HOME Secretary James Cleverly joined Mid Dorset and North Poole’s candidate on the campaign trail on Friday afternoon. 

Michael Tomlinson, the Conservative candidate for MDNP who has been MP since 2015, knocked on doors around Upton before settling in Lytchett United Royal British Legion in Dorchester Road. 

Sitting down with the Echo ahead of the general election on July 4, the Home Secretary said the people of MDNP should re-elect Mr Tomlinson because “he’s a fantastic champion for his community”. 

Mr Cleverly said: “He's been a very long-standing friend, which I know is not the only thing that matters, but we're friends because he's got a huge degree of integrity, he's been really supportive of Susie and I personally [his wife].

Home Secretary James Cleverly in Upton, Poole on Friday, June 14 (Image: Daily Echo)

“So maybe I'm biased, but he's also got a track record of being a fantastic campaigner for the local area, working very closely with David [Dorset police and crime commissioner]. 

“We’ve seen was an extra 166 police officers in Dorset Police, we’re seeing a real focus on anti social behaviour.  

“He's someone that when he identifies problems, you know things get resolved. So for example we’ve recently seen funding for the new police boat. 

“He's also a fantastic champion for his local community, and you can see that when we were out earlier today – people saying hello, recognising him as their local MP. 

“Being vocal is important, but actually delivering is really, really key and Michael's got a fantastic track record of delivery, which is why it's a pleasure to have him as a part of the ministerial team.” 

The polls suggest it could be a close fight between Mr Tomlinson and Vikki Slade for the Lib Dems: YouGov said on June 3 the vote could be just two per cent in the Conservative’s favour. 

Mr Tomlinson was asked why residents should vote for him over Mrs Slade. He replied: “It's a straight fight; only one of two people are going to be Prime Minister at the end of the day and that's Keir Starmer or Rishi Sunak.  

(Image: CCHQ)

“And we both work with Rishi, we know his eye for the detail, we know what's important for this country in terms of the economy, in terms of inflation falling. 

“That affects each and every one of us here in mid Dorset and North Poole, all of my constituents are affected when they see those inflation figures returning to normal levels. That is good news.” 

Reform UK, the party which recently took the position of second place according to one poll, have not put a candidate up in MDNP. 

But does Mr Tomlinson take comfort from that? “I fight elections with those who are against me. I don't choose my opponents.  

“I've lived here for over 20 years, this is just around the corner from where Frances [his wife] and I first lived a mile down the road. This is my local patch.”