Boris Johnson is a huge risk,” she says.

“There are so many negotiations to come afterwards and there’s no guarantee of anything at all.

“I’m sure there will be extension after extension after extension. We were supposed to leave at the end of October.

“I don’t think they are going to give us a proper trade agreement.

“Ukip are providing people with a choice.”

She also says: “Some people have changed their minds, but if they are converting they are moving to leave rather than remain. “

Minority candidates like Fionas face an uphill struggle. The Ukip vote dropped sharply between the 2015 election and the 2017 snap election.

And it is common in most general elections for supporters of the smaller parties to back one of the two main contenders in their constituency – particularly in a Conservative/Labour marginal like Carlisle.

Add in an increase in tactical voting and historic party loyalties, and it begins to look like a choice between two.

To Fiona it’s a problem with the voting system. “We don’t have democracy in this country.

“What we need is proportional representation.

“People would be much more inclined to vote if the thought their vote would count.

“They could vote for the party they actually believed in, not the one they disliked least.

“But people are so ingrained in tactical voting.

“There are Conservatives who regret not voting for me in 2017.

“What what you find among the Conservatives in particular is that they are very tribal.

“I had to stand because I wanted to give people a choice.

And she declares; “If all the Brexit supporters in Carlisle voted for me I would win.”