Former Conservative Party leader William Hague has been in South Devon to back local candidate Anthony Mangnall’s re-election bid, just two weeks before the country goes to the polls.

Lord Hague and Mr Mangnall were in Brixham on Wednesday (June 19) to meet the party faithful at the Churston farm shop cafe in Brixham.

The Tory grandee defended Mr Mangnall’s record as former MP for Totnes – Mangnall worked as researcher for Lord Hague early in his career. He also attacked the Labour Party and Reform UK, which are seen as the biggest direct challengers to the Conservatives on July 4.

The visit comes as the Tories trail Labour by between 16 and 20 points in the polls, with a recent YouGov poll suggesting Mr Mangnall would lose his seat to the Liberal Democrats.

Lord Hague, who led the Tories from 1997 to 2001, claimed people with savings would be taxed heavily if Labour won the election. He also took a swipe at the Reform Party’s leader, Nigel Farage, particularly surrounding his close relationship with US presidential candidate, Donald Trump.

Asked if negative campaigning was a sign of the Tories’ desperation, Lord Hague said: “People are making a choice, so they need to be aware of the disadvantages of the possible choices they're making, as well as the advantages.”

He also brushed off the scandals that have hit the government and said Mr Sunak deserved four more years in office.

“There is a very strong case for re-electing the government. One is that over the 14-year period, English schools have improved dramatically, so that we're really now turning out tens of thousands of people with higher scores in reading and mathematics into universities.

“The Prime Minister also made the point (that) the tax rate being paid by the average worker is at its lowest since 1975 because of the reductions in National Insurance contributions,” he said. That's not going to take place under a Labour government. Certainly in the last two years since Rishi Sunak has been there, the economy has been stabilised, inflation has been brought right down and most industrial disputes have been solved.”