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Tories deny Lib Dem MP threat

PUBLISHED: 17:12 05 May 2010 | UPDATED: 15:39 16 August 2010

OPTIMISTIC:Bob Neill who is fighting to retain his Bromley and Chislehurst seat.

OPTIMISTIC:Bob Neill who is fighting to retain his Bromley and Chislehurst seat.

CONSERVATIVES hoping to be the next generation of MPs in the borough claim the national surge for the Liberal Democrats in the opinion polls is not reflected on the doorstep.

CONSERVATIVES hoping to be the next generation of MPs in the borough claim the national surge for the Liberal Democrats in the opinion polls is not reflected on the doorstep.

Beckenham and Orpington Conservative candidates Bob Stewart and Jo Johnson claim the Tories' support in their prospective seats, has not wavered in the face of the rising popularity of the Liberal Democrats.

Orpington Conservative candidate Jo Johnson, who was campaigning in Petts Wood on Tuesday, said: "I am exhausted. It has been an interesting campaign but I am absolutely shattered."

When asked if he thought he was likely to win today, he said: "I am not going to make any comment on that.

"People may have been influenced by a superficial appearance by Nick Clegg on the television debates but a closer look at their policies and they see such things as an amnesty for illegal immigrants and they think about the turmoil of a hung parliament.

"People in this neck of the woods are not pro Europe and they know that the Liberal Democrats will take us into the euro."

When asked if people, who are saying they will vote Liberal Democrats in the polls, will then change their minds when they are in the polling booth, he replied: "It is not for me to say. I have no idea what people do when they are in the polling booth."

Conservative candidate for Beckenham Bob Stewart said: "The campaign locally has been fabulous. I am really quite amazed at the support I have had. I am chuffed to bits."

When asked if he was confident of a win today, he said: "I have been in the army for 28 years and I don't take anything for granted.

"I can't understand the opinion polls nationally. They are saying there is a big swing to the Liberal Democrats but that is not what I am picking up on the doorstep in Beckenham."

But the Liberal Democrat candidate for the marginal Conservative Bromley and Chislehurst seat, Sam Webber, said he is confident of a win in the likelihood of a high turnout, after his party came second in the 2006 by election, with only 633 votes (2.2 per cent) less than the Tories.

He said: "It is going very well indeed. We have everything to play for. Everyone is thinking of Bob Neill's small majority. I am confident of a good result. It is wide open.

"The response in the by-election was very good but turnout was very low. It is going to be high today. There is a lot of late support coming our way. A lot of young people have registered. Young people are interested in this election. They can see a real chance for change."

Mr Webber is also running for the council seat of Cray Valley West, which he admitted spending more time campaigning for.

Incumbent Bromley and Chislehurst MP Bob Neill admitted that due to the boundary changes in this election, a win will be harder to deliver, but remained confident of a Conservative majority.

Whilst out canvassing in Kemble Road, Chislehurst, on Tuesday, he told the Times: "The campaign has been satisfactory. I am pleased with the response but I am not taking anything for granted. I have been very heartened by the response on the doorstep.

"There was a time when a lot of people were undecided and looking at all of the options but now the choices have narrowed down again.

"I am optimistic but not over-confident. We are working hard, the boundary changes have made it harder with Hayes, Keston and Bromley Common, leaving the constituency and the inclusion of Cray Valley West.

"I have canvassed quite a lot in Cray Valley West and there is good support for us there.

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