Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Tory Leader Steals a March as Troops Swing into Action; MAY 6 ELECTION

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Tory Leader Steals a March as Troops Swing into Action; MAY 6 ELECTION

Article excerpt

Byline: Paul Waugh Deputy Political Editor

DAVID CAMERON led from the front today as the Tories fanned out across the country in the first stage of their election "ground war".

In a bid to outspend and outflank their opponents, the party immediately put up 2,000 "Time for Change" posters and delivered two million leaflets at commuter sites in target marginals.

After getting ahead of Mr Brown with an early speech at County Hall, Mr Cameron took the train to Birmingham for a visit to a hospital in the crucial West Midlands battleground. With the party keen to make clear that the NHS is its "number one" priority, the event was also designed to contrast with Tony Blair's haranguing in the city by a patient nine years ago.

As shadow ministers deployed for events in every region of the country, the Tory leader moved to Leeds, again focusing on the marginals that he needs to win the keys to Downing Street.

Mr Cameron was up early as his team finally played out plans that have been hatched for months. At 6.30am, he went for a 35-minute jog from his North Kensington home, along his usual route by the Grand Union Canal.

After attending a meeting of 200 staffers at the Tories' Millbank campaign HQ, Mr Cameron headed to County Hall to call for "change and hope". Flanked by ethnic minority and women Parliamentary candidates, he got onto the airwaves minutes before the Prime Minister. Setting out his proposals to devolve power to ordinary citizens and communities, he said the election should be about "people power".

"We know that politicians should be accountable to people, and not the other way round," he said.

Mr Cameron said the Conservatives had "the leadership, the energy and the values to get this country moving".

Drawing on US President John Kennedy's famous inaugural address, he said people should be "not just asking what can government do for me but what can we all do together to make our society stronger". …

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