17:55 Thursday 21st February 2013
Drive BBC Radio Cambridgeshire
[C]HRIS MANN: It’s the last week of campaigning in one of the most closely watched by-elections for years. David Cameron has been in the Hampshire town of Eastleigh, which will be electioning a new MP, after the Liberal Democrat Chris Huhne admitted lying about a speeding offence. He’s just one in a long line of senior politicians who’ve descended on the town to try and win votes. David Howard reports.
JOHN: You get the feeling many here are just done with visiting politicians, just kind of ignoring it, and it’s getting on your nerves.
DAVID HOWARD: Twenty four year old John, dodging campaigners with his wife Jess.
JESS: Because there’s local elections going on.
JOHN: .. going on down there right now actually.
DAVID HOWARD: Did you see the balloons and the placards and the banners? On every street corner somebody seems to be campaigning.
JOHN: It’s a bit overblown. But there you go.
JESS: You do get a bit sick of it, yes.
DAVID HOWARD: And at the swings with her little girl, Emma comes face to face with Labour candidate John O’Farrell.
JOHN O’FARRELL: It’s really important people like you vote Labour. We’re fighting for people who are working hard, trying to raise families.
DAVID HOWARD: But Emma tells him she blames all mainstream parties for the country’s current money problems, including his. She’ll probably pick a smaller fringe candidate instead.
EMMA: Yes, as a protest more than anything.
DAVID HOWARD: A full list of Eastleigh candidates is on the BBC news website, and in this coffee shop we find 23 year old Mia.
MIA: For my future there is no hope.
DAVID HOWARD: An out of work beautician, she’s moved back home with her parents, and is doing shifts here to make ends meet.
MIA: To win my vote. I want to have my own place, find a flat or .. you know, mortgage is just at the moment impossible.
DAVID HOWARD: Outside again, we bump into Diane James from the UK Independence Party.
DIANE JAMES: So it’s going to be a knife edge result I think.
DAVID HOWARD: Their big thing is getting Britain out of the European Union.
DIANE JAMES: We’ve been absolutely consistent with our message.
DAVID HOWARD: That’s because you’ve only got one.
DIANE JAMES: Well you could say we’ve only got one, but the key one is we’ve got to come out of the EU ..
DAVID HOWARD: Both Labour and UKIP hope to steal a win in Eastleigh. If they do, it will most likely because they’ve won votes off one or other of the two front runners.
MIKE THORNTON: It’s great fun. It’s really exciting.
DAVID HOWARD: MIke Thornton is one. His Liberal Democrats have been in power here for over twenty years.
MARIA HUTCHINGS: It can take me half an hour, three quarters of an hour to get a loaf of bread, because I keep meeting people.
DAVID HOWARD: And Conservative Maria Hutchings is the other. At Westminster, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats run the country in a joint Government. In Eastleigh though, they’re head to head in this knife edge contest. That’s a first for British politics, and enthusiasts are watching closely, hoping to make predictions about the UK wide General Election probably in 2015.
TERRY: Every party always promises all these great things.
DAVID HOWARD: Twenty four year old Terry, doing scooter stunts at a skate park outside town.
TERRY: You never actually see anything happen.
DAVID HOWARD: Like many here, he’s not an enthusiast. And he’s not at all sure that all this national interest in Eastleigh will make anything better for him.
TERRY: Any person that I vote for isn’t really going to make a huge difference.
COLIN BEX – Wessex Regionalists
DAVID BISHOP – Elvis Loves Pets Party
JIM DUGGAN – Peace Party
RAY HALL – Beer, Baccy and Crumpet Party
HOWLING LAUD HOPE – Monster Raving Loony William Hill Party
MARIA HUTCHINGS – Conservative
DIANE JAMES – UK Independence Party
DR IAIN MACLENNAN – National Health Action Party
KEVIN MILBURN – Christian Party “Proclaiming Christ’s Lordship”
JOHN O’FARRELL – Labour
DARREN PROCTER – Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
DANNY STUPPLE – Independent
MIKE THORNTON – Liberal Democrats
MICHAEL WALTERS – The English Democrats – “Putting England First!”