DAVID Cameron sought to deliver a boost to the campaign in the key marginal of Romsey and Southampton North where Tory candidate Caroline Nokes is seeking to overturn a majority of about 200 votes.

Her Lib Dem opponent Sandra Gidley has represented the seat of Romsey since 2000.

Speaking to a crowd in Romsey, Mr Cameron claimed that Nick Clegg wanted to “hold the country to ransom” over his plans to change the electoral system. He was heckled by a Lib Dem voter who voiced concern that Tory plans for “free schools”, to be set up by parents, would take funding away from other schools – concerns that had been earlier raised by Tory council leaders.

Jackie Madden, pictured, repeatedly interrupted Mr Cameron until he told her: “I’ll tell you who’s been cutting budgets – we all know who’s been cutting budgets. Who was it cut the defence budget when our troops were at war? It was Labour and it was a complete disgrace.”

Turning on another heckler during his speech, he said: “I’ll tell you what Tory councils have announced: Tory councils have announced the lowest council tax in the country, Tory councils have got the best green record in the country, it’s Tory councils that are cutting crime across our country.

And just as Tory councils have done that for local areas, a national Conservative Government can do that for the whole of the country.”

Ms Madden, 45, from North Baddesley, speaking afterwards surrounded by angry local Conservative voters, said she had been pointing out reports that a local Tory councillor had criticised his own party’s policy on allowing parents, charities and other groups to set up state-funded “free” schools.