Eastleigh by-election: David Cameron in campaign visit

David Cameron walking in Eastleigh David Cameron was met by Maria Hutchings when he arrived in Eastleigh

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The prime minister has visited Eastleigh to support his party's by-election candidate.

David Cameron arrived at 10:30 GMT to back Conservative Maria Hutchings, who he called a "brilliant candidate".

He began the visit by answering questions from B&Q staff at the firm's head office in Eastleigh.

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg and UKIP's Nigel Farage also visited Eastleigh in recent days. The full list of candidates was confirmed on Wednesday.

Mr Cameron was asked if a Lib Dem win in the by-election would "de-stabilise" the coalition.

He said: "I would argue the most important consideration is who is the person and what would they be like as your MP."

David Cameron and Maria Hutchings speak to a voter on his doorstep David Cameron and Maria Hutchings speak to a voter on his doorstep

Speaking about Mrs Hutchings, he added: "She lives here, she is a local mother with four children, she is a local businesswoman."

He told the audience he met Mrs Hutchings, who has two disabled children, in 2005, when he was shadow education minister to speak about special educational needs.

"I remember being very impressed with Maria's complete passion about this subject," he said.

In a brief speech, Mrs Hutchings emphasised her local links and said she would be "an MP you can trust".

A few Eastleigh voters got a surprise visit from the prime minister when he joined Mrs Hutchings handing out leaflets door-to-door.

The vote will take place on 28 February.

The final list of candidates in alphabetical order is:

  • 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!"

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