Conservative Diary

Cameron interviews

9 Aug 2013 08:06:45

Cameron’s everywhere – and that ain’t necessarily a bad thing

By Peter Hoskin
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Saunter through ConservativeHome’s newslinks this morning, and you’ll notice something: David Cameron is everywhere in them, even more so than usual. From shale gas to social networks, from Gibraltar to the tenets of his Christianity, the Prime Minister is broadcasting more content than the average satellite channel, at the moment. He’s even ‘fessed up to his love for The Boss.

This is something that the Guardian’s Patrick Wintour has noticed, too. In a fine article for the Guardian, he describes Cameron as a “24-hour news machine”, and contrasts his and Nick Clegg’s hyperactivity with Labour’s relative silence. As Wintour puts it:

Continue reading "Cameron’s everywhere – and that ain’t necessarily a bad thing" »

6 Jan 2013 10:31:50

Cameron begins new year with defence of child benefit changes and promise of quicker deportation of likes of Abu Qatada

By Tim Montgomerie
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Screen Shot 2013-01-06 at 09.34.13

Cameron appeared on BBC1 wearing a light blue shirt. It's the second time in 2013 he's abandoned his normal white shirt policy. Perhaps Mrs Cameron bought him a new wardrobe for Christmas?

We have two interviews with the PM to report this morning.

In one, in The Sunday Telegraph, Mr Cameron tells Matthew d'Ancona that he wants to go on to 2020 as Prime Minister. He recommits himself to some of the policies that annoy core Tory voters - including gay marriage, climate change targets and the expansion of the aid budget but he also insists that his tough approach to immigration and human rights laws are mainstream. On Abu Qatada he suggests a tabloid-pleasing shift of policy is on its way: “I am fed up with seeing suspected terrorists play the system with numerous appeals." He continues: "That’s why I’m keen to move to a policy where we deport first, and suspects can appeal later.”

During Mr Cameron's interview with Andrew Marr he was pressed constantly on the fact that under the Government's child benefit changes single high-earner couples could be penalised relative to double high-earner couples. This appears unfair to voters and the Centre for Social Justice has attacked it as "another blow to marriage". The PM had no real answer to the single earner problem but argued that “people see it as fundamentally fair that if there is someone in the household earning £60k, you don’t get child benefit.” Polling backs him - very strongly - on that narrow measure.

Continue reading "Cameron begins new year with defence of child benefit changes and promise of quicker deportation of likes of Abu Qatada" »

7 Oct 2012 10:45:38

Cameron pitches to strivers - and hints at crackdown on EU migrants - in Marr interview

By Matthew Barrett
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Cameron Marr

David Cameron put in a good show on the Andrew Marr programme this morning, in his big pre-conference interview. The main takeaways from the Prime Minister's interview were:

  • a determination to fight for strivers, including an unapologetic defence of cutting the top rate of tax
  • a "new settlement" for the European Union - not necessarily a referendum, but less EU immigration, and new budgetary processes
  • no turning back on the deficit reduction plan

The most striking of these points was the European one. Mr Cameron backed Theresa May's suggestion of a new look at migration within the European Union amongst European Union citizens - which could be a game-changer, ending uncontrolled immigration. Mr Cameron also suggested that instead of having one budget for the entire European Union, there should be one for the Eurozone members, and one for non-Eurozone members. This would create, by definition, a two-tier European Union. He struggled a little on the question of a European referendum, but he wants to keep his options open, and has committed only to reviewing options for reform within Europe. 

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29 Apr 2012 10:23:25

The Coalition is strong and focused on delivering over five years, says Cameron in confident Marr Show interview

By Tim Montgomerie
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Screen Shot 2012-04-29 at 09.30.01

David Cameron may be down in the opinion polls but he showed this morning that he was far from out in a confident interview with Andrew Marr. Most of the interview was given over to the BSkyB controversy before attention switched to Britain's economic challenges. I summarise the interview below.

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23 Apr 2012 08:47:22

The British people know I'll get some things right and some things wrong - the key thing is my average doesn't fall too low

By Tim Montgomerie
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David Cameron is giving a round of interviews today in which he's attempting to "restate" rather than relaunch his Government's purpose. He's spending the day with Nick Robinson in order to produce big reports for tonight's 6pm and 10pm bulletins but he began the day with interviews on TV and also Radio 4. Here are the highlights from his encounter with John Humphrys:

  • David Cameron readily admitted that it had been a difficult month and he wanted the Government to do better. The key thing, he said, was to keep an eye on the long-term and on the Government's "economic rescue mission". He insisted that "we are more than accountants" and that his mission was to be on the side of hard-working people who do the right thing.
  • On the fuel strike he accepted "that we need to learn lessons in terms of communications".
  • On Qatada he said the Government had been right to move as rapidly as possible to begin deportation procedures rather than wait another 24 hours. The Home Office had repeatedly checked on the date for appeal and all of the case law pointed in the same direction. He declined to criticise Theresa May.
  • David Cameron insisted we are all still in this together and that the richest 10% are paying ten times more than the poorest 10%.
  • The trickiest part of his interview came on tax avoidance. Was he right to have given Sir Philip Green of BHS such a big cross-Whitehall role, asked John Humphrys when he has been accused of putting so much of his money offshore? The PM said he was reluctant to discuss anyone's personal tax affairs on air (this wasn't Ken Livingstone after all!) and refused to condemn Sir Philip. He did, however, agree to Mr Humphry's suggestion that he shouldn't in future deal with people engaged in aggressive tax avoidance. Yes, Cameron said, that would be sensible.
  • The PM affirmed his commitment to Lords reform. "I am in favour of reform of the House of Lords. It is the right thing to do." He went on, however, to concede that it was not the most important thing the Government was planning but that the blueprint amounted to "sensible, reasonable, rational reform." He wouldn't rule out a referendum but added "personally I dont see the case for a referendum as a strong one".
  • Asked about increasing suggestions that he's lazy he said that he was always at his desk from 5.45am. "This is a huge honour to do this job... but it is hard work. I work very, very hard at it." "It's got to be possible," Mr Cameron said, "to be a decent husband, a decent father as well as prime minister".

The British people know I'll get some things right and some things wrong, the Prime Minister said, the key thing is my average doesn't fall too low.

> On Local Government today we preview the PM's speech in Bristol in support of city mayors.

> In his Monday column Bruce Anderson also defends the PM's work ethic and urges us all to realise that attacks on his Downing Street operation (see yesterday's ToryDiary) are "a thinly-disguised attack on him".

12 Jan 2012 13:34:29

David Cameron tells The House magazine he wants to use the boundary review to select more women candidates in key seats

By Matthew Barrett
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HouseCoverJan12David Cameron, in the latest edition of The House magazine, has given an interview to Paul Waugh, in which he suggests the Conservative Party should use the ongoing boundary reviews - and the consequent Party selection processes - to push for more women candidates. 

Mr Cameron says: 

"We’ve obviously got a Boundary Review, which is a very big issue so I don’t want to pile another new set of issues on top of that, but I think where there are opportunities, new seats, entirely new seats where we hope to take on Labour, or perhaps some seats where people are retiring, we’ve got to ask ourselves, the party needs to ask itself the question, ‘what are we going to do to help keep pushing forward the agenda of getting more good women to stand for Parliament and to get into Parliament. That’s a conversation we are starting now."

On a similar note, Mr Cameron was asked "Do you still have the ambition to have a third of your ministers as women? Is that still viable?". He replied:

"I do. Look, I’m very committed to the progress of getting more women standing for Parliament, getting more women elected to Parliament and when in Parliament, making sure that we have more women on the front bench. Obviously we are in a Coalition and we have two parties and that changes the arithmetic but I certainly want to do my bit."

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8 Jan 2012 12:28:25

Cameron tells Andrew Marr that "every avenue of policy is about helping the economy to grow"

By Joseph Willits 
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Screen shot 2012-01-08 at 11.41.06On this morning's Andrew Marr Show, Cameron reiterated his commitment to battle against "crony capitalism" and pursue a transparent agenda. Both the Observer and the Sunday Telegraph reported that the Prime Minister would personally back plans to make shareholder remuneration votes mandatory. Speaking to Andrew Marr, Cameron said that "pay going up and up and up when it’s not commensurate with success businesses are having" was wrong in a time of "market failure". He continued:

"Excessive growth in payment unrelated to success that’s frankly ripping off the shareholder and the customer, and is crony capitalism and is wrong ... payments for failures, big rewards when people fail, make people’s blood boil."

Cameron promised "clear transparency" in three ways:

  • "The publication of proper pay numbers, so you can really see what people are being paid".
  • "Binding shareholder votes so the owners of the company are being asked to vote on the pay levels".
  • A shareholder "vote on any parts about dismissal packages and payments for failure.”

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6 Jan 2012 08:53:32

Cameron's first big interview of 2012 focuses on nursing, the economy and the meaning of the EU veto

By Tim Montgomerie
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David Cameron was on Radio 4 this morning and covered a whirlwind of topics in an interview characterised by constant interruptions from Evan Davies.

The interview began with the Prime Minister's theme of the day - a review of nursing practice to address the growing evidence of the neglect of elderly patients. Mr Cameron said that the nation has such respect for nurses that politicians had been reluctant to talk about examples of poor standards of care in some hospital settings. He said his constituency mailbag had contained some "chilling stories" of how elderly relatives have been treated and the issue now had to be a priority. He promised that the 'new nurses quality forum' (Daily Mail report) would look at ensuring proper rounds of wards, more conversation between nurses and patients, proper leadership of wards and patient-led inspections of wards so that standards could be independently verified.

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2 Sep 2011 08:55:38

David Cameron promises "tough love" for Britain's broken households and that Britain will remain a global military power

By Tim Montgomerie
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David Cameron was interviewed on Radio 4's Today programme this morning and was questioned under two broad topics: the Libyan campaign and also the riots. I summarise his remarks below.


  • Anxious not to appear triumphalist Cameron warned of difficult days ahead and said that this was the triumph of the Libyan people and not of western powers.
  • He was, however, careful to argue that Britain had made a major contribution including 20% of all attack sorties, being instrumental in rallying the UN to action and also in encouraging patience when the campaign appeared, to some, to be dragging on.
  • The PM said there would be lessons to learn from the campaign and we'll take our time to learn them. Success in Libya, he said, meant that the Arab Spring was now more likely to continue and flourish. In addition Gaddafi was a "monster" who had supported terrorism against Britain and the world was better off without him.
  • He noted little backing from the Arab League or UN for action against Syria and said UK, which wanted tougher action, was having trouble even getting a travel ban agreed.
  • He said that choices in the defence review had been vindicated by the Libya campaign. We hadn't missed an aircraft carrier, he said, and the Tornado was more capable than Harrier jets for the precision raids that successfully minimised risks to the civilian population. He rejected reports coming out of America that UK forces were running out of ammunition.
  • In broader remarks on defence spending Mr Cameron said that at the end of the defence cuts Britain would still be spending 2% of national income on defence - which is what NATO recommends. In cash terms defence spending is hardly falling and by "only" 8% in real terms. We'll still be the fourth largest defence power in the world, he continued, and listed retention of Britain's nuclear deterrent, a world class new aircraft carrier, a new fleet of destroyers and the new Typhoon fighter as evidence that Britain will remain a "full spectrum defence player."

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18 Jul 2011 12:13:51

Cameron needs to get on the telly, into people's living rooms and speak to the country about our newspaper industry and the police

By Tim Montgomerie
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Janet Daley makes a good point over at Telegraph blogs:

"David Cameron has answered (sort of) the questions that have been put to him at the end of press conferences or speeches which were convened to deal with other things. He has issued terse, formally worded statements which mean little or nothing. He has not faced the country and confronted head-on, with his face in full close-up, the questions that the people want answered."

It's very good advice. Cameron hasn't spoken to the nation about Hackgate in dedicated TV interviews. One-to-one TV is Cameron's best format - better than speeches, better than press conferences and better than parliamentary debates. He needs to get on TV soon so he can reassure voters that he's the right man to steer Britain through this unhappy process. He has a good story to tell but it's not being heard at the moment. Over to you Craig Oliver...