David Cameron vows to 'focus' after election defeats

The Camerons after voting David Cameron, with his wife Samantha, says last week's elections had given the coalition a message

David Cameron has promised to "focus on what matters" as he seeks to fight back from poor local election results.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, he appears to distance himself from the coalition, saying things would be "more straightforward" working alone.

The PM set out different goals to his deputy, Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, who urged House of Lords reform - seen as a distraction by some Tories.

Labour says Mr Cameron is showing increasing signs of "bunker mentality".

On Wednesday, Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg will jointly outline the coalition's agenda for the next year in the Queen's Speech.

It follows local elections in which both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats suffered heavy losses: the Tories losing 405 council seats and their coalition partners 336.


In his Daily Telegraph article Mr Cameron focuses on cutting regulation and tax to help the private sector, reforming the welfare and financial systems and helping first time buyers get on the housing ladder.

But writing in the Guardian, Mr Clegg says the coalition must "get on with" introducing House of Lords reform, and calls for lower tax and energy bills, more free childcare and increased training for young people.


When David Cameron said in his Daily Telegraph article "I get the message", what exactly was the message he got?

The MP doing the rounds on Monday, to offer supportive words for the prime minister, told the BBC the message was "get going on the economy" (to paraphrase the electorate).

Tory MP Nick Boles has put a timescale on it too. He said signs of a positive impact from the coalition's policies on bank lending, house building and other infrastructure projects need to be seen "within months".

It's fair to say that means green shoots, unemployment continuing to drop etc, by the autumn. There's a message, too, from the top about priorities and the inter-coalition tension over reforming the House of Lords.

Nick Clegg has piped up about it again, calling it the type of "radical reform" he wants to see. But the voice of the Tory high command sees it differently. Nick Boles says "Parliament can discuss it... it's not a priority for the government". The signs are it's going nowhere soon.

Since the local elections the prime minister has come under pressure from some of his own MPs who want him to focus on distinctively Conservative policies.

Brian Binley, Tory MP for Northampton, was quoted on the Conservative Home website as "urging Mr Cameron to rethink policies that are too Lib Dem-friendly".

And Julian Brazier, Conservative MP for Canterbury in Kent, urged the PM to eschew gay marriage and Lords reform, both of which he described as "pretty ridiculous fringe policies".

In his Telegraph article, Mr Cameron appears to distance himself somewhat from his coalition partners when he writes: "Of course, some things would be more straightforward if I was running a Conservative-only administration, rather than a coalition.

"And let me be clear, that is my aim after the next election."

Mr Cameron writes he will not move right or left and is sceptical of those who think answers can be found in "loud ideologies".

He adds: "The message people are sending is this: focus on what matters, deliver what you promise - and prove yourself in the process. I get it."

He said he knew the "familiar excuses" of a low turnout, and mid term blues were not enough.

"Even the difficulties of our economic situation and the tough but necessary decisions the government has had to take cannot fully explain the results," he said.

Nick Clegg Mr Clegg says the second half of the coalition government "has to be about reform"

Mr Clegg said while the first two years of the coalition were about the economy, "the second half has to be about reform", including in the House of Lords."For more than a century, we have been debating the commonsense idea that the people who obey the laws of the land should elect the people who make them," he said.

"Instead of getting ourselves tied up in knots in Westminster about this, we just need to get on with it."

The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats agreed in their coalition deal to set up a committee to examine proposals for a "wholly or mainly elected upper chamber".

However Mr Cameron did not mention Lords reform in his Telegraph piece.

Chancellor George Osborne, speaking on Sunday's The Andrew Marr Show on BBC One, said the Conservatives were committed to "looking" at the issue but it was not an "overriding" priority.

Alternative Queen's speech

While Lord's reform is expected to be included in the Queen's Speech, not all Bills are published in detail and some are put out to consultation.

Meanwhile, Labour's shadow cabinet office minister Michael Dugher said the prime minister was showing "increasing signs of having a bunker mentality".

"After two years in Downing Street, with one million young people out of work and an economy in recession, he says the lesson is that he needs to put in some 'hard work'," he said.

"Only this out-of-touch prime minister would have taken 730 days to figure that out."

Meanwhile the unofficial but influential website Conservative Home is publishing an alternative Queen's Speech - including ideas for bills ranging from more grammar schools to a referendum on Britain's EU membership. Around 20 MPs have contributed ideas.

Conservative MP John Redwood told the Today programme, he was not contributing to the alternative speech, but had been asked for ideas for what he would like to see.

He said he wanted to see the government take "strong action to give customers a better deal when buying water, when buying energy, when dealing with the banks" over the "next year or two".


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  • rate this

    Comment number 299.

    I agree, the austerity measures are necessary and will be unpopular. However, Cameron needs to listen to the people and balance what to give the people. We need to encourage work and growth, discourage laziness. We need to move away from political correctness, red tape, and promote fairness. We need to stand up to Europe (even if we do have a crop failure with the bad weather).

  • rate this

    Comment number 298.

    94 Eddythered. Wholeheartedly agree with your comments. We all know whats going on but but GO and DC are trying to con us. Reduce the tax rate for the rich and get more revenue?? If that is true cut the tax rates for everyone and solve the budget deficit.

  • rate this

    Comment number 297.

    How much more corruption do the people of the UK have to see before they wake up to the fact that the government do not work for them.

    Do not try to come up with ways to fix the system because it is impossible as the system is based on fractional reserve banking.

    You are going to end up living in a totalitarian regime in the very near future.

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • rate this

    Comment number 296.

    DC seems quite on his own and hanging on by shere bluster and bravado

    The whole nation seems of a like minded opinion & irrespective of party loyalties. The thin porridge of politics is put aside.

    Tory grass roots are hounding their own PM, snapping at his heels. But who is there amongst their ranks who could replace him, & by what mandate?

    Certainly not the mandate of the electorate

  • rate this

    Comment number 295.

    "The message people are sending is this: focus on what matters, deliver what you promise - and prove yourself in the process. I get it."...Arrogant as always, and no Dave, you don't get it. People have absolutely no faith in you.

  • rate this

    Comment number 294.

    Everything this coalition gov does is wrong. I cannot think of any one good thing they have achieved. Perhaps, in future, when they have a collective thought or idea, they should do the exact opposite. After all, they can hardly do worse!

  • rate this

    Comment number 293.

  • rate this

    Comment number 292.

    My problem is that it is the PUBLIC who don't know their politics in my opinion.
    The only people who vote conservatives are extremely religious, rich and people who like to pride themselves as being extremely British.

    People need to see beyond this facade, we need a change, Conservatives and Labour aren't fit to run government. I would like to see Nick Clegg stop singing to Cameron and act.

  • rate this

    Comment number 291.

    248. Peakeen No its more easy to win an election and make easy choices, that is what the Conservatives are doing. Its easier to tax the working man and woman while letting the bankers get rich, its easier to cut NHS budgets but still invest billions in Trident and its easier not to deport people who are crooks because you may upset your partners in crime.

  • rate this

    Comment number 290.

    That's it Dave, when you're in a hole dig faster!

  • rate this

    Comment number 289.

    It seems to me that there is a sense of unreality descending over Europe this morning. It is very easy to see why austerity policies in France, Greece and the UK are unpopular but those calling for more growth must realise this also means more borrowing. Who will lend the money'? No-one!! People should remember who borrowed all the money rather than simply critisise those who have to pay it back.

  • rate this

    Comment number 288.

    It is time for change. Cameron's hard work has brought us more unemployment, a second dip in the recession. The coalition isn't working and this government can hardly pretend to have a mandate any more.

  • rate this

    Comment number 287.

    The majority of the electorate did not vote,possibly like me they can't see the difference between these professional politicians.
    I would not trust them running a hot dog stall never mind a country

  • rate this

    Comment number 286.

    Perhaps those in society who earns over 100k should consider a 10% pay cut. They then could take that money and use it to employ and inspire the young and unemployed. There are just to many chiefs in society. Time to give back!

  • rate this

    Comment number 285.

    "Prime Minister David Cameron has promised focus, delivery and hard work as he seeks to fight back following poor local election results last week."
    Uhm shouldnt this have been the case all along? Why start now? Bit late to start doing the job you promised to do.

  • rate this

    Comment number 284.

    Results in our own council elections,in France and in Greece would suggest the public at home and abroad is insisting that the colaition solution is not a solution at all but an exercise in ensuring the rich remain rich at any cost. If Cameron refuses to change direction he will perish at the polls. Tory calls for a move to the right however would only serve to ensure not just defeat but oblivion.

  • rate this

    Comment number 283.

    I think that people need to not waste energy and ideas on party politics and class warfare. The Conservative party suffer from the fact that they have a large number of people who have had expensive educations and the Labour party suffer from the fact that they had a crook and then an incompetent for leaders during their last turn in to bat. Concentrate on what is really important.

  • rate this

    Comment number 282.


    Forgive me for asking but wasn't the first budget all about austerity?
    and as you pointed out they are still borrowing money yes?
    So £15 Billion or £150 billion it makes no difference.
    that Debts are set to rise to £1.5trillion by 2015 certainly means we are not getting on top of this infact we are having to borrow more to service the debts

  • rate this

    Comment number 281.

    At some point tomorrow, dave will tell us that he "feels our pain".

    Nick will take a short break from polishing dave's shoes and say "Me too mr david".

  • rate this

    Comment number 280.

    So, he's sceptical of those who think the answers to the problems can be found in what he calls "loud ideologies"

    Erm, "Big Society" "Broken Britain" Give it a rest Dave, you're coming across as a *bit* of a hypocrite.


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