SHADOW cabinet member, David Willetts, has visited Swindon to support Tory candidates in a Labour stronghold.

The shadow secretary of state for innovation, universities and skills visited the Parks ward to see the regeneration in the area and to speak to locals.

Two of the wards three seats are being contested at this election.

Labour's Steve Allsopp's seat was due to be contested in this round of elections - but the resignation of Barrie Thompson (Lab) earlier this year has prompted an election for another seat in the ward.

Mr Willetts said that Swindon is an important area for the Conservative party.

He said: "This is a town which is seeing a lot of change and regeneration.

"That's one of the reasons I have come to visit Parks ward.

"I am here to canvass opinion and to support the two excellent Conservative candidates.

"People in this ward have had to put up with a lot, including an absentee councillor and we want a better deal for them."

On the subject of a university in Swindon, Mr Willetts said: "I want to see more people going to university and I can fully understand the desire for a university in Swindon, "I think it's very disappointing that the talks with the University of Bath did not work out."

The seat is being contested by Stephen Raymond Allsopp (Lab); Graham Charles Cherry (Con); Mark Edward Dempsey (Lab); Claire Ellis (Con); Mark Stephen Grant (Lib Dem); Terence Hayward (UKIP) and John Harold Kurton (Lib Dem).