THE impact of the first national television debate between the leaders of the three main parties has been an issue during the campaign in Ludlow.

Liberal Democrat candidate Heather Kidd claimed that the performance of Nick Clegg had transformed the election.

“On Monday of last week, voters were reacting positively but by Friday and Saturday they were positively enthusiastic.

The election is now wide open,” she said.

The Liberal Democrat candidate said she had visited 23 different communities.

“As well as national concerns, local issues came strongly to the fore this week.

Many people are expressing concerns about our local services and especially our hospitals and our schools.

“In rural areas like ours, institutions like these are the lynchpin of our communities.”

The Liberal Democrat campaign was joined in Craven Arms by Lord Roger Roberts of Llandudno, a front bench spokesman in the House of Lords.

Philip Dunne, the Conservative candidate, hosted a ‘Debt Clock’ mounted on the side of an articulated lorry at Ludlow Food Centre last Thursday.

The Taxpayers’ Alliance has organised the digital display, which calculates how much the Government has borrowed since April 1.

Mr Dunne said it had been a great week: “I have been well received wherever I go and have met people all over the constituency who are keen to support me and help change the government. We had a very well attended hustings in Ludlow last week and I am looking forward to more hustings with other candidates and public meetings.”

The election is reminding UKIP candidate Christopher Gill of his previous life as a Conservative MP for Ludlow between 1987 and 2001.

“Canvassing in Ludlow, I was once again surprised and humbled to meet so many people who knew me,” said Mr Gill. After a trip to London for the launch of his party’s manifesto, he took part in hustings at Ludlow School and Cleobury Mortimer.

UKIP and the Conservatives also came face-to-face when their two ‘battle buses’ turned up at the same place in the north of the constituency.

Labour candidate Tony Hunt has been touring the constituency warning that a change of Government would put the economic recovery at risk. He was joined by John Spellar, a veteran Labour MP and Government whip.