David Cameron came to Chippenham this morning to launch the Conservatives’ poster campaign for the European elections.
The Prime Minister pulled up to the rugby club in a Jaguar with blacked out rear windows, and was met by Michelle Donelan, the Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate for Chippenham.
About 30 party faithfuls were waiting to greet him, including Wiltshire Council leader Jane Scott, Wiltshire councillors Peter Hutton and Jonathon Seed and Chippenham town councillors Teresa Hutton and Robert Giles.
The poster unveiled today aims to send the message that Conservatives are offering a choice on Europe with their pledge to deliver the in/out referendum by the end of 2017.
UKIP and the Green Party are also committed to holding a referendum.
The poster reads: “Labour and Lib Dems won’t. UKIP can’t. We will in 2017.”
In a speech to onlookers, Mr Cameron said: “We are the only party standing that has a clear plan for Britain to win in Europe. Labour and Lib Dems think there is nothing wrong with Europe and UKIP thinks there is nothing right.
“We need the British people to send hard-working Conservative MEPs to Brussels. Don’t send people who think there’s nothing wrong with Europe. We will fight for a better deal.”
He is spending the day in the region two weeks before the elections on May 22, and was visiting Stroud and Bristol this afternoon.
In the last European elections five years ago, when Labour's Gordon Brown was in power, Conservatives came out on top with 27.7 per cent. Ukip followed with 16.5 per cent and Labour 15.7 per cent.
But much has changed since then, with YouGov polls last month predicting the Tories could be forced into third place with 20 per cent, overtaken by Ukip with 34 per cent and Labour with 27 per cent.
Speaking in Chippenham, Mr Cameron said: “People should vote for a party that has a real plan for Europe, not one that just wants to leave it.
“The people of Wiltshire know that we need to trade with Europe and we need the investment from Europe, but we shouldn’t be satisfied with the way things are today.”
The South West constituency, comprising of Wiltshire, Bristol, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Gibraltar, will elect six candidates to represent them in the European Parliament.
Wiltshire Council is expecting a turnout of between 40 to 45 per cent, though in 2009 the national turnout was less than 35 per cent.
Ms Donelan is less optimistic, saying: “I expect turnout to be very low in the Euro elections, maybe less than 40 per cent, but I urge everyone to use their vote to have their say.”
The Chippenham seat is seen by the Tories as winnable in next year’s general election.
Ms Donelan said: “Chippenham constituency is a key marginal seat that it is very winnable.”