Conservative Diary

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"I messed up... I misdescribed our family policy," says Cameron

Speaking this morning on Radio 4's Today programme, David Cameron said that he had "messed up" describing his policy on marriage during an interview with the BBC on Monday. "I misdescribed our policy," he said, during a busy day of lots of interviews but, we want to recognise marriage in the tax system and it will be done in the next Parliament.

Presented with a series of questions on Tory commitments and whether they were still valid, he responded by saying that the reason why the Conservatives were publishing a draft manifesto, chapter by chapter, was so that the public has time to fully understand Conservative plans.

He had his first public opportunity to comment on yesterday's 'SnowStorm Plot'. Mr Cameron said that the country faced huge challenges at the moment, not least a "massive deficit" and a war in Afghanistan. If ever, he said, there was a time the country needed united and focused leadership then that time was now.  Rather than focusing on the country's problems, Labour ministers were focused on saving their careers. If the BBC's Nick Robinson is right, the Tory leader continued, and the Cabinet is not enthusiastic about Gordon Brown, it is difficult to see why the country should be supportive of him either.

On four other topics:

  1. On prisons Mr Cameron repeated the Tory promise to abolish Labour's early release programme and to introduce 'MinMax' sentencing so that everyone knows the minimum and maximum sentence that a convicted offender will serve.
  2. The promise to freeze council tax for two years is also still valid.
  3. Mr Cameron told Evan Davis (who you can now follow on Twitter) that he did not agree with John Major's criticisms of the political parties using pagers (and now Blackberrys) to message every MP with the lines to take. We live in a fast-moving, 24 hour news cycle and we need to get messages out quickly, he said. That did not mean that backbenchers shouldn't have more independent power, however, and there should be more free votes in the Commons under a Conservative government.
  4. The Tory leader dodged questions about whether that giant photo of him on Tory posters was airbrushed (there has been a lot of speculation). I think we can assume, therefore, that a little Photoshopping did take place!

Tim Montgomerie


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