David Cameron warns Welsh Tories of tough times ahead

Prime Minister David Cameron has warned Welsh Conservatives there will be a difficult backdrop to next year's assembly election.

David Cameron told a reception at the party's conference there would be "a tough background" because Westminster spending cuts.

He praised the party's results in the general election, when it won eight seats in Wales.

"We can say the Welsh dragon of Conservatism has awoken in Wales."

Speaking at the Welsh night reception at the Birmingham conference, Mr Cameron praised the Liberal Democrats for entering into coalition.

He also highlighted what he said were radical policies introduced by the coalition - free schools in England, a shake-up of the NHS in England and "the biggest reform of the welfare state in 70 years".

Catrin Edwards, the chair of the Welsh party, told the reception that Nick Bourne, who leads the party in the Welsh assembly, could emerge from next May's assembly election as first minister of a coalition government.

Mr Bourne said: "We have to do these things, but, of course, it won't be popular in some areas, I have no illusions about that.

"But I believe we need to do what's best in the national interest, national Welsh interest, national UK interest and we will go to the electorate on that basis."

The Conservatives are the official opposition in the assembly since Labour and Plaid Cymru formed a coalition in Cardiff Bay after the last election in 2007.

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