Tory leader in campaigning Suffolk visit

WOULD-BE Prime Minister David Cameron - who once urged us all to “hug a hoodie” in a bid to tackle youth crime - would still appear to have a long way to go if he is to rely on young people's support in the polls.

WOULD-BE Prime Minister David Cameron - who once urged us all to “hug a hoodie” in a bid to tackle youth crime - would still appear to have a long way to go if he is to rely on young people's support in the polls.

The Conservative leader was in Suffolk yesterday ahead of the local elections in May, visiting Diss, Stowmarket and Ipswich.

And while scores of people turned out to shake his hand and offer their support, others were keen to give him a bit of a grilling.

Arriving in Stowmarket shortly after 1.30pm a casually dressed Mr Cameron had a whistle-stop tour of the historic market town and seemed at ease speaking to young and old along its high street.


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However a group of teenage boys were less than impressed, asking “Who's that?” when Mr Cameron wandered over to shake their hands.

Liam Fairfull, 16, even had the cheek to shout “Green Party all the way” as the Conservative leader continued on his tour, having time to stop off at the Bakers Oven for a sausage roll.

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But it was not a simple stroll in the Suffolk sunshine for Mr Cameron and he faced questions on a number of important local issues.

Pensioner Betty Kemp, of Gowle Road, Stowmarket, spoke of her concerns about the imminent closure of the county's middle schools.

“One of my grandchildren started at Stowmaket Middle School in September and he is getting on ever so well but we worry that if these changes go ahead then he will be left behind,” she said.

Mr Cameron refused to be drawn however, saying: “It's a county council issue and something for the local people to decide. It wouldn't be right for me to comment. It is an issue for Suffolk.”

Student nurse, Hannah Rogers, 23, of Stowupland, also made her feelings known regarding the state of Suffolk's debt ridden health system.

She said: “I qualify this July without a job because of all the cutbacks. I want to be a midwife but the funding has been taken away even though there is a shortage of midwives. We need to make patients safer and we need to make the elderly safer.”

Mr Cameron said: “The young nurse was very disappointed because she has trained for a very long time and cannot find a job.

“The Government have mismanaged the health service through heavy handed top down interventions and constant reorganisation and bad intervention that has been a waste of money.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Health was unavailable for comment last night.

The Tory leader finished his trip by stopping off and speaking to people at Ipswich Railway Station before visiting some of the nearby shops on the platform.

Jenny Towell, 61, who works at the Twenty 01 01 gift shop, said: “He asked how the business was doing and where all the goods in the shop had come from. He said some of them he recognised from Morocco - which was right. He sounded very interested and had a comfortable relaxed manner about him.”

Meanwhile James Dixon, from Leo's Deli, said Mr Cameron seemed very charismatic and was impressed that he came into the shop alone without a string of personal assistants.

craig.robinson@eadt.co.uk

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