Video: Cameron kick-starts Tories’ election campaign in Yorkshire

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David Cameron put Yorkshire at the centre of his effort to stay in Downing Street today when he started the Conservatives’ New Year campaigning in Halifax.

The Prime Minister described May’s General Election as the most important in a generation as he launched a new poster - with the slogan “Let’s Stay on the Road to a Stronger Economy” - during a visit to the Crossley Gallery at Dean Clough.

David Cameron addresses Conservative Party supporters at Dean Clough Mills in Halifax, as he kick-started the general election year by promoting the Tories' first campaign poster.

David Cameron addresses Conservative Party supporters at Dean Clough Mills in Halifax, as he kick-started the general election year by promoting the Tories' first campaign poster.

The message will appear on billboards up and down the country and depicts a long straight road running through lush green countryside. Listing the Government’s achievements, it states “1.75 million more people in work”, “760,000 more businesses” and “the deficit halved”.

Mr Cameron has previously been criticised for making the final claim, as the deficit has only been reduced by half if it is measured as a percentage of GDP. In cash terms the gap between the Government’s income and outgoings has gone down by around a third.

He told the audience of Conservative activists: “It is an absolutely vital election for our country, I think the most important election in a generation.”

The Prime Minister said the country had been on a journey from the “brink of bankruptcy to being one of the strongest and fastest growing economies anywhere in the western world”.

David Cameron meets staff at Covea Insurance at Dean Clough Mills in Halifax, as the PM kick-started the general election year by promoting the Tories' first campaign poster.

David Cameron meets staff at Covea Insurance at Dean Clough Mills in Halifax, as the PM kick-started the general election year by promoting the Tories' first campaign poster.

“I am not saying that over the last five years we have solved every problem in our country. What I am saying is we have made really important progress,” he said.

He said the alternative to the Conservatives was a road to “higher spending, higher borrowing, higher debt”.

Dean Clough is in the Halifax constituency currently held by Labour with a narrow majority, one of a string of marginal seats that will be fought over in the region over the coming weeks.

A Lib Dem spokesperson said: “The Conservative economic plan for the future looks more like the highway to hell for the majority of British voters, as the Tories want to roll back the state to the 1930s.

The campaign poster launched by David Cameron during a visit to Yorkshire.

The campaign poster launched by David Cameron during a visit to Yorkshire.

“Voters know that only the Lib Dems in a stable Government can deliver the combination of economic responsibility and social justice that Britain needs.”

Chancellor George Osborne will also be out and about promoting the campaign, touring a business in the West Midlands.

In his New Year’s missive yesterday, Mr Cameron warned that Britain faced “chaos” if it changed economic course. Supporting Labour would send the country spiralling backwards and jeopardise the recovery, the Prime Minister suggested.

In the video, he told voters the country’s resolution for 2015 should be to “stick to the plan” to ensure future prosperity.

Tory grandee Lord Tebbit said it would be “very difficult” for the Conservatives to win in May unless Ukip implodes.

The former party chairman told BBC Radio 4’s World at One: “Mr Cameron swore that he would get immigration, net, down to tens of thousands, so that’s a real problem.

“It makes it difficult for him to persuade people that he can control it without a radical change in our relationship with Europe, which Ukip would then point out would almost certainly mean leaving the European Union.”

He added: “The likely outcome of the general election looking at the polls over some months now, the Conservatives will not regain their votes to the level which they should do.

“I think it is going to be very difficult to win an overall majority unless, for some reason or another, Ukip should implode.”

Conservative party chairman Grant Shapps defended the way the reduction in the deficit was being portrayed by his party.

He told World at One: “There’s only one definition of the deficit and that’s the amount of overspend in the economy by comparison to the size of the overall economy.”

“No one is trying to hide the numbers,” he added. “We’ve been absolutely up front with the size of the challenge facing the British economy.

“One thing no one can accuse us of doing at the last election or during this parliament is sugar coating the economic pill.”

A Liberal Democrat spokesman said: “The Conservative economic plan for the future looks more like the highway to hell for the majority of British voters, as the Tories want to roll back the state to the 1930s.

“Voters know that only the Lib Dems in a stable Government can deliver the combination of economic responsibility and social justice that Britain needs.”

The image of the straight road through gently rolling countryside was described as looking “a bit French” by one advertising expert.

Philip Hesketh told the Daily Mail: “The irony is, when you look at it a bit closer, the scene looks a bit French. It’s very unusual to have a road that wide with no lines down the middle and stretching so far with no lampposts.”

A Tory source said the image was manipulated on a computer rather than being a photograph of a single road.

“It’s a composite of various images of UK roads,” the source said.