EXCITEMENT is building as prospective parliamentary candidates marked the 100-day countdown to the general election.
Flick Drummond, who is hoping to win Mike Hancock’s Portsmouth South seat for the Conservatives, launched her campaign in Commercial Road, Portsmouth yesterday.
Ms Drummond, who is up against Lib Dem former Portsmouth City Council leader Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Labour’s Sue Castillon and Steve Harris of Ukip, took to Facebook to praise supporters.
She said: ‘A big thank you to everyone who came to help launch the last 100 days of campaigning before the general election.
‘We spoke to lots of people about how this election is the most important election for a long time.
‘We need to continue our long-term economic plan to make sure we can provide for the NHS, education and defence as well as making sure that our vulnerable are well looked after.’
Earlier in the day Ms Drummond met David Cameron on his visit to Hampshire.
Mr Cameron declared he remains confident shipbuilding will return to Portsmouth a year after first promising he would help make that happen.
The prime minister renewed his pledge during a visit to Bursledon yesterday to outline his party’s promise to cut taxes for hard-up families should he be re-elected in May.
And he revealed a final decision over the yard’s future would be made ‘in the coming weeks’.
It comes despite continued fears from unions and political rivals that nothing substantial will happen given a lack of action thus far.
Speaking to The News, Mr Cameron said: ‘I am confident we will keep the commitments we have made to the people of Portsmouth. Over the last year, we have seen real government intervention.
‘We have seen a new minister for Portsmouth, who has been active, and securing the Ben Ainslie centre has been good news for Portsmouth.
‘We have also got the amazing amount of ship servicing work coming in now the two aircraft carriers will be built, as will the frigates.’
Mr Cameron wrote to The News last January outlining how the government would do everything it could to protect the shipyard and how he wanted to see shipbuilding being retained.
It came after BAE Systems decided to transfer its shipbuilding operation to the Clyde, in Scotland.
Mr Cameron, who also insisted shipbuilding was coming back during a visit last year, said: ‘There is a very bright future for Portsmouth, but there are more things we need to sort out, and I am confident that will happen in the weeks ahead.’
Speaking to Tory members at Bursledon Community Centre, Mr Cameron said £30bn of spending ‘readjustments’ need to be made in the next two years, with £12bn coming from the benefits system.
And the prime minister praised Hampshire Constabulary for its hard work despite fears that cuts are bringing the force ‘to its knees’.
He said: ‘I congratulate Hampshire police on a 26 per cent reduction in crime over the last four years.
‘There’s a lot that still needs to be done in terms of sharing resources and functions with other neighbouring forces, but they have managed to cut crime.’
Mr Cameron said the key aims of the Conservative Party’s manifesto are to raise the wage at which people must start paying income tax to £12,500, raise the threshold at which workers pay the higher 40p rate of income tax from £41,900 to £50,000 and to provide tax-free childcare.