THE Isle of Wight is the largest constituency in the country and a Tory stronghold at that, so it came as no surprise that both Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak made a beeline to cross The Solent in their quest for votes from party members.

They spoke to around 200 Isle of Wight Conservative Party members, presumably telling them the Island would benefit in a multitude of ways if they were Prime Minister, without signing any kind of actual Island Deal as proof.

Certainly, when I met with Mr Sunak (no interviews with Ms Truss), he was careful not to make any promises he couldn't keep. This left me pondering which was worse — Boris's mythical Island Deal pledge left unfulfilled, or Rishi's reluctance to commit from the off. Sigh.

The Conservatives missed a trick when inviting them over. If indeed they really wanted to make a case for an Island Deal, why only show them successful businesses and plush venues?

Mr Sunak's visit to Cowes during its busiest week of the year even coincided with a royal visit and Spitfire display.

Our visitors must have left thinking the Island was wonderful (it is, of course), but without realising the scale of the real issues residents face.

Here's what I would have shown them.

Firstly, I would have got them over with the morning commuters, via Red Funnel on one of the many strike days (other ferry operators are available, but in the interests of this project, let's go with the one making headlines when it comes to inconveniencing passengers). Our visitors could queue with the commuters to talk about the real-life effects of the service. No use sitting up front with the captain just enjoying the view.

Isle of Wight County Press: Red Funnel staff striking over pay.Red Funnel staff striking over pay.

I would then take them to Sandown, and ask why a beautiful bay should be blighted by derelict hotels, abandoned by neglectful owners. Surely more could be done to engender some social responsibility?

Isle of Wight County Press: The derelict Ocean Hotel in Sandown.The derelict Ocean Hotel in Sandown.

Then we could travel down Newport High Street to question why there are so many empty business premises.

Isle of Wight County Press: Empty shops in Newport.Empty shops in Newport.

For lunch we could pop to the Better Days Cafe in Ventnor. It's a new initiative which gives people the chance to volunteer, try out the world of work, be signposted towards services, and gain confidence. The cafe is pledging to be a hub to keep people warm in the winter if they can't afford to heat their homes.

Isle of Wight County Press: Volunteers setting up the Better Days Cafe in January. They've given it a complete makeover.Volunteers setting up the Better Days Cafe in January. They've given it a complete makeover.

Afterwards we would head to one of the caravan parks, where not only are tourists enjoying their summer holidays, but many local families have been forced to reside because they can't find any other affordable accommodation.

Isle of Wight County Press:

A quick swing by St Mary's Hospital would be interesting too, to see the illuminated board outside which shows how long the wait time is.

Isle of Wight County Press:

At the time of Mr Sunak and Ms Truss's visits, St Mary's was in the midst of a critical incident, with 71 patients stuck there, unable to be discharged because there was no social care available in the community.

Let's pop to the Footprint Trust to talk about how people are coping with crippling energy costs and see what the experts there have to say about how ordinary families, and indeed businesses, will cope with this sudden change to the finances.

To send our visitors back to London with a final memory of the Island's unique problems, I would wait until very, very late at night, say 9pm, and see if there was a quick passenger route available across The Solent from Ryde.

Apparently there's no demand. Back to Cowes it would have to be, with Red Funnel to the rescue.

(If any prospective Prime Minister would like to take me up on my Isle of Wight tour, my DMs are open).

Isle of Wight County Press: Rishi Sunak interviewed by CP head of content Lori Little.Rishi Sunak interviewed by CP head of content Lori Little.