LABOUR'S local election campaign in Southampton received a lift with a visit by a Cabinet minister yesterday.

Peter Hain, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and Wales, mingled with shoppers in Shirley, right, before knocking on doors in Millbrook to boost the votes of Labour candidates in the Tory-held wards.

He also hoped to help swing seats in Freemantle and Coxford.

Mr Hain, who is bidding to become deputy PM, told the Daily Echo: "Southampton has been drifting under Liberal control. We need a Labour council to get the dynamism back into Southampton and get it buzzing again.

"People just feel there is a sense of drift. The schools re-organisation has not been handled properly and people are pretty fed up."

He said a Labour council would "make sure the city was attractive to business and get more jobs".

He added it would sort out schools, do more to tackle antisocial behaviour and yobbery.

"A few years ago Southampton was regarded as an up and coming city. Now local residents feel it's slipping," he said.

He added: "Local issues do matter and local councils can do something about it."

Mr Hain, the MP for Neath, warned voters against being seduced by Tory party leader David Cameron, who was due to visit Southampton today. "He's given the party a re-spray. But he hasn't changed the party. It's all spin and no substance."