Cameron speech: We are here to fight


David Cameron: "This is a battle for Britain's future"

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David Cameron has said the Conservatives have "never been more up for the task of turning our country around", at the party's spring conference in London.

The prime minister sought to reassure grassroots members about the party's direction after its defeat at last month's Eastleigh by-election.

The poll loss has prompted some Tories to demand a shift to the right.

Mr Cameron told party activists: "We are here to fight. We are here to win."

He said that with fewer than 1,000 days until the next general election, activists needed to get the party's message out and "win the majority our country desperately needs".

"Anyone in this party who is in any doubt who we should be fighting, what we should be debating, where our energies should be focused, I tell you - our battle is with Labour," he said.

Labour said the government needed to build a country where "prosperity is fairly shared" - but this would not happen under Mr Cameron.

'Battle for Britain'

Opening his speech, the prime minister said he had a "very clear message" for his party.

"We are people who love our country, who believe in Britain's greatness - and believe in restoring it," he said.


David Cameron said plenty of things that warmed the hearts of the Tory activists who had gathered on this cold, wet Saturday.

The lines in his speech that received the biggest applause were about restoring rigour to the history curriculum, the return of competitive sport in schools and the speeding up of the adoption process.

And like any Tory leader feeling the heat, Mr Cameron dropped in a few references to Thatcher and Churchill.

Nothing focuses the mind like a deadline and so the prime minister also reminded his rank and file that there were fewer than 1,000 days until the next election.

He ended his speech with a predictably scathing attack on Labour but there was no mention of the Lib Dems, who many activists loathe, or of UKIP who many of them fear.

And just as the prime minister left, he was ambushed by a former parliamentary candidate who said she was defecting to UKIP.

"Just read my speech," he shouted as she was bustled out.

He said it was an "honour" and a "privilege" to serve the country in "its hour of need".

"This is a battle for Britain's future we are engaged in," he said.

"So let the message go out from this hall and this party: We are here to fight. We are here to win.

"And we have never been more up for the task of turning our country around."

Mr Cameron also outlined what he saw as the coalition's main achievements and told activists the party was giving people the "tools to succeed".

He said he was following the same Tory values of past prime ministers, such as Margaret Thatcher and Winston Churchill.

"We want people to climb up through their own efforts, yes, but in order to climb up they need the ladder to be there in the first place, the family that nurtures them, the school that inspires them, the opportunities there for them," he said.

"Great Conservatives down the generations have put those ladders in place: when Churchill invented the labour exchanges that helped people into work, when Macmillan built new homes, when Thatcher fired up enterprise so people could start their own businesses.

"That is what we're doing in the Conservative Party right now."

'Fat chance'

He said he also wanted to focus on what the party was doing for young people.

"We are building an aspiration nation, a country where it's not who you know or where you're from but who you are and where you're determined to go," he said.

Start Quote

We need to build a country where everyone has a stake and prosperity is fairly shared... Fat chance of that with David Cameron”

End Quote Michael Dugher Vice-chairman, Labour Party

Mr Cameron reflected on adoption rules, saying barriers to mixed-race adoption were "wrong" and would be changed.

On education, he said he wanted the system to be "like the pushiest, most sharp-elbowed, ambitious parent there is" and he wanted it to "be the norm" for every school leaver to start an apprenticeship or go to university.

He also pledged more help for people who want to own their own home.

On Labour's opposition to benefit cuts being rolled out as part of the deficit reduction programme, Mr Cameron said they were "patronising people, patting them on the head and putting a benefit cheque in their hands".

Michael Dugher, vice-chairman of the Labour Party, said Mr Cameron's leadership was "defined by failure and broken promises".

"When the Tories talk about aspiration, they mean looking after their friends at the top, whilst people on low and middle incomes can go whistle," he said.

"Cameron gives speeches claiming he's helping people, but he's actually delivering a tax cut for millionaires whilst asking millions of working people to pay more.

"We need a change of direction with a One Nation Labour government to build a country where everyone has a stake and prosperity is fairly shared. Fat chance of that with David Cameron."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 769.

    Honestly, to me, i couldn't care what speech we get from Cameron, Miliband, Clegg or anyone else because the only one i would ever be interested in hearing is one that truly represents the people of THIS country. Never going to happen.

  • rate this

    Comment number 136.

    Fight who? The poor, unemployed, teenagers, NHS employees, Local Gov. employees, trade unions, pensioners, workers who rely on benefits, the ill, teachers. Same old failed Thatcherite nonsense that thinks to motivate the poor they have to be starved but to motivate the rich they need Bankers bonuses...

  • rate this

    Comment number 111.

    As an Oxford contemporary of Cameron, Hunt, Johnson, I saw that these people did not mix with fellow students unless they were from the same sort of background. (No state school kids in the Bullingdon club!) It's hard to believe they can truly empathise with the "plebs"(!) that they rule over. Going into politics is seen as a birthright; they seek to wield power, not serve the population.

  • rate this

    Comment number 61.

    I dont want Labour running our economy again and cant see the liberals being capable of power , so I turn to Cameron and say this to him ... protect english innovation , create jobs , be protective of what we are good at .... explain yourself better to the electorate , choose your policies better and find better balance in them and be bolder to help the economy .

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    I don't believe anything he says. Promises a referendum, that won't happen as his party will kick him out within the next year. £150m for primary schools. Supposed to pay for better coaches and trainers. How is less than £9k a year per school supposed to do that?
    All we hear from him is spin, smoke and mirrors.


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