TWO more senior Tories strode into Eastleigh to back Maria Hutchings’ by-election campaign.

Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles,  joined Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith in paying a visit to the constituency.

Mr Pickles joined Mrs Hutchings to canvas voters in Jarvis Fields, Bursledon before Mr Duncan Smith took to the streets of Hedge End, knocking on doors in Pomeroy Crescent.

Their visits came less than 24 hours after Prime Minister David Cameron joined Mrs Hutchings on the election trail and just two days after Boris Johnson’s colourful appearance in Fair Oak.

But Mr Pickles denied that the Tories were sending out their big guns because they were scared of losing Thursday’s by-election.

He told the Daily Echo: “It’s recess. We’re keen as mustard. We could either go on holiday or come down and spend some time in Eastleigh.

“What I want is all keen Conservatives to come down here and bang on some doors for Maria.

“Now is the time for a bit of frantic activity because one thing is for sure it’s going to be very close. It’s not in the bag for anybody.

“Maria is a local candidate. I think she’s someone that the constituency can trust and a vote for her will ensure some assistance to David Cameron in getting the deficit down, getting crime down and delivering a better Britain.”

Mrs Hutchings said it was a “huge honour” to have had such support from the party.