Tories reveal plan to fight to Cheltenham seat
PLANS have been revealed to turn one of the county's parliamentary seats blue.
In the last general election, Labour MPs Parmjit Dhanda, who represented Gloucester, and David Drew (Stroud), lost their seats to Conservatives.
Now, the Conservatives have published some of its target seats for the next election with Cheltenham listed among its top 20.
The town is the only non-Tory constituency in the county, having been held by Liberal Democrat Martin Horwood since May 2005.
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He said: "I don't want to be complacent, but they did have Cheltenham in the top 10 Tory seats in the country last time and I increased my vote by nine per cent, so I'm not completely panicking."
He added that Lord Ashcroft, former deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, had spent a lot of money on advertising and direct mailouts in Cheltenham in the run-up to the last election.
He said he was not sure it had been "very effective" and wondered if the same techniques would be used this time around.
He believes Cheltenham voters would look at local records and who represented the local area best when casting their votes.
"I'm happy to stand on my record," he added.
Councillor Rob Garnham, leader of the Conservative party in Cheltenham and a county councillor, said: "I think it's good that the party is recognising that Cheltenham is a seat they want to win.
"They're going to the effort of choosing a candidate now."
He did not rule out that he could be that candidate, only adding that choosing someone soon would give a greater focus to the work being done by Conservatives locally.