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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 November, 2003, 19:10 GMT
Howard pledges to stay put
Michael Howard
Michael Howard has been MP for Folkestone and Hythe for 20 years
New Conservative leader Michael Howard has rejected any suggestion he will move from his constituency to a safer seat.

As soon as it was announced Mr Howard would be leader the Liberal Democrats pledged to step up their campaign and make winning his seat their top priority.

Mr Howard was first elected as the MP for Folkestone and Hythe in 1983.

At the last election his majority fell to just under 6,000

Liberal Democrat MP Paul Tyler said in the Commons: "I and my colleagues share the delight on the appointment of the new leader of the Conservative Party, not least because we are taking a close interest in the real election which will take place in his constituency."

There is no question of me moving my seat - I am devoted to my constituents and my constituency
Michael Howard
But speaking to BBC Radio Kent, Mr Howard said: "I am certainly not going to move.

"They (the Liberal Democrats) have been saying that for the last 20 years.

"My constituents know they are my political life blood and I never take them for granted.

"I always know I have to earn their trust and their confidence at every election.

"But on Saturday morning I shall be at my advice centre on Romney Marsh just as I always am.

"My constituency know they can rely on me.

"There is no question of me moving my seat - I am devoted to my constituents and my constituency.

"I live in it, I love it, and I am going to be there and I am going to be fighting the next general election there."

The BBC's Dominic King interviews Michael Howard
"I am devoted to my constituents"


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