Secretary of State for Defence Michael Fallon backs prospective Sherwood MP Mark Spencer during visit to Chad offices

Secretary of State for Defence Michael FallonSecretary of State for Defence Michael Fallon
Secretary of State for Defence Michael Fallon
Sherwood is a key seat which could hold the key to the result of the General Election.

That was the message from Conservative Secretary of State for Defence Michael Fallon who visited Chad offices on Wednesday.

The controversial minister, who hit the headlines recently for his outspoken personal attack on Labour leader Ed Miliband, was on a whistle-stop tour of the area to lend his backing to Mark Spencer who is hoping to retain Sherwood for the Tories.

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Mark Spencer said it was difficult to predict the outcome of the campaign so far.

He said : “I think there’s still a lot of floating vote out there - sometimes you get: “Oh you’re all a waste of time.”

“It’s difficult to be objective but there seems to be a solidification in our direction.

People are saying we recognise the economic argument, we recognise that if you are going to fund the right things we are going to need a strong economy and we recognise that is what you guys are delivering.

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“Whether they are talking about health services, education services and things they want to invest in, they recognise you can only do that with the economy moving forward and more people in work and more people paying tax to fund those things.”

Michael Fallon said he first met the prospective MP when he was energy minister: “Mark was relentless when I was energy minister he was at me every week about Thoresby colliery,” he said.

“I was the coal minister and he was on my case week in week out.”

He said the key issues in Sherwood were: “ Keeping the recovery going and getting young people into work - there are 930 more people off benefits than five years ago.

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“Keeping that going is essential so that young people have a chance in life and delivering the public services that people rely which you can only do if you keep the economy going on and slowly reducing the deficit.

“Mark’s been campaigning for the rail link to Ollerton and for all those things you can only finance if you sort the economy out.”

The conservatives launched their manifesto on Tuesday and the minister said extending right to buy for housing association tenants would give on thousands of people in the constituency the chance to get o the housing ladder.

The minister reaffirmed the Tory commitment to maintaining defence spending and renewing Trident nuclear weapons as a deterrent over the coming decades.

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“We have to modernise our nuclear fleet. The Russians are modernising their nuclear weapons North Korea is testing nuclear weapons, there are 17,000 nuclear weapons out there. this is not the time for us to disarm.”

The Tories were pledging three million apprenticeships and reigning in on benefits.

He added: “If you leave school there is a very clear option either go to college or do an apprenticeship and not which has happened in the past drift on into the benefits system.

We will tighten the benefit rules to encourage people in that way.”

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He said: “Sherwood is a key seat and could hold the key to the General Election.

“If you want to keep the economy going vote Conservative.”

Candidates for the Sherwood constituency in the General Election are: Labour Léonie Mathers; Liberal Democrats Dan Mosley; UKIP Sally Chadd, Green Lydia Davies-Bright; Class War David Perkins.