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.

'Out-of-touch'

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.

Analysis

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
    +3

    Comment number 359.

    Regarding the comment on the working time directive I would merely say that if anyone seriously believes that people in the cabinet stick to a 48 hour week it highlights the level of unreality surrounding political debate in this country at the moment. Alastair Darling rescued the Royal Bank of Scotland at 11 pm - would people had rather he had stuck to a 48 hour week and let it go bust?!

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 358.

    Cameron promised hard work as he seeks to fight back" The only way is scrap all your people & country destroying policies & start making the rich pay & give back millions you took of the needy & get rid of the firms that bleeding the country dry like A4e,Atos,G4s & Serco.By way BBC seeing as y seem married to cameron & osborne in 2015 will y get a divorce or will y sink with them

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 357.

    #348 Don't be ridiculous! Cameron works hard to promote British interests and forget this nonsense about only looking after his 'posh cronies'. We cannot spend our way out of debt, and it will be interesting to see what state France and Greece are in in 6 months time when their socialist 'spend spend and never mind the debts' have really kicked in. We are too quick to forget where we were in 2009!

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 356.

    He doesn't seem to understand that people don't wake up in the morning and think: 'I want to elect a mayor', 'I want to elect a police commissioner', 'I want house of lords reform'. These silly issues are for times of prosperity.

    People wake up and wonder whether they can afford their mortgage, bills and whether their job is safe. A life at Eton, Oxford and in Parliament can distort one's view.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 355.

    It might seem strange, as it flies in the face of what most people have believed all their life, and it is hard to digest, but the posts of bobloblaw14 are ABSOLUTELY spot on.

    The world economy, probably since the early 1930s, has been working towards the point we are at, because it is built on a fallacy.

    Banks and politicians are complicit in this.

    They're the problem, not the solution.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 354.

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

    No, you don't get it. The message we are sending is: get out, we've remembered that Tory government = utter misery for workers.

  • rate this
    -116

    Comment number 353.

    Prime Minister Cameron is exactly right: for the UK, the only conceivable strategy is to stay the course.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 352.

    what next? we are in a mess ? if the polls had been different for dave he would be saying how his party was doing it right lose sets rethink wel whats the answer dave?

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 351.

    I'm no economist, but I do know that from the last war until The-Day-Of-Dave-George-Angela-Nicholas etc there was a general consensus that the powers who ran the show in the Thirties recession got it totally wrong, i.e imposition of austerity, thus prolonging the pain for the masses. The "science" of Economics is a bit strange.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 350.

    More effort and harder work is pointless, if it is not working!
    Conservative cuts are a myth, they are a redistribution to the already wealthy and to their special interests - business, security and law and order. We saw that in the 1980s. This is just Thatcher redux.
    Conservative policies have conspired to bring about exactly what was trying to be avoided - a Japanese style decade of stagnation!

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 349.

    Stone Age here we come. Cheers Dave.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 348.

    This Muppet does not know what hard work is!

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 347.

    Here's one to debate. The turn out was low very low. In fact I question whether it was too low to actually be truly indicative of the majority opinion. The danger here is that minorities who manage to mobilise their voters can then gain greater influence. So, if we can't force people to vote, like other countries, maybe if you don't vote it counts as a vote for "no change" in your constituency

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 346.

    Dave only ever had one real policy "13 years of a Labour government". His idea of working hard is "if it doesn't need airbrushing, don't airbrush it".

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 345.

    The current Labour leadership doesn't inspire much confidence, but the problem is that the current government don't inspire at all. You'd expect them to come out fighting after the local election, but no, they mumble something about messages and work, no strategy or plan is revealed, there doesn't seem to be any structure or direction whatsoever.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 344.

    Did he really say that about accountants? Unbelievable.

    If he listened to accountants we would not have the half baked proposals for raising Vat on caravans and pasties. Nor the child benefit mess. And more.

    This government is incompetent and to compare that to accountancy is wholly unacceptable.

    Competent leader and chancellor require please, to deliver a proper Tory manifesto.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 343.

    If they were that interested in getting things right, they would listen to the Fair Fuel Campaign. if they don't cut the duty we will be in a far worse mess very soon. Unemployment will rise, as will all prices. If they cut duty it will create 180,000 jobs, they have the proof, but ignore it, despite many MPs supporting it! It is sheer idiocy to increase the main cost item of everything!

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 342.

    Cameron, Clegg & Osbourne keep saying they know how we feel but they have never wanted or needed anything in their priviledged lives so .what has suddenly given them this insight. They know how to spend money but not how to budget sensibly. Most housewives in this country do this monthly and know you cannot spend more than you have. The condems blame labour but they are still sending money abroad

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 341.

    199. ioioos
    "...Try doing that with your own credit cards."

    But your income is not inextricably linked to your spending in the way it is with the government's tax revenue. You can't cut the real-term income of the nation and expect us to then get the economy going again. History shows austerity invariably leads to a shrinking economy and a return to recession. Sound familiar?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 340.

    299

    The Austerity measures are not necessary if wealth were shared around.

    The current economic ideology is that Wealthy with Capital will invest.

    This is not what happening on the Ground. Capital being used Commodity Speculation rather than investing in New Business. New Business cant access capital markets period

    Crowd Funding solution this was my last point on the Mayoral Debate

 

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