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David Cameron tells the spring forum that today's Conservative Party has the responsible and radical policies to deliver the change Britain needs

Jonathan Isaby's verdict: A confident, from-the-heart performance by David Cameron aimed primarily at those outside the hall rather than those inside it. He emphasised how the party has changed from that which it rejected at the last three elections and highlighted that Conservative policies were not only responsible, but also necessarily radical. He then proceeded to explain some of the changes which the Conservatives will offer the country, making the contrast with Labour - and Brown's - failures on the economy and a whole range of policy areas.

David Cameron is expected to speak without notes, so no text of his speech is being distributed in advance; as such, these are highlights and not verbatim.

2.15pm A video of highlights from David Cameron's leadership since 2005 is now being shown... 

2.18pm The shadow cabinet are being welcomed on to the stage.

2.19pm William Hague is introducing another short film attacking Labour failure and emphasising the need for change...

2.23pm David Cameron enters the hall.

Picture 9
2.25pm I'm going to talk very directly - election victories are not handed on a plate - this election was always going to be close and a fight between Brown and me.

2.26pm He namechecks some of the Shadow Cabinet - George Osborne, Ken Clarke, Theresa May. He attacks Labour for chopping and changing ministers a lot - and says Liam Fox, Andrew Lansley and Hague have all been in the same job for some years and would be fine minsters.

2.28 He praises the dedication and courage of those fighting in Afghanistan and pledges fullest support - and indeed equipment - for them.

2.29pm There are at most 70 days until the election. It's an election we have to win because the country is in a complete mess and it is our patriotic duty to turn this country around. Five more years of Brown would be a disaster for this country. The Government is so dysfunctional, divided and weak. They are locked in a dangerous dance of death which is dragging the country down. Only the Tories can give the country hope for the future. "We will not let you down".

2.31pm The British people still have questions to ask us - what kind of party are we, what do we stand for, what changes will we make? Am I really up for it and up to it?

2.32pm You decided by electing me you wanted to change the party. Now we can say we are the party of the NHS and you, the party, should be proud of that.

2.33pm We are the new environmental party. You selected brilliant women candidates, like Charlotte Vere in Brighton, so we will have more than 60 women MPs if we win. Plus you, the party, has selected candidates of all ethnic backgrounds. The change has not just been a paint job. He cites a number of the BME candidates who have been selected.

2.34pm He also congratulates Sayeeda Warsi for destroying that "nasty piece of filth" Nick Griffin on Question Tine (to great applause).

2.35pm We, the party, are like you, the country and are ready to serve you - and are never going back.

2.36pm The election is a choice between five more years of Brown or change with the Conservative Party. The party has Conservative values - like aspiration, so that this country is about opportunity for all again, supporting small businesses.

2.38pm The importance of responsibility. A good society is a responsible society. He talks about backing families who want to stay together.

2.39pm He talks about changing politics - giving power and control to people over their lives. We believe in people power not state power.

2.41pm Brown is not an economic genius. We will tear up his economic record and tear it apart piece by piece. On the economy, not doing anything as Labour want, will see mortgage and interest rates go up and the country will return to a deeper recession. With debts, the longer you leave it the worse it will get. We should have the confidence we are right on that.

2.44pm Brown says I'm a salesman. I plead guilty. We are going to need some salesmanship. I want to get round the world with businessmen and sell our country to the rest of the world as the best place to invest and I want to send the message that we are under new economic management and open for business again.

Picture 11 2.47pm He lists a number of reasons why there is a broken society in Britain and says he want to make big changes to build a stronger society - starting with the most family friendly manifesto in history - supporting marriage in the tax system, supporting couples in the benefits system... It's about culture too. And he says retailers and TV companies have to think about the messages they send to children. To those who have been trashing family values, this has got to change.

2.48pm His feelings got stronger on the NHS since he said those three letters were his three priorities. There is lots to do to improve the NHS, but we have the ideas to change it and get rid of the bossy top down culture. If I am the PM, I love the NHS and will always stand up and protect it.

2.50pm On schools and education, we have the most radical programme ever. We will bust open the state monopoly and ensure there is the diversity in the state sector you see in the private sector. He applauds school uniforms and school discipline and praises Michael Gove personally.

2.53pm We should be radical in the welfare system too. We believe in supporting those who cannot help themselves. But if you can work and won't, you cannot go on claiming benefits as before. 

2.54pm He repeats the pledge to link pensions with earnings, paid for by increasing the retirement age to 66. You deserve dignity in old age and that is a promise.

2.56pm But changes are needed in our politics. I'm proud we acted first after the MPs' expenses scandal on paying back money, putting claims on the web and saying perks like MPs' pensions had to go. But dealing with that alone is not enough. We will cut the Commons and freeze ministers' pay after cutting it by 5%. It's time to put the government on a diet. On the regional development agencies and spacial plans and the like, they are going.  

2.58pm What about me? Every day that goes by I feel more confident I have what it takes to turn this country around and get it moving again.

3pm We are in a deep hole and I have a sense of urgency. We cannot put off what needs to be done. People want a frankness - they are fed up with soundbites and simplification. The economic changes will be tough, we need to challenge vested interests. We have to be honest. Immigration has been to high for too long and I will cut it and I have set out how that should be done.

3.01pm People should expect radicalism. On education and welfare we will be radical from day one. We are doing this because we want to change the country for the better. People will also get from me a sense of optimism. There is a bright light at the end of the tunnel.

3.02pm We need to give people a sense that if we make these decisions we did them and came through it together. Being a citizen of Britain is about being part of something bigger than yourself. I want us to be a country that feels like a community... Go out there and remind people what sort of a party we are, tell them about our values, set out the changes we will make and demonstrate we have the leadership, the values and ambition to make this country great again.

3.03pm Do it fortified with two things in mind. Every day Brown is running this country is a grey day for Britain. And think of the great changes we can make. We are an amazing people who get up and fight when knocked down. Let's get out there and win this election for Britain.

Jonathan Isaby

7.45pm: Download full Spring Forum Speech.


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