Just 11,223 votes across the country could be required to secure a Conservative majority on May 7, Tory MPs were told in a briefing led by election guru Lynton Crosby.
In a packed meeting in Parliament, the MPs were told how it was “basically impossible” for Labour to achieve an overall majority but that the Tories needed to gain just 23 seats.
The young volunteers in Team 2015 will play a key role knocking on doors in marginal seats, with the promise of “food, drink and social interaction”, a senior source said. But US campaign expert Jim Messina, who has helped forge the 80,000-strong Team 2015, will play only a minor role during the election and will remain in America. The election campaign starts in earnest on Monday, but the Tories will also hold a rally at their spring forum in Manchester over the weekend.
The Conservative source stressed their strategy was based on running 650 local campaigns in each seat but that there would be “enormous clarity of message” around the choice characterised by David Cameron as the “competence” of the Tories versus the “chaos” of a Labour government.
The source said: “Competence versus chaos is our number one theme.
“Our real strength is ‘We’ll provide the security for you, your family and your future’. That’s the tagline. We are the party of the leader, we’ve got the team and we will make sure we will deliver if we are back in for another five years.”
In an upbeat assessment of the Conservatives’ chances, the source insisted that an overall majority was within their grasp even though the opinion polls had the two main parties running neck and neck.