Bemusement at the scene of Cameron's address

"Why would you come here to do a speech on immigration?" asked 24-year-old Stacey Thornton, wheeling her son's pushchair through Romsey town square past a statue of Lord Palmerston – a man whose preferred method of dealing with trouble in the colonies was to park a gunboat off their shoreline by way of warning.

"There aren't any immigrants here. I was born here.

"David Cameron should have gone to Southampton. There's bits of that town where it's like 'spot the white face'."

Residents of Romsey, anaffluent, white Hampshire market town, seemed confused at having been chosen by the Prime Minister as ground zero in his battle with immigrants.

Rather than address a community in, say, Leicester or Luton, Mr Cameron delivered his attack on "those not willing to integrate" to an audience of carefully selected members of the Romsey Conservative Association.

Behind him hung a portrait of the Duke of Edinburgh, arguably one of this country's more successful immigrants. (Perhaps it's best that no one asks HRH for his thoughts on the subject of foreign arrivals.)

The only immigrants near Romsey anyone could remember were some eastern European men working in a care home.

The real reason for the Prime Minister's visit is that Romsey is a marginal battleground between the Tories and Liberal Democrats – and the elections for Romsey Council are on 5 May.

"Cameron wouldn't have said it in Tottenham would he?" said a retired teacher.

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