Tories cannot promise dualling

It was no tie and a reluctance to make promises as Tory leader David Cameron took to a North town's streets yesterday, for a whirlwind visit in the run-up to local elections.

It was no tie and a reluctance to make promises as Tory leader David Cameron took to a North town's streets yesterday, for a whirlwind visit in the run-up to local elections.

The casually-dressed Conservative leader - sporting a smart suit, but with his shirt unbuttoned at the neck - made a flying stopover at Berwick to meet staff at the town's infirmary.

He sat and chatted with nurses in the day hospital, where he discussed working arrangements, community care and out-of-hours doctor cover, before embarking on a hand-shaking tour of the sunny town centre.

But Mr Cameron - the first leader of the party to visit Berwick in 30 years - said he couldn't commit to upgrading the A1 road between Northumberland and the Scottish Border.

It follows a campaign launched by local man Kenny Patterson, in the wake of 10 years of unfulfilled pledges by Prime Minister Tony Blair to dual the route.

A petition lodged on Mr Blair's website has now been signed by more than 2,500 people.

Mr Cameron said yesterday: "It is a very difficult piece of road to deal with.

"I am fully aware of the problems and we are keen to do something about it, but I can't wave a magic wand.

"We can't make a spending pledge at this moment in time."

But he added: "We won't make the same mistake as the Labour Party and cancel the whole road programme when we take office.

"We have set up a group to look at infrastructure, and we have said very clearly that there is a case for road improvements."

Speaking of his visit to Berwick Infirmary, he added: "We fully support community hospitals and the staff here at Berwick are very dedicated."

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