THE leader of the Liberal Democrats said people in Didcot quizzed him about Boris Johnson's conduct as he visited the town today.

Ed Davey visited Didcot and Goring today in on of the final stops of a UK-wide tour ahead of this Thursday's local elections.

The MP for Kingston and Surbition said the Prime Minister’s recent conduct and the environment were among the hot topics as he joined Oxfordshire Lib Dems door-knocking.

Speaking to the Oxford Mail this afternoon he said: “We have always been a bottom-up party in terms of community politics and I think during the pandemic many people have almost rediscovered or reconnected with their community.”

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He went on: “The thing that underpins that is that here in Oxfordshire you have got a Tory county council which has been in power for 16 years and there is a sense that this is a time for a change.

“And then on top of that you have what has been happening with Number 10: the flat and comments like ‘let the bodies pile high’, and I think people are finding it difficult to vote Conservative."

He added: "There is a sense we have got a spring in our step.”

While the Lib Dem leader said he thought his party would do well in the local polls, he added it was ‘too early to tell’ whether this would influence a vote in the next General Election, scheduled for 2024.

He said: “Locally we think we can make gains from both Conservatives and Labour at these elections. We think we can move forward.

"Beyond that it is difficult to put numbers on it, because this has been the strangest campaign I can remember because we haven’t, until March 8, been able to knock on people’s doors.”

Mr Davey, a former energy and environment minister in the Coalition Government years, added that his party had ‘a very strong green economic recovery message’, and the coronavirus pandemic was a ‘critical moment to move the economy towards the net zero carbon society we need’.

But the Lib Dem leader was unable to answer a question about his party’s election leaflet claims.

Oxfordshire Lib Dem leaflets have included a claim, in one of their campaign leaflets, that Conservatives and Labour councillors 'voted not to give a pay rise to care workers in the county'.

ELECTIONS 2021: The candidates for Oxfordshire listed

This was based on the county council’s budget for 2021-22, which includes a 2.99 per cent rise in council tax that was voted for by Labour and the Tories.

The Lib Dems voted against the council tax rise but, while the party’s councillors had called for a larger increase in the tax, none of them proposed an amendment to the budget to vote on.

When asked about this leaflet claim by this paper, Mr Davey said he did not know the details, but did criticise the national Conservative Government for not providing NHS staff with a more than one per cent pay rise.

He said: “What I do know is nationally the Conservatives have in their recommendations for the health review body, the NHS pay review body, have said that NHS staff can only have a one per cent rise, which when inflation is more than one per cent, is a pay cut.”

“So I can’t comment on the local situation, what I can say is for sure, the Conservatives, and I think people are shocked and angry about this, are backing a paycut for NHS staff.”

The Lib Dems have also been criticised in the past for election leaflets that look like newspapers.

Elections will take place this Thursday, May 6.