Tories see Newbury as mini-referendum

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Indy Politics
THE Newbury by-election will be a mini-referendum on the Government's economic performance, the Tory candidate has acknowledged.

Julian Davidson, 30, an advertising consultant, said all the indicators were now showing that Britain was coming out of recession. The Conservatives, defending a 12,357 majority in the 6 May by-election, yesterday formally launched their campaign with a staunch defence of their economic policies.

The party chairman, Sir Norman Fowler, said: 'This by-election takes place against the background of unmistakable signs of recovery. No one is pretending that all the economic problems, national or local, are yet behind us. But it is undeniable that the picture is brightening.'

Mr Davidson added: 'It is important that people in Newbury have the confidence now with government policies. Government policy is right, it has produced exactly the right levels for recovery and I fully support it. To that extent, it will be, to a degree, a referendum.'

Second favourite is the Liberal Democrat candidate, David Rendel, 44, a management consultant, making his third attempt to become Newbury's MP. He disputed Sir Norman's claim, saying there had been false dawns before. 'I think it would be wrong to pretend that there is any proof that there is a recovery in progress now,' he said.

The by-election was caused by the sudden death in February of Judith Chaplin, a former political secretary to John Major.

1987 general election result: Judith Chaplin (C) 37,135; David Rendel (Lib Dem) 24,778; Richard Hall (Lab) 3,962; Jim Wallis (Green) 539. Conservative majority: 12,357.