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Last Updated: Sunday, 30 September 2007, 10:21 GMT 11:21 UK
Conservative counter attack?
On Sunday 30 September Andrew Marr interviewed The Conservative leader, David Cameron MP

Please note "The Andrew Marr Show" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used.

David Cameron MP
The Conservative leader, David Cameron MP


DAVID CAMERON: Good morning.

ANDREW MARR: Thank you for joining us. Does Gordon Brown need a mandate?

DAVID CAMERON: Yes I think he does.

I said the moment he was elected Labour Leader in that one part, one person contest that I think that Blair had said "I'm going to serve a full term".

Two years into the parliament he's gone. So I think he does. So I've always said we should have an early election.

ANDREW MARR: And you'd like to see an election this autumn?

DAVID CAMERON: Yes absolutely. We are ready for it. We have the candidates selected in our marginal seats. We've set the budget. We've got all that ready. But more to the point we have a very clear and compelling message to people which is we've got to have real change in this country. Ten years of a Labour government that hasn't delivered the better hospitals we want.

It hasn't delivered the better schools that we need, that is not dealing with the issues of crime and social breakdown. And this week we'll be setting out a very compelling alternative. Not just saying what we want to achieve in terms of those hospitals and schools but really setting out how we're going to achieve it.

Because I thought that was the weakness of the prime minister's speech last week in Bournemouth was there was no explanation of how we actually change these things. And I'm not surprised. They've had ten years. They've failed. And it's time for real change.

ANDREW MARR: Just sticking for a moment with the election timing itself. Is your view that it is now likely that we're going to get an early election as well?

DAVID CAMERON: I may be many things but I'm not a mind reader. I have no idea what the prime minister is going to do. I rather suspect he doesn't know what he's going to do. All I know is that we are ready, we're looking forward to the opportunity to saying to people here is a real alternative.

Here are the real changes we could make, to make our health service stronger, to deal with crime on our streets, to give people more power and opportunity and control over their lives. I mean today we're announcing this change to cut stamp duty.

ANDREW MARR: I'm going to come to that. I'm going to come to taxes.

DAVID CAMERON: It's a very important point.

ANDREW MARR: I will come to that in due course. But just before we, before we do that, to be absolutely clear, you would like to see an election announcement as soon as possible would you?

DAVID CAMERON: Whenever he wants to we're ready. It's his decision. But we're absolutely ready for it. We think the country needs real change. And our point is you can't get real change unless you vote for it.

So let's put that to the people. Let them judge the last ten years and let them judge who's actually thought through an alternative that will make our country stronger, make our society more responsible, make families stronger and give people more power and control over their lives. That's, that's what we're offering.

ANDREW MARR: And yet reflecting on where you were when we met a year ago and where you are now in the polls something has gone wrong. What's gone wrong?

DAVID CAMERON: Well there's huge amounts of fluctuation in the polls.

But I think before I ... conference last year we were, we'd gone from a lead before the conference to back to level pegging. We've had, I've been ahead, I've been behind. The real point is ..

ANDREW MARR: You're badly behind on every poll at the moment. And your own personal ratings as you know very well are not good. So what's gone wrong?

DAVID CAMERON: Well what I would say Andrew if you want to have some to discuss the polls you know get a pollster in. What I - I'm a participant.

I want to change the polls. I want to set out our alternative this week so we can change the country. That's what I want to be judged on.

ANDREW MARR: But to, but to change you have to have an analysis of what you need to change and therefore what went wrong.

DAVID CAMERON: Yes well we have analysis of what is going wrong in the country. That's much the most important thing. We think we know why we're not dealing with the crime on our streets. There's been a total breakdown in responsibility in this country.

You know the magistrates can't really take responsibility cos they can only sentence people to a few weeks in prison. The police can't take responsibility cos they're covered in red tape. There's an example ..


DAVID CAMERON: .. there's an example. Let me just give you this. There's an example in the papers today of one police force telling its officers that under no circumstances can they ever be required to rescue people who are in water, whether that's in a river or a goldfish pond or the sea. That is just ridiculous in our country.

ANDREW MARR: You think that's batty?

DAVID CAMERON: I think the point is a breakdown of responsibility which we want to change ..


DAVID CAMERON: .. to cut that red tape, to give the police responsibility and to put them under the control of local people.

ANDREW MARR: But you don't, but you don't dispute the polls? You don't think they're wrong? When you arrived here yesterday you said "This is where the fight back begins".


ANDREW MARR: You don't need a fight back unless you're in trouble.

DAVID CAMERON: Well the point is I'm not a ... That's not my expertise. My expertise is setting out the changes the country needs to make us stronger, to make our country better, to give people more opportunity and power over their lives.


DAVID CAMERON: That's what I want to do. That's what this week is about. And yes it is a fight back because I think we have a real opportunity after last week where there was a long list of pledges but no explanation. No explanation of how we get there.

ANDREW MARR: Right well if you're not going to accept that there's a problem in the polls ..

DAVID CAMERON: Clearly we face a huge challenge. I mean there's no doubt about that. I mean you know I can see that, that people want to see a strong Conservative alternative.

They want to know how we're going to achieve the things we want to achieve. They want to see a real alternative and real change. That's our challenge this week. That's what, that's what I'm dealing with.

ANDREW MARR: And so what do you have to have achieved by the end of this week for things to be back on course?

DAVID CAMERON: I think a number of things. I think the first is clarity. We've had a very successful policy review where we had six groups looking across the piece at all the big challenges the country faces, whether it's competitive economy, whether it's the environment.

They come up with a lot of ideas. And one task this week is to show clarity, to say right here are some ideas we'll go ahead with and here are some that we don't like and we're going to junk. For instance, I've said very clearly, the idea of taxing the family that goes to the supermarket by having car parking charges that's gone.

The idea that we're going to tax people who just want a quiet pint in the pub and do that, that's gone. But there are ideas from the policy review we will be taking forward and we'll set those out very clearly this week.

ANDREW MARR: We, we almost need a complete list of, I think you've described as the barmy ideas which are no longer on course. Are you for instance committed to the idea of making it more expensive for ordinary families to go on holiday if they fly?

DAVID CAMERON: Well that's a very good example. We had a consultation. We do believe that we have to tackle climate change. We know that air travel is a big contributor to climate change. And we think we have to look at pollution taxes in a sensible way. We set out three alternatives and this week we'll be junking two of them.

We'll be saying no VAT on domestic flights. That's not the right way ahead. We'll be saying the idea of a sort of allowance where you have one flight before you start paying any taxes not a good idea. Instead we will be going for the option of saying let's tax the pollution that flights are responsible for.

Cos at the moment, today, under Brown's system an empty aeroplane pays virtually no tax but a packed aeroplane pays lots of tax. And yet both planes are responsible for the same pollution. That's crazy. So we're going to, we're going to change that and tax, have a flight tax, what we call an airline pollution duty and we will tax the individual flight. Now this is backed by ..

ANDREW MARR: So those ..

DAVID CAMERON: .. Easyjet. So this is a very ..

ANDREW MARR: So those were two - you used the word I think are "barmy" ideas which you put out ..

DAVID CAMERON: They weren't b... they weren't, those two weren't barmy. No what that was was a consultation. Look I think Andrew, we've got to try ..

ANDREW MARR: So what were the barmy ideas?

DAVID CAMERON: .. and do - well I've, I've said the point about supermarkets. I don't think that was a good idea.

ANDREW MARR: Right. Okay.

DAVID CAMERON: But let, let me just make ..

ANDREW MARR: Sorry can I just keep ..

DAVID CAMERON: .. hang on a second.

ANDREW MARR: .. can I keep on the green tax?

DAVID CAMERON: Yes. I want to make a point about that.


DAVID CAMERON: I do think in this country we've got to try and do politics in a grown up way. For an Opposition party the right thing to do is to put out ideas to consultation, three different ways of taxing air travel, and then coming up with the most sensible - listening to views.

Easyjet for instance have come to us very clearly and said the right way to do this which we would support is to tax the flight rather than the passenger because of the problem I explained about ..


DAVID CAMERON: .. the full and empty plane. And that is a sensible way ..

ANDREW MARR: Okay well ..

DAVID CAMERON: .. to do policy.

ANDREW MARR: Let's move on to another example. Will you make it more expensive for an ordinary family to drive their car? I'm not talking about a big gas guzzler, I'm talking about an ordinary car.

DAVID CAMERON: An ordinary family no. But we have said we'll look at the issue of the gas guzzling cars. But let me make this point ..



ANDREW MARR: I must just keep with a few of the specifics.


ANDREW MARR: Should there be expansion at our major airports or not?

DAVID CAMERON: The right way to handle air travel is to tax the pollution the flights are responsible for ..

ANDREW MARR: So you can expand Heathrow? You can expand Gatwick?

DAVID CAMERON: .. rather than, rather than - those things ..

ANDREW MARR: Expand Stansted?

DAVID CAMERON: .. those things should go through the planning system in the proper way. The right intervention for the government to make is to have a fair and sensible tax system.

An absolutely vital point I want to make is this. We've said that any new green taxes on the flight tax I've spoken about or the tax on gas guzzling cars, every penny of that extra money will be given to families in tax reductions.

That is totally different to what the prime minister has done and has said. He has been using green taxes as a stealth tax. More and more money coming out of hard working families in Britain going into the Treasury and that money just disappearing in a great big black hole of waste. People ..

ANDREW MARR: But if, if ..

DAVID CAMERON: .. will know with us every penny raised through new green taxes will be, go into a family fund, independently audited and used for tax cuts for ordinary, for families.

ANDREW MARR: If there's an election called you could be prime minister in a month's time, six weeks time. People want to know under you will there be more motorways, more driving, more Tarmac, more flights, more runways?

DAVID CAMERON: Well what we've said ..

ANDREW MARR: ... after all this stuff about being green is that going to happen?

DAVID CAMERON: We've made a very tough choice on, on being green which is saying that air travel is an important contributor to climate change and the tax burden ..

ANDREW MARR: It'll be more expensive.

DAVID CAMERON: .. on that has to go up. Green taxes as a proportion of the total should go up. But we'll offset every green tax increase with a tax cut for families. That ..

ANDREW MARR: And yet the problem ..

DAVID CAMERON: .. that is, that is far ahead of - look that's actually ...

ANDREW MARR: ... just going to stop you on that. Because the problem with green taxes as we all know is that people change their behaviour because of the green tax and therefore the revenue from the green tax is unreliable and unknowable in the future.

And yet you're also talking about quite specific tax cuts which have been costed. For instance on removing stamp duty below a quarter of a million pounds per house, that's I think going to cost about a billion pounds.

DAVID CAMERON: No that costs four hundred million pounds. And George Osborne in his speech tomorrow will be setting out exactly how that will be paid for. Let me make this one hundred per cent clear.

Every tax reduction we're speaking about this week, like the change in stamp duty will be fully paid for by tax changes elsewhere. We are not making any uncosted spending commitments or uncosted tax commitments. Complete contrast ..

ANDREW MARR: And that goes for two thousand pounds to married people who ..

DAVID CAMERON: Absolutely.

ANDREW MARR: .. are married rather than people who are not married?

DAVID CAMERON: Let's, let's, let's deal with that. This is the tax credit system which today actually encourages couples to split apart. We give more money to two single people with children rather than to a couple with children.

That is a really crazy thing to do in our society where we know that family breakdown is at one of the highest rates in Europe, is linked to all sorts of problems in terms of crime and other issues in our society. I want to see families stronger, society more responsible. So what we're saying with the tax credit system is we'll get rid of what's called the couple penalty by giving some of the poorest families in our country, one point eight million families, an extra thirty two pounds a week.

And we're going to pay for that by a very tough - and it is a difficult decision - a very tough system in terms of Incapacity Benefit where we're going to say to people that five million people out of work, many of whom could work and we'll be saying if they're not prepared to accept a job that's offered to them then they shouldn't get any benefit.

ANDREW MARR: And you really are going to do this? And we ..

DAVID CAMERON: Absolutely.

ANDREW MARR: .. remember this from I think, I think fifteen years ago. Peter Lilley was saying much the same thing.

DAVID CAMERON: But there are two key things we're saying. The first is the one I've just said which is that if you don't accept the job you don't get the benefit. I think that's completely fair and reasonable.

The second, vitally important, is saying look the state has failed to run this benefits system properly. Look around the world, particularly Australia, parts of America, you will see that private companies, voluntary bodies, running these systems of getting people who are on Incapacity Benefit back into work, have a far better record.

And that is what we will do here. Again it's a tough choice. It's a difficult decision. Some people will say this isn't appropriate to use these bodies for welfare. I don't agree.

ANDREW MARR: So that's ...

DAVID CAMERON: They have a good record. It works. There are charities in our own country - Tomorrow's People for instance - who get nine out of ten people off benefits and into work. We should be saying to them ..

ANDREW MARR: And if you're ..

DAVID CAMERON: .. you're doing a great job, the state's doing a bad job, we're going to get you to do more.

ANDREW MARR: But if you've been living with somebody for eighteen years and you've got some children you're not going to get this benefit? You will be dis-benefitted ...?

DAVID CAMERON: No, no. No. I think you've completely misunderstood it if I might say. The tax credit system ..

ANDREW MARR: I thought it was for married ..


ANDREW MARR: Married ..

DAVID CAMERON: The tax credit change ..

ANDREW MARR: So you're taking marriage out of this?

DAVID CAMERON: No. The tax credit change, right, there are millions of families in our country who get tax credits. At the moment that tax credit system looks at any form of commitment, any form of couples coming together and penalises it. We want to change that in the tax credit system so that couples who are together with their children don't face that benefit change.

ANDREW MARR: Ah so you don't necessarily have to be married to get this?

DAVID CAMERON: Then - that's correct.


DAVID CAMERON: And in the tax system, in the tax system I do believe it should actually specifically recognise marriage and we'll be setting that out later. Two, two ..

ANDREW MARR: So you will, you will dis-benefit people who aren't married through the tax system?

DAVID CAMERON: Through the tax system we will say that marriage is a good institution, an important institution. It helps people bring people together and keep them together. And ..

ANDREW MARR: And you get a credit if you're married and you don't if you're not?

DAVID CAMERON: Absolutely. And do you know ..


DAVID CAMERON: .. almost every other European country recognises marriage in some way. And I'm, I'm - look this is a tough choice. Not everyone agrees with it. I happen to think it is right. We should be looking at the high rates of family breakdown in our country.

One in four kids brought up with an absent father. The highest rates of family breakdown in Europe. I think that is a problem in our society. Of course government can't solve it all with a wave of the magic wand. Of course people don't get married in order to get some money from the state.

But there's, but the government should be sending a positive signal about the importance of marriage as an institution. Other European countries do it. We should do it. ANDREW MARR: You say "I believe, I believe, I believe". One of the problems you seem to have is that people still don't feel they know who you are politically, where you really stand.

Now in today's papers - The News of the World sitting there is a good example - there is a common belief that in fact what you're doing is moving to the right at the moment on a series of policies because you're worried that traditional Conservative voters are leaving the fold.

DAVID CAMERON: That's, that's nonsense. Look at the first two things we've said at this conference. The first thing was a launch of a Paper to improve our National Health Service. It's the biggest issue for me and for my family and for many families in this country.

It's the number one issue for the Conservative Party. The second thing we've done at this conference is removing the couple penalty, rewarding one point eight million of the poorest families in our country. And incidentally lifting three hundred thousand children out of poverty. That is not a lurch to the right.

That is just a very sensible way of strengthening our society and making our health service stronger. And if people want to know what I stand for they'll get a very clear message this week. It's three very clear things. First, give people more power and control and opportunity in their life. Absolutely vital. That's why we want to help the first time buyer get on the housing ladder.

Second, we'll never solve crime and the problems we have in our society unless we make society more responsible and unless we make families stronger. That's why we're helping the poorest families in our country.

Third, I know, as any Conservative knows, absolutely first comes security and safety for our country. So we're going to be setting out a range of ways we'll make our country safer and make it greener.

ANDREW MARR: Well those sound in many ways very, very traditional Conservative things to be saying. Last time we talked at a Party Conference you said there's no way that I'm going to talk about tax cuts. It's utterly irresponsible.

DAVID CAMERON: What I said is, what I said is that we would never produce unfunded, up front tax cuts. We haven't. We're going to be setting out absolutely clearly how we pay for every single tax change we make. And what a big contrast.

ANDREW MARR: By the way, what about business? Because you did say that when there was money available for tax cuts, business and wealth creators would come first.

DAVID CAMERON: We'll be setting out a range of ways ... helping.

ANDREW MARR: So there will be tax cuts too?

DAVID CAMERON: We will be, we're setting out a range of ways in which we will help business. Business is the life blood of our country. It's the engine of the economy. And if you look at the moment what ..

ANDREW MARR: So do they, is that still a priority for tax cuts, business?

DAVID CAMERON: Business needs to have a business friendly government on the front of regulation, on the front of taxation. And what business can be really certain about - a very big difference between Gordon Brown and me - which is as the economy grows, as money comes into the coffers, Gordon Brown takes all that money, spends it all, wastes a huge amount of money. And we will be saying that we'll share the proceeds of that growth between getting the taxes down we need, but putting the investment in. It's a very sensible approach.

ANDREW MARR: It's just, it's just that once you said that business was a priority and what you've been saying over the last few days sounds like personal taxation is now the priority.

DAVID CAMERON: Well what we're doing ..

ANDREW MARR: And election coming nearer.

DAVID CAMERON: .. we're doing some quite important changes in the tax system. We're saying let's tax pollution but let's cut taxes on families. I think that's an incredibly sensible thing to do. And every penny that we raise in pollution taxes goes to a tax break, a tax cut to help families. I think that's a ...

ANDREW MARR: So when a paper like The News of the World says you know in our pages today David Cameron lays out enticing policies, cutting stamp duty, break on inheritance tax, something we haven't talked about yet, we like what we hear, you know he's coming back to the traditional Conservative mainstream. Are they wrong about that?

DAVID CAMERON: Well I hope they like what they hear. They're very sensible policies. Let's take the stamp duty point. You know today we've got the lowest rate of new home buyers in our country for twenty seven years. Now I believe in opportunity. I had the chance to buy my flat.

You had the chance to, to buy your flat. We've achieved the dream that many people have of owning their own home. Today people are looking at their salary cheque, they're looking at house prices and they're just thinking I can't do this. I can't get on that ladder. One of the reasons is that Gordon Brown has put up stamp duty over and over again. Council Tax has doubled. The, the barriers to home ownership ..

ANDREW MARR: But that's an, that's an, that's another quite expensive spending promise.

DAVID CAMERON: It's four ..

ANDREW MARR: Where does the money for that come from?

DAVID CAMERON: Well George Osborne will be setting out tomorrow exactly how the money is raised for that change. But it will help people.

ANDREW MARR: It's coming from green tax. What I'm worried about is you keep saying it's coming from green taxes and I'm concerned ..

DAVID CAMERON: You're just going to have to be a little bit, you'll have to be a little bit patient Andrew. George will be ..

ANDREW MARR: I'm always patient.

DAVID CAMERON: Yeah you are. George will be setting out in his speech tomorrow exactly how we pay for the stamp duty change which will help two hundred thousand people every year who currently are paying on average two thousand pounds stamp duty.

And you know if you're trying to buy a flat for a hundred thousand pounds or a hundred and fifty thousand pounds, that change of giving you an extra two thousand pounds, not having to pay the stamp duty, makes a big difference for people who are trying to get the deposit together.

People are thinking I've got to buy the furniture when I move in. This is a change to help the first time buyer. It's a, it's an issue of generational fairness if you like. We've all achieved this dream of home ownership.

ANDREW MARR: Ah well ..

DAVID CAMERON: These people can't because house prices are, have been lifted up out of, out of their reach. And they need help.

ANDREW MARR: Another issue of generational fairness, whichever side of the argument you come on, is of course inheritance tax. Now you've dangled the possibility of changes to inheritance tax, again to help people further down the heap. Are we going to see something on that?

DAVID CAMERON: Well you'll have to wait and see what George Osborne has to say. But we've set out already I think some compelling changes at this conference. What I said about this conference, you're going to get real clarity about what we stand for, the issues I spoke about. You're going to get real clarity in terms of the policies. And you've seen that with helping couples, particularly the least well off in our country.

You've seen that with the stamp duty changes. And you've seen it with our commitment to the National Health Service. Real personalised care, where the GP controls their own budget, they can make choices for you and you set the Health Service free in that way. So you'll have to be patient and wait to see what George says tomorrow. But that's the ...

ANDREW MARR: Well let me in a patient and reflective mode look a little bit backwards then. You had two policy commissions which were particularly significant, people talk a lot about.

One was the quality of life one with Zac Goldsmith and Co and the other was John Redwood's in effect taxation and competitiveness one. And on every issue that I can see where there has been a clash between those two you've gone for Redwood. And that's why people say he's moving to the right you know.

DAVID CAMERON: I don't think that's right. Because on the issue of green taxes we have said as clear as it could be that we recognise air travel makes a big contribution. Today five per cent of our carbon emissions are from air travel. By 2050 it'll be twenty five per cent. We have to address this. And the right way is a flight tax.

ANDREW MARR: I know. But Redwood said we've got to allow our hub airports to keep expanding which is not something that Zac Goldsmith's people were keen on. And you've just told me you'll be more with the expanded airports than not.

DAVID CAMERON: I've just told you what we will do which is we will have a flight tax. That's the right way to address. We should be taxing the pollution that aeroplanes are responsible for rather than punishing people who want to go on holiday. That's the right way to do it

And I've said very clearly about airports. That's something that has to go through the planning system. But the right way for the government to intervene is to set the tax, set the tax rate on flights. And that's what we'll do. As you say we have to make decisions on all of these areas and that's exactly what we're doing this week.

ANDREW MARR: Are you confident about the coming election?



DAVID CAMERON: Because I think Gordon Brown has left it wide open. Because he reeled off a great list of things he believed in but no explanation of how to do them. What a contrast with us this week. We're saying we believe in giving people power and opportunity over their life.

Take for example stamp duty. It's very difficult for young people to buy a house. What will we do? Well we'll cut stamp duty for two hundred thousand first time buyers so they don't pay any stamp duty on houses up to two hundred and fifty thousand.

ANDREW MARR: If you come out of this, if you come out of this ..

DAVID CAMERON: That's a specific change.

ANDREW MARR: I know. But if you come out of this week seven or so points behind in the opinion polls, just ahead of an election, that is an appalling position for you to be in.

DAVID CAMERON: But only, what matters with opinion polls is asking people their view.

ANDREW MARR: You read them and we all read them ..

DAVID CAMERON: Yeah but ..

ANDREW MARR: .. and then ..

DAVID CAMERON: Absolutely. But you are, you know we have the opportunity of a general election.

And people will be given a choice. Do we go on with ten years of Labour where gun crime's doubled, violent crime's doubled, the Health Service hasn't improved in the way it should.

ANDREW MARR: ... people in the polls saying ..

DAVID CAMERON: Educational standards.

ANDREW MARR: Yes ... at the moment, well ..

DAVID CAMERON: Let people decide in a general election. That's the way - you know you quote me polls. I could tell you about the bi-elections on Thursday night where we won a seat you know in the North East of England in Washington. That's not natural Conservative heartland.

We had swings in places like Dover and Portsmouth and would have won us those seats. So we can all play the game of quoting polls at each other. Why not find out the real answer? Let people judge in a general election. Can Gordon Brown deliver? He's had ten years to do it. He's failed.

ANDREW MARR: And you can look me in the eye and say "I really want this election now"?

DAVID CAMERON: I want, I tell you, I really want it. I think we have an opportunity to put a very compelling alternative to people. And then they can judge. Ten more years of failure or real change with the Conservatives.

ANDREW MARR: When you turned on your television set and you saw Margaret Thatcher standing with Gordon Brown what did you think?

DAVID CAMERON: I thought it was lovely to see her outside number ten. Genuinely. That sort of wave and everything. I thought that was great. For Gordon it's an issue for him. I mean he's spent most of his life trying to destroy her and wreck everything that she was trying to do. And if he thinks it's a good idea ..

ANDREW MARR: You must have squirmed a bit. You must have thought damn it.


ANDREW MARR: Well because there she was, she was, she was standing alongside a Labour Prime Minister and she has not been seen standing alongside you.

DAVID CAMERON: I've had several times I've been standing alongside Margaret Thatcher, most recently when we unveiled her statue in the House of Commons, that excellent bronze ..


DAVID CAMERON: .. in Central Lobby. So no I didn't think that at all.

ANDREW MARR: Talking of allies and so forth, Baroness Warsi quoted in the Independent on Sunday saying that British National Party voters have a point when it comes to immigration. They need to be listened to. Are you happy with that? Would you endorse that language?

DAVID CAMERON: I actually read the whole article and I'd recommend people who want to know what she actually said read the whole article and what she said. And what she said was that the BNP have a race agenda and a hate agenda ..


DAVID CAMERON: .. that is completely unacceptable. And I'll tell you something about Sayeeda. She has spent most of her political life in West Yorkshire fighting the BNP street by street, standing up ..


DAVID CAMERON: .. for the Conservative Party.

ANDREW MARR: Talking of BNP voters. They have some very legitimate views. People who say we're concerned about crime just as our community. We're concerned about immigration. We need to listen to them. Do you agree with that is what I'm asking?

DAVID CAMERON: Well people, people are concerned about immigration. I mean there's no doubt about that. We have to get it in perspective. We have to be very cautious and sensible about the language that we use.

And I always am when I speak about immigration. But what I've said before and I'm happy to say again, if you have very high rates of immigration it does put huge pressure on housing and on health and on education.

ANDREW MARR: And people who voted BNP on that basis have some legitimate views?

DAVID CAMERON: I think the BNP is a dreadful party. I wish they didn't exist. I think they are despicable people. But we have to recognise that people do have concerns about immigration.

And what I've always said is that what the British public want from their politicians is calm, reasonable, moderate language, not David Blunkett talking about Britain being swamped and emotive terms like that.

They want the calm language but they want the firm measures. They want us to make sure we are controlling immigration and that is exactly what a Conservative government would do. And more than that, again, while there's complete ..

ANDREW MARR: And you want it ...?

DAVID CAMERON: .. silence from Labour about this issues we've actually said what we would do.

New countries coming into the EU, there should be transitional controls. We always have said that. And in terms of non-EU migration we should you know look, capture the benefits of immigration, cos people who come here and work hard make a huge contribution to our country.

ANDREW MARR: All right.

DAVID CAMERON: Like Sayeeda Warsi and her family.


DAVID CAMERON: But on the other hand there should be a limit so we can manage the process of migration better.

ANDREW MARR: You've ..

DAVID CAMERON: Very sensible, very moderate, exactly what a Conservative government would do. Again another clear choice.

ANDREW MARR: You've got to be the come back kid this week. Are you going to turn it round?

DAVID CAMERON: I believe we can.

ANDREW MARR: You've got four days. Not long.

DAVID CAMERON: I believe we can. Because we've got a compelling alternative. There's a bit opportunity for us. The country wants real change.

ANDREW MARR: All right.

DAVID CAMERON: If we can show we can do it we can win.

ANDREW MARR: Okay. David Cameron thank you very much.



NB: This transcript was typed from a recording and not copied from an original script.

Because of the possibility of mis-hearing and the difficulty, in some cases, of identifying individual speakers, the BBC cannot vouch for its accuracy

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