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David Cameron compares Brown's borrowing to a credit card debt (we start repaying now or pay a lot more later)

Highlights from David Cameron's monthly press conference.

Screen shot 2010-01-25 at 11.27.24 The economy: Anticipating the announcement that Britain is finally out of recession, David Cameron said that this had been "the Great Recession"; the longest since the war. He added that the debt crisis is far from over. Every five seconds, he said, the government borrows more than the average person's annual income. He warned people that Britain would follow the example of Greece and pay a much higher interest charge on its borrowings if it did not start to repay its debts soon. He compared the situation to a credit card debt. We all know the problem only gets worse the longer it is left.

Candidate diversity: He said that roughly 10% of all adopted Tory candidates were from minority communities (Kwasi Kwarteng was selected for Spelthorne on Friday night). He said that the Tories would treble the number of female Conservative MPs if the party won a majority. There were be at least sixty female Tories in the Commons and ten to fifteen MPs from a Black or Ethnic Minority (BME) background.

Northern Ireland: On Northern Ireland David Cameron said his principal goal was for devolution to be completed and his "excellent" Northern Ireland spokesman, Owen Paterson, was talking to all parties, including the DUP, to help achieve that. His aim was to ensure the UUP-Tory alliance contested every seat at the General Election as part of his hope to see NI politics normalised and become non-sectarian.

Family and marriage: He defended his support for a marriage tax allowance. No person can be under any doubt, he said, after recent weeks that the Conservatives back marriage and the family. It is all part of moving from a society of "me, me, me" to "we, we, we".

Fixed-term parliaments: He said that he was sympathetic to fixed term parliaments but needed to be convinced that there would be a mechanism to end weak minority governments that were bad for the country.

Prisons: Gary Gibbon of Channel 4 News asked if the Tories were a "happy prison ship" after weekend reports that Cameron's office and the Justice team were at odds on the use of prison ships to deal with overcapacity in the penal system. Various options were under consideration, said the Tory leader, and there was a clear determination to end Labour's early release scheme which saw many offenders out of jail without serving half their sentence.

Tim Montgomerie

[I asked if the Tory leader would consider joining Twitter. More on that later.]


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