The conservative campaign in Eastleigh is still drawing in the big guns.
Former party leader William Hague has been canvassing in Hedge End followed the day after by the Defence Secretary Michael Fallon.
In an interview at the Hedge End Conservative Club, William Hague told me these high profile visits were a measure of the importance the Conservatives have attached to winning the Eastleigh seat back from the Liberal Democrats.
I asked Hague, who is retiring from politics after this election, about David Cameron’s pledge not to introduce any tax rises during the life of the next parliament – a promise that will be backed, the PM said, by legislation.
Labour Treasury spokesman Chris Leslie has described the promise as “a desperate last-minute gimmick” a description echoed by a Liberal Democrat spokesman who warned of cuts to benefits and services:
“This is yet another gimmick from David Cameron to deflect attention from the fact that the Tories have abandoned the plan followed by the coalition and instead want to slash and burn support for millions of families.”
In response Hague told Eastleigh News:
“If it was a gimmick it would be easy to copy but they wont because under a labour government taxes go up for working people they keep talking about tax rises but they wont tell what tax rises.
Labour wont give the same guaratntee about tax rises.”
The next day it was Defence Secretary Michael Fallon to speak to local reporters while he was out doorstepping voters in West end with candidate Mims Davies.
Fallon spoke to Eastleigh News about the importance of overseas aid which he said is a vital part of the UK’s overall defence strategy.
Overseas spending, said the minister, can help prevent poorer countries from being radicalised against the West and it was in also in the UK’s interest that British troops should be deploye to West Africa to fight Ebola.
Recently Fallon controversially described Ed Miliband as having “stabbed his brother in the back” to gain the Labour party leadership and he was no less scathing about Eastleigh’s last MP Mike Thornton who is standing for re-election on May 7.
“In the last couple of years I cant recall a single thing the current MP has said or done in parliament”
Fallon said while insisting that the local economy was recovering thanks to Conservative policies and not due to the Liberal Democrats.
The following candidates are also standing in the Eastleigh Parliamentary Election:
Declan Clune – TUSC
Mark Latham- Labour
Mike Thornton – Liberal Democrat
Patricia Culligan -Ukip
Ray Hall – Beer, Baccy and Scratchings
Ron Meldrum – Green