Conservative Diary

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Differences between George Osborne and David Cameron shouldn't be exaggerated

CameronOsborneNot for the first time, Rachel Sylvester raises the idea that there are differences of opinion between George Osborne and David Cameron. The graphic on the right summarises the differences that Ms Sylvester suggests in her Times column.

The two men are of course grown ups and therefore it would be a little odd if they agreed on absolutely everything. An additional difference between the two men that Rachel Sylvester does not mention is the fact that George Osborne is more hawkish on foreign policy than David Cameron.

It would be very wrong to exaggerate the differences, however. If David Cameron did not trust his Shadow Chancellor he would not have given him unprecedented power over the party machine as General Election Campaign Co-ordinator.  He would not be planning a joint operation in Downing Street should the Conservatives win power.

There are limited tensions between the two men's staffs and Team Cameron suspect Team Osborne of being "leaky". There is some behind-the-scenes jostling for position among aides as the prospect of government grows ever closer. One aide to the Tory leader describes the Norman Shaw set up where the two teams cohabit as "macho" and "competitive".

My overall view is that it is good that the two men are slightly different. It is good that different conservative outlooks are represented at the highest levels of the party.  We don't want an unthinking, unproductive unity.

Tim Montgomerie


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