David Cameron charms the 1922 Committee with his plans for the next election
By Peter Hoskin
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David Cameron has emerged from his end-of-year address to the 1922 Committee — and it seems to have gone well for all concerned. One backbencher tells me that it was the “best speech he can remember Cameron giving to the ‘22”.
What seems to have enthused that MP, and others, is Mr Cameron's overall message. The PM explained to his audience that the Tory election campiagn will focus on themes such as aspiration, the cost of living, and raising the nation up. He described his conference speech as the template for what would come.
And that wasn't all that pleased the spectators. Apparently, Mr Cameron said the Tories will have a genuinely Eurosceptic policy at the next election. And when the name of Lynton Crosby came up, there was much cheering. “It was all what we wanted to hear,” says one of the desk-bangers-in-chief — although it should be noted that others are curbing their enthusiasm until they hear the Prime Minister’s Europe speech in January.
The response to the PM's words on gay marriage was rather more muted, but not unfriendly. He didn't try to slap down those who oppose it, but urged all sides to remain civil to each other.
As for the Andrew Mitchell row, I'm told that Charles Walker stood up to say that the party might learn a lesson from it: don't knock your colleagues when they're down. Doesn't seem like there's too much danger of that tonight, though. They're a relatively happy bunch — for now.