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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

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Cameron: Tories can win Carlisle seat

Morale mission:  Tory leader David Cameron meets  parliamentary candidate for Carlisle John Stephenson   in the city yesterday DAVID HOLLINS

By Julian Whittle

CONSERVATIVE leader David Cameron has predicted that the Tories will win in Carlisle at the next general election.

He made the forecast as he visited the city yesterday to boost party workers’ morale ahead of the local elections on May 3.

Mr Cameron said: “Carlisle is a vital seat to us and I’m keen we plant the Conservative flag.

“We have a very strong candidate and a very strong [Conservative-led] city council.

“I see no reason why we shouldn’t win here.”

Carlisle’s sitting Labour MP Eric Martlew had a majority of 5,695 at the last election in 2005 but boundary changes will make the seat more marginal when it is next contested.

Mr Cameron met John Stevenson, the Conservatives’ choice to take on Mr Martlew, and the party’s candidates standing in the city council elections.

He told them: “We have a really positive message at these elections.

“We believe in fighting grime and fighting crime.

“If we clean up neighbourhoods and keep the streets clean we will have safer communities.

“Conservative-run councils have lower rates of crime, they are cleaner and greener with the highest rates of recycling and lower council tax.

“Carlisle [City Council] can be considered one of the best.”

He added: “The Labour Party is in deep trouble and doesn’t know if it is coming or going. This is a real opportunity to get into parts of constituencies and wards that have not been as welcoming in the past.”

Mr Cameron was accompanied by the former Ulster Unionist Party leader Lord Trimble.

They went on to Gretna Green to make a speech praising the union between England and Scotland as part of the campaign for the Scottish parliamentary elections.

Mr Cameron, who in keeping with his green credentials arrived in Carlisle by train, also visited the Steven’s Croft biomass power plant being built near Lockerbie.

This was Mr Cameron’s first visit to Carlisle since he became party leader in December 2005.

He last came in the run-up to the 2005 general election when he toured Kingmoor Park and the site of the fire-ravaged Rathbones bakery at Durranhill Industrial Estate.

Mr Martlew, however, remains confident he will hold the seat for Labour.

He said: “Every Tory leader since Alec Douglas-Home, has said the same and they have all been wrong.

“Cameron is wrong too. Not only will they not win Carlisle, he won’t be Prime Minister.”

Carlisle last had a Conservative MP in 1964.

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