PRIME Minister David Cameron paid a visit to Burton to issue a rallying call to party members ahead of next month’s local council elections.
The Conservative Party leader met with candidates at Burton Albion’s Pirelli Stadium, where he was also presented with his own Brewers shirt by club chairman Ben Robinson and manager Gary Rowett.
Voters will go to the polls on May 2 to elect members of Staffordshire County Council. Conservatives won 50 of the authority’s 62 seats last time round.
Mr Cameron told the Mail at the Pirelli that voters had a clear ‘red-blue choice’ next month.
“It is a very clear choice,” he said. “You can stick with the Conservatives who have got council tax down or you can go back to Labour and get just more spending.”
He described Staffordshire County Council, which has been under Tory control since 2009 when the ruling Labour Party was reduced to just three seats, as a ‘beacon council’.
The Prime Minister said he ‘very much hoped’ his party would retain control of the council, but added: “It’s a tough battle because we are now in government.
“The key issue for voters is ‘who is the best team to run the county council?’.”
Mr Cameron also addressed his party’s candidates, telling them: “These will be tough elections.
“It was easy campaigning in the local government elections in 2009 because we were in opposition and we had a profoundly unpopular government.”
He called on the candidates to ‘make this election about the bread and butter issues’ and heaped praise on the sitting Conservative council’s ‘great record’ in office.
Mr Cameron’s visit was also attended by Burton MP Andrew Griffiths and Matthew Ellis, the county’s elected police and crime commissioner.
The Prime Minister also discussed specific local issues, saying that the Government had opted to cut beer duty by one per cent in last month’s Budget because of persistent lobbying by Mr Griffiths.
Earlier this month, Labour’s shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper met her party’s candidates in Stafford to launch their own local election campaign.