David Cameron has just officially launched the Conservatives' local election campaign in Tynemouth, where there will be a mayoral election in North Tyneside on June 4th, along with county council elections in the shire counties (and two further mayoral contests in Hartlepool and Doncaster).
The thrust of his local election message was that delivering "more for less" is at the heart of what Conservatives believe and that Conservative councils will do everything they can to get council tax down while providing the support families and businesses need to help lift them out of the recession. He emphasised that a Conservative Government would
- freeze council tax for two years by cutting the government advertising budget;
- give local people the power to stop massive council tax rises with referendums;
- through a ‘Right to Know’ plan, make sure every item of local spending is published online.
But the national message of "vote for change" came across even louder. He declared:
"This is your last chance before the general election to tell Gordon Brown what you think of him and his tired, incompetent and failing government – and that will only happen if you vote for change".
"Change in our country will come. And we can make that glorious day of change arrive all the sooner, if on June 4th you give this weak, useless and spineless Government a message it won’t forget. With every Conservative vote, that message will be simple: Enough is enough. You’re the past. It’s time to go and make way for the only party that has faith in Britain and the British people, that believes our best days lie ahead of us, and has the ideas, plans and policies to deliver them."
Update: Here's how Emma Carr, Conservative Future chairman in the North East of England, has summarised the event for ConservativeHome:
"David Cameron and Caroline Spelman joined Linda Arkley, the local mayoral candidate, and Wendy Morton, PPC, in North Tyneside to launch the local election campaign. Caroline Spelman spoke about the emphasis that the Conservative Party places on local government and the significance of the North East as a region in terms of the economy. She also described how the Conservatives will help us all get through the recession.
"David Cameron also spoke about the the value for money that the Conservatives will offer in local government, without reducing the standards that people expect from their councils. He also made it clear that a vote for the Conservatives will be a vote for change. His comments about the incompetent, tired and old government that is led by Gordon Brown were met enthusiastically.
"Members of North Tyneside Conservatives thanked David Cameron and Caroline Spelman with a standing ovation after which they answered questions about what the Conservatives will do for young people, pensioners and the military. Caroline Spelman joined members for campaigning afterwards. Linda Arkley has been working extremely hard with members of North Tyneside association and members of Conservative Future to get ready for 4th June."