East Hampshire’s Conservative candidate “regrets” that the national media has overlooked education in its election campaign and manifesto coverage.

Damian Hinds insists the Tory government has much to laud following a host of “dramatic improvements” during its 14 years in power.

England’s schoolchildren are ranked top readers in the Western world while the country’s ranking in maths has risen from 27 in 2009 to eleventh.

He also points out that nine out of ten East Hampshire schools are rated Good or Outstanding by Ofsted and are achieving results above the national average.

But the biggest related issue to get the most column inches has been Labour’s plan to tax independent education, with Mr Hinds feeling the move will be “damaging” to local families and the ability of state schools to soak up additional numbers.

He said: “Education has always been my first passion and it has been a privilege to work with teachers and school leaders, both as a government minister and as a back-bencher on the Education Select Committee.

“Whoever is in government after the election, if I am re-elected I will continue to advocate for all that education can achieve.”

Mr Hinds went on to praise the “fantastic cohort” that have improved standards in East Hampshire and the “brilliant teachers” that have improved England’s standing internationally.

“But if there is a Labour government, there are also much wider risks in education that will affect all children,” added Mr Hinds, pointing to a drop in standards in Labour-governed Wales.