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Battleground UK: Ian Kirby in Dover

Dover has been a safe Labour seat for over a decade, but there is little sign of that today.

As the sun shines across Kentish fields, the only posters in sight are for Tory candidate Charlie Elphicke.

His team delivered 15,000 leaflets across the constituency in the first 72 hours of the campaign and are not slowing down.

Charlie says: “If we win this seat we will be the largest party in Parliament, but we want to win it well.

“The Conservative voters here are motivated and from what we are picking up on the doorstep, many Labour voters won’t be casting their vote.

“But there are a lot of swing voters. I’ve got to talk to as many of them as possible because I think if you contact them directly they are more likely to support you.”

On that doorstep, in the village of Eyethorne, there seems to be a genuine desire for change.

First time voter and maths student Jenny Ashcroft said: “I want to see change and I don’t think Labour are willing or able to change.

“With all the scandals like expenses it seems like it is time to move on.”

She had not seen any Labour campaign material – and driving through Dover, Deal and the surrounding villages there are no signs of the incumbent MP Gwyn Prosser.

Local Parish Councillor Mog Ovendon said: “There’s no sign of him at all. He has been an MP here for 13 years but no-one’s getting out here telling people he wants to be voted in again.

“If they show they can work hard now, the Conservatives could easily win this seat.”

Mr Elphicke is hoping for a 10% swing here – well above the current predictions across the country.

He said: “People don’t like Gordon Brown. They think it’s time for a change and our job is to make sure that it’s a Conservative change.

“I think turn-out here will be high and that will favour us.

“But we can’t just hope to get voted in on the back of that – it’s about local issues – we need a hospital in Dover and we need to open schools that were closed by Labour.

Back on the doorstep, nurse Yvonne Morley said: “I quite like David Cameron as a person, I think the fact he has lost a disabled child is something I can relate to.

“It’s not just about the person, it’s about the policies. But I want the Parties to reach out and sell themselves to me.”

Bank Manager Rochelle Causer was still backing Labour: “The working families tax credit was a lifesaver for me and I don’t want anyone in power who could take that away.

“Ideas are more important to me, but I think there may be a change in the next Election.”

But a taxi driver was convinced things are about to change: “My friends and neighbours are either voting Conservative or staying at home. It’s time to get this rabble out.”

NOTE: In an earlier version of this article the taxi driver was mistakenly identified as Sean Sullivan. This was not the case and we apologise to Mr Sullivan for the mistake.



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