The Conservatives have made West Yorkshire their key election battlefield, William Hague has said.
The senior Tory was in Farsley with Stuart Andrew as the party tries to defend the Yorkshire seats Labour is desperate to win.
The former Foreign Secretary, who is stepping down from the Richmond constituency he has held in North Yorkshire since 1989, visited as a new poll of marginal seats released by Lord Ashcroft showed Pudsey now tied between Labour and the Conservatives.
Mr Hague said: “West Yorkshire is really important, it always is in General Elections, but this one is absolutely no exception, it will be vital to us.
“This is a crucial General Election in terms of the direction the country goes in. People’s votes have never mattered more in West Yorkshire than they matter in this election.
“We have a strong record to defend, 129,000 more people in employment in Yorkshire and the Humber than there were five years ago, and a great many of those are in West Yorkshire.”
Mr Hague added: “It is a tough campaign, it is clearly a close election, it can go either way.
“These sort of campaigns are tough, but most importantly is that this is a really big choice.
“A bigger choice than any election in a long time, certainly since 1992.
“Are we going to carry on with the policies which have turned this country around or go back to where we were five years ago.”