Friday 21 October 2016

David Cameron in all-night campaign blitz as opinion polls reach deadlock

Scott D'Arcy and James Tapsfield

Published 06/05/2015 | 09:03

British Prime Minister David Cameron
British Prime Minister David Cameron

David Cameron has continued his last-ditch effort to break the opinion poll deadlock by campaigning in target seats through the night.

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The Prime Minister, on a 36-hour campaigning blitz, insisted he always expected the General Election to go down to the wire as a series of polls suggested both the Conservatives and Labour were still within just several points of each other as the campaign entered its final full day.

Prime Minister David Cameron has credited his wife Samantha for 'keeping me sane'
Prime Minister David Cameron has credited his wife Samantha for 'keeping me sane'

On a visit to an Asda depot in Bristol overnight, Mr Cameron spoke about how wife Samantha and their children had got involved with the campaign.

"Of course they want Dad to win for the blue team," he told Sky News.

"They have got very engaged and Samantha has been out campaigning and canvassing, and she has really enjoyed it.

"Because, you know, Samantha, like me, feels we have achieved a lot in the last five years but that has been laying the foundation - a strong economy - and now we want to turn that into something special for our country which is a better life for more people."

Describing the role of prime minister, Mr Cameron said: "There are lonely moments, because there are decisions you have to take - like dealing with terrorism hostages and deploying troops - those decisions in the end one person has to make.

"You can receive all the advice there is, but in the end it can be a lonely moment when you make that decision but it is important that you do."

He was also asked about his recent admission that Samantha wakes him up to stop him talking in his sleep.

"I don't know always what I have been talking about in my sleep," he said. "You would have to ask Samantha. I don't know if it always makes sense when you talk in your sleep."

Pressed on whether he could work with Nick Clegg again in government after a bitterly-fought campaign, Mr Cameron pointed out that they had done so previously to provide "strong stable government".

"What I have said is that I will always put the interests of the country first. That is what a prime minister should do, that is what I do," he said.

"I believe the best interests of the country are an overall Conservative majority, a decisive government that continues with the economic plan, that makes sure we don't have the nightmare of Miliband backed by the SNP, which I think would be so bad for our country.

"But I will always do the right thing for the country."

In an interview with the Press Association yesterday, the Conservative party leader said he thought the public was engaged in one of the most tightly-fought elections in decades and said he "did not buy" the idea that he had failed to meet enough "real" people.

He said: "I have travelled to every country in the United Kingdom, every corner of the UK, I have done social media things I have done big interviews. I think it has been quite a good mixture.

"I am glad we did do a leaders' debate right at the beginning. Last time there was not a campaign.

"This time at least we have been able to get round the country and talk to candidates in marginal seats in a much more meaningful way

"Some people say, 'Are people engaged?' I think they are. I think people are very interested. I think the turn out is going to be quite high. People are thinking quite hard."

Mr Cameron accused his Labour opponent Ed Miliband of trying to use a "con trick" to get into Downing Street on the back of support from the SNP and said there would be a "real question of credibility" if Mr Miliband entered Number 10 without being leader of the largest party.

"This whole thing about a Labour government backed by the SNP in government people feel deeply uneasy about, because it would be a government held to ransom by a group of people that don't want the UK to succeed," he said.

"So there is a massive credibility problem and that, I think, is the issue and people are expressing their concerns about that to me. I am saying if you want to stop that, here is the answer."

Mr Cameron has won the backing of several newspapers, including the Times and the Daily Mail.

Writing in the Times, he said a Conservative defeat would be a "tragedy" and likened Mr Miliband to an "arsonist".

He said: "When I hear him attack this government and what we're doing to fix the mess Labour left, it brings to mind an image of a firefighter putting out a blaze, with the arsonist who started it standing next to him and criticising the job he's doing.

"Britain's future is on a knife-edge. It would be a tragedy if we threw away all the hard work of the past five years and went back to square one. Together we can keep strengthening our economy, creating more jobs, investing in our health service, giving more young people a chance to get on in life."

In an editorial, the paper said: "Mr Cameron says he entered politics because he loves this country. If polls are any guide it does not love him back. Even natural Tories have looked in vain for winning charisma in their leader. Yet for the past five years he has pursued sensible priorities and is the leader of the only party that undertakes to keep pursuing them.

"He began the prodigious task of fixing an economy broken by the financial crisis, and he deserves a chance to finish it."

The Mail, meanwhile, accused Mr Miliband of a "politics of envy" and urged readers to vote tactically in marginals.

Former prime minister Sir John Major, writing in the Daily Telegraph, said: "There is a pattern. Labour wrecks the economy. The Tories repair it but become unpopular in doing so. Labour is re-elected and wrecks it all over again. It is time to break this pattern."

Mr Cameron insisted that he has not spent "any time" during the campaign preparing for the possible need to forge a new coalition following Thursday's vote.

The Prime Minister told ITV1's Good Morning Britain: "I think it's right to talk about the issues in front of the election, and we can analyse the results after the election.

"There is still time for people to make that decisive choice ...

"We hold 303 seats. We need another 23 in order to deliver that majority. I think that is the right answer for Britain. I think people want to see strong, decisive and frankly accountable government, where what's in your manifesto gets delivered, and there's still time for that to happen."

Pressed over whether he had started thinking and having conversations about possible post-election pacts, Mr Cameron said: "I haven't spent any time doing that during this election campaign.

"I'm out there trying to convince people that the Conservative Party has the right answers to keep the economy growing, to keep creating those jobs, cutting those taxes, investing in our NHS.

"After the results, that's the time to then work out what to do, rather than endlessly try and analyse polls and predictions before the results have actually taken place."

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