Sir Edward Leigh brushed off polls which have shown a Labour lead nationally, saying he doubts they are accurate.
The PPC, who has been an MP for more than 30 years, and defends a 10,000-plus majority, said he was not complacent, and would fight a hard campaign, visiting each of the 120 villages in his Gainsborough constituency.
At the Conservative Party’s general and local election campaign launched outside the Guildhall, Gainsborough, on Monday, Sir Edward likened the situation to the 1992 General Election, which saw voter fears over Labour management of the economy lead the Tories to overcome Labour polling leads and win.
He saw Ed Miliband as being the same as Gordon Brown, “both Old Labour”, saying for the party to have a hope, they had to be New Labour, which brought them success under Tony Blair.
“Ed Milliband is a throwback. He’s not entirely convincing on immigration, Europe, dealing with the deficit. Two million immigrants entered Britain during the Labour years. At least the Conservatives will try and control immigration,” he said.
The Conservatives, he continued, were the only party that could deliver a referendum on Europe, saying Labour opposes it and UKIP cannot deliver one as it lacks the numbers. “If we want jobs and prosperity, you have to have a balanced economy. I am confident we will win on the day, but it’s going to be tight,” he added.
Council leader Jeff Summers hoped to make gains to strengthen his party’s majority on West Lindsey to help it deliver further efficiencies and its ‘Entrepreneurial Council.’ This involves WLDC using its ‘assets’ to create revenues to offset cuts in grants from central government, while protecting services.
“We have achieved significant efficiencies during a period of austerity when we have had to suffer £3 million of cuts from government by re-engineering the way we work and creating greater efficiencies. We have been able to create a budget for next year with no council tax increase. That is the theme I would like to continue with,” he said.
The party’s candidates for West Lindsey District Council include: Thomas Smith (Market Rasen), John O’Neill (Market Rasen), Hugo Marfleet (Market Rasen), Owen Brierley (Caistor & Yarborough), Paul Howitt-Cowan (Hemswell), Angela Lawrence (Caistor & Yarborough), Malcolm Parish (Dunholme & Welton), Tom Regis (Wold View), Lewis Strange (Kelsey Wold), Jeff Summers (Waddingham & Spital), Nick Guyatt (Wragby), Stephen England (Dunholme & Welton) and Anjum Sawney (Dunholme & Welton).