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Big guns visit Dartford and Gravesend as election hots up

PUBLISHED: 16:59 21 April 2011

Baroness Warsi is interviewed by reporter Nick Hitchens in Dartford

Baroness Warsi is interviewed by reporter Nick Hitchens in Dartford

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»Political heavyweights Ed Miliband, leader of the Labour Party and Conservative Party co-chairman Baroness Sayeeda Warsi descended on north Kent as the battle to win the up-coming local elections reached boiling point this week.

Both Dartford and Gravesham Borough Council elections — due on May 5 alongside the Alternative Vote Referendum — are traditionally tight affairs and with temperatures reaching 25C on Tuesday — the hottest day of the year so far — it was polling day making the candidates sweat.

With Labour looking to regain a foothold in the area following defeats in 2007 and in last year’s General Election, Ed Miliband was in Gravesend town centre meeting constituents and business owners on Monday.

He said: “This is a really important area for us. I know we have a lot to do in Kent and that is why I am here to support a good local campaign.”

Mr Miliband met Andy and Kate Amos at their Queen’s Road home.

Mr Amos, 57, a Tube engineer, is worried about rising costs but was not convinced Labour had any answers.

He said: “He was very nice but he never came up with any real ideas. In a perfect situation I would like to see jobs protected. If I lose my job that is £600 or so a month in tax gone from the government. Yes London Underground save on a wage but who pays in the end?”

The following morning Baroness Warsi, elected to the House of Lords in 2007, was in Dartford and Gravesham canvassing on behalf on the Conservatives.

She said: “Difficult decision had to be made. When the coalition took over, paying £120million a day in debt interest, the country’s credit was maxed out.

“What we had in George Osbourne was someone who didn’t back away from making those decisions.”

Labour’s Deputy Leader Harriet Harman and Gareth Thomas, Shadow Minister for Higher Education and Science have also visited Gravesham to help canvas voters.

■ See page 6&7 for a round-up of local election party leader manifestos.

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