UK Politics

David Cameron reaches decade as Conservative leader

David Cameron outside 10 Downing Street Image copyright Reuters

David Cameron has reached his 10th anniversary as leader of the Conservative Party.

Elected in 2005, age 39, he promised to "inspire a new generation".

He became prime minister of the coalition government in 2010 before gaining an overall majority at the general election in May this year.

He is only the fourth Conservative to reach the milestone in over 100 years behind Stanley Baldwin, Sir Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher.

Mr Cameron's declaration that he will quit before the next general election scheduled for 2020 means he cannot overhaul Lady Thatcher's record, in modern times, of 15 years, nine months and 17 days.

Image caption Mr Cameron became an MP age 35 in 2001

He became Conservative Party leader after snatching victory from established favourite David Davis having dazzled activists with a no-notes speech at party conference.

Seen as the Tories' youthful answer to Tony Blair, it was thought he could shake off the Conservatives' "nasty" image and recreate them as an optimistic and modern party.

In 2008, seizing on the UK's mounting financial crisis, he issued a challenge to then-Prime Minister Gordon Brown to call a snap election saying: "Call that election. We will fight. Britain will win."

But it was another two years before he got the chance to challenge the Labour leader.

He failed to achieve an overall majority in the 2010 general election, but surprised many Westminster-watchers by forming Britain's first coalition since World War Two with the Liberal Democrats.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption At 43 he became the youngest PM since 1812

His first term was marked by spending cuts, riots in English cities, the phone-hacking scandal and recovery from recession.

In May, after one of the biggest general election shocks for decades, Mr Cameron led the Conservatives to victory and his party now holds a slim majority in the Commons.

In his current term as prime minister he has promised an in/out referendum on the UK's membership of the EU by the end of 2017 and has persuaded MPs to back his plan to extend air strikes against Islamic State militants in Syria.

David Cameron biography

The future prime minister was born on 9 October 1966 to Ian and Mary Cameron. He has a brother and two sisters.

Educated at Eton College and Brasenose College, Oxford, where he gained a First in Politics, Philosophy and Economics.

Began working for the Conservative Party in 1988, before roles in the Treasury and Home Office.

Married Samantha in 1996, they have three children, Nancy, Arthur and Florence. Their first child, Ivan - who had cerebral palsy and Ohtahara syndrome - died in 2009 aged six.

Elected MP for Witney in Oxfordshire in 2001.

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