ELECTION fever is hotting up in Westmorland and Lonsdale as two of the candidates hoping to win the seat launched their campaigns.

Baroness Shirley Williams helped the region's current MP Tim Farron (Lib Dem) begin his bid for re-election at the Shakespeare Centre in Kendal.

And Dr Chris Loynes got his campaign under way with the help of Professor Andy Dobson, co-author of the Green Party's manifesto, at an event at the Pavilion in Staveley at the weekend.

Mr Farron, who won the seat in 2005 with a margin of just 267 votes before romping to a 12,264 vote victory in 2010, said: “I try to work tirelessly, every day, to make a difference to the community I live in and call home.

"Our track record of bringing jobs, investment and health care services is something that I and the Lib Dem team are proud of.

"Every time I meet a young person I hear about how the 3,000 apprenticeships we have helped create is benefitting them; or when we cut the ribbon to a new housing development, that’s a roof over a local families head; or when I visit the hospital, I see the years of proud campaigning to keep Westmorland General open."

Baroness Williams added: "What matters nowadays is whether an MP is really good and I can say for certain that in Tim Farron Cumbria has one of the best MPs we have ever seen."

The Green Party is standing in Westmorland and Lonsdale for the first time since 1983.

“We have seen Green Party membership rise in the South Lakes seven fold and will be able to actively campaign much more widely introducing Green ideas to the voters of the region for the first time," said Dr Loynes, from Ulverston. "On the environment, the NHS, the rail network, the economy and on austerity we have a bold vision that offers the only real alternative to the other parties.”

Professor Dobson added: "The slogan of the manifesto is 'For The Common Good' because we feel that has been forgotten in the interests of the rich, powerful and wealthy."

He said headline policies included building 500,000 new homes and introducing a £10 minimum wage by 2020.

Cash for these projects would be raised by taxing the richest one per cent of the population more and also by taxing financial transactions, he added.