POLITICAL heavyweight Eric Pickles went walkabout in Hampshire today backing the Tory candidate in the Eastleigh by-election.

The Communities Secretary was out canvassing with Maria Hutchings in the yachting village of Hamble.

Mr Pickles said: “Maria is not out of central casting. She’s her own woman and she will be a great asset to the Eastleigh constituency and will be a Member of Parliament who the community can trust.”

“It’s really important I think to give David Cameron some additional support in the House of Commons.”



Mr Pickles said despite cuts the Conservatives had delivered on key policies.

He said: “We have delivered a deal on Europe that people thought was impossible. We have tackled the benefit culture that people thought was impossible. And we have introduced a system whereby the green belt can be protected.

“The issues I’ve come across this morning is obviously the uncertainty caused by the resignation of Chris Huhne and the desire to get a candidate, an MP, elected that everybody can work with a trust.”

After half an hour knocking on doors, Mr Pickles and Ms Hutchings retired to the King and Queen pub for lunch.