DAVID Cameron will pin his hopes of returning to Downing Street on convincing voters that their only choice is between his economic success or a difficult future under Labour.
he Prime Minister set out on the campaign trail hours after meeting the Queen and formally starting the General Election battle.
The Tory leader laid down a marker by heading to a key marginal held by the Liberal Democrats, just hours after the coalition formally came to an end.
Duncan Hames, former parliamentary aide to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, is defending a majority of just under 2,500 in Chippenham.
Speaking at the Wiltshire event, Mr Cameron admitted he is not the “perfect” Prime Minister - but insisted he has a record to be “proud” of and claimed the Tories would create another two million jobs if re-elected.
Mr Cameron said voters faced a stark choice on May 7 between his “great team” and the one headed by Ed Miliband.
The Prime Minister asked whether people wanted George Osborne in the Treasury or Ed Balls, who “broke the banks”, and praised Home Secretary Theresa May as preferable to Labour shadow Yvette Cooper.
And he added: “I don’t claim that I have got every call right or that I am the perfect Prime Minister. But I know this. I had a job to do in 2010 and it was about sorting out our economy, getting the deficit down and getting people back to work.
“There are only two people that can walk through that door in Number 10 in 39 days time - there is me or Ed Miliband, the guy who even forgot to mention the deficit and who has opposed every single decision we have taken, every single tough call we have made.”
Mr Cameron said: “It is very simple. It is about giving people security at every stage of their lives. We have created almost two million jobs in this parliament and if elected again we will create two million more in the next parliament.
“Nothing matters more than giving people the dignity, the security and the prosperity of a job, of work.”
The PM said there were a million more children at good and outstanding schools than in 2010, adding: “Let’s go further and make that two million in the next parliament.”
His speech came as election efforts started across Yorkshire and the rest of the UK.
In the York Outer constituency Julian Sturdy began his campaign with a call for stronger greenbelt protection, while in under threat Keighley Tory incumbent Kris Hopkins defended the Government’s economic record.
He said: “We need to build on our achievements, maintain the momentum we have injected into our economy, keep family budgets growing, protect the NHS and ensure our pensioners are looked after.
“All of this will be at risk should Ed Miliband and Ed Balls be at the head of a future Labour Government. They were Gordon Brown’s key advisers when he set about destroying our economy, and would return us to a path of destruction.”
Deputy prime minister and Sheffield candidate Nick Clegg launched his party’s efforts at an animal sanctuary in Solihull, a knife-edge marginal with a Lib Dem majority of just 175.
Mr Clegg indicated the Lib Dems would concentrate on protecting the seats they won at the last election.
Speaking after meeting injured hedgehogs, Mr Clegg said: “In those areas, those 50, 60 seats across the country where we are campaigning to have MPs elected or MPs re-elected, actually it’s going very well and I think we will do much, much better than people predict.”
He acknowledged there was still resentment over the U-turn on tuition fees at the start of the coalition Government, but claimed voters would recognise the things that had been achieved by the party in power.
“There are some people who say that one decision, that one thing you couldn’t deliver, that’s the only thing I care about,” he said.
“I actually think there are a lot of fair-minded people who acknowledge that sometimes in politics, just as in life, you can’t do exactly what you want because there are certain circumstances beyond your control.
“But they do also acknowledge that whether it’s tax cuts, more apprenticeships, the pupil premium, fixing the economy, making sure there is better childcare, better parental leave for mums and dads to take, the list goes on.
“There are hundreds of other policies the Liberal Democrats have been able to translate from our last manifesto into people’s lives and it’s helping to create both a stronger economy and a fairer society.
“Those people, I think, are prepared to acknowledge we did the right thing for the right motives for the country as a whole.”