Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Samantha Cameron goes solo on campaign trail

Samantha Cameron hit the campaign trail today as she visited a Christian charity for the homeless and vulnerable.

The wife of the Tory leader attended the Caring for Life charity, at Crag House Farm, in Cookridge, Leeds, on a solo visit as her husband gave a speech in London.

She was greeted by charity bosses at the working farm, located in the Liberal Democrat constituency of Leeds North West, before being shown around horticultural and woodworking projects.

Mrs Cameron, dressed casually in Converse trainers, black skinny jeans, a light-coloured floral blouse, grey jacket and scarf, was joined by Julia Mulligan, the Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate for the area.

As Mrs Cameron got out of her silver Mercedes people carrier in the sunshine, she exclaimed: "It's so beautiful here."

When asked why she was visiting the charity, which provides residential housing for homeless people and runs a variety of activities and projects, she said: "I hope to highlight the amazing work charities like this do for some of the most vulnerable people in society, who tend to fall through the net."

She added that she had enjoyed her visit but refused to comment on whether she was campaigning.

Mrs Cameron helped pot plants in one of the charity's greenhouses and spoke to some of those who were making walking sticks in the woodworking shed.

She also stopped to speak to a volunteer driving a pony and trap around the charity's courtyard area.

Before she left the farm, she was shown around a shop and cafe, where she was given a book about Caring for Life, written by one of the charity's volunteers.

Speaking about the visit after Mrs Cameron left, Peter Parkinson, the chief executive and founder of the charity and a former Baptist minister, described her as "extraordinarily empathetic" and said she had a breadth of understanding of social issues.

He said: "I think that probably the experience they've had as a family has meant she has an empathy for the sort of people we are caring for.

"She was extraordinarily empathetic with all the people she met and also very interested."

The Leeds North West seat is currently held by Liberal Democrat MP Greg Mulholland.