THE Conservatives wheeled another heavyweight into Crewe yesterday as the election end-game approached.
Tory party chairman Eric Pickles was in the town to back candidate Edward Timpson in his bid to retain his Crewe and Nantwich seat.
Mr Timpson took the seat from Labour in the 2008 by-election following the death of longstanding Labour MP Gwyneth Dunwoody.
He overturned a 7,000 majority to win Crewe and Nantwich for the Tories with an 8,000 majority.
Mr Pickles is confident the Tories will retain the Crewe and Nantwich seat – and said the spectacular victory two years ago had showed Gordon Brown ‘his days in Number 10 were numbered’.
He admitted people sometimes vote differently in a by-election but said 2008 was not a protest vote.
“We were offering more than a protest vote. We were offering a new start and a new MP that was committed to the area, somebody who represented the community,” he said.
When asked if the Tories had wheeled in the big guns – David Cameron was in Nantwich at the beginning of the campaign – because they were worried Labour could take the seat back, Mr Pickles said: “I’ve no concerns about this seat. I don’t take anything for granted but nobody can say Edward has been anything other than an exceptionally dedicated constituency MP.”
He also praised Mr Timpson for his contribution in the Commons and added he hadn’t the ‘slightest doubt’ that Mr Timpson has ‘a very distinguished political career’ ahead.
The Tory chairman said that despite opinion polls predicting a ‘hung’ parliament and the fact that the 117 seat turnaround was ‘a very big ask’, he was confident ‘we are on the cusp of being able to provide David (Cameron) with an overall majority’.
Mr Pickles then went on a walkabout in Crewe town centre.