Help
BBC NewsAndrew Marr Show

MORE PROGRAMMES

Page last updated at 12:04 GMT, Sunday, 16 May 2010 13:04 UK

David Cameron - I am a 'liberal Conservative'

On Sunday 16 May Andrew Marr interviewed Prime Minister David Cameron.

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

David Cameron interviewed on the Andrew Marr show

ANDREW MARR:

A little earlier I returned from Downing Street where David Cameron has been talking during his first weekend there... settling down into the same rooms vacated by Gordon Brown days before, and the so-called den where Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher worked. But of course, unlike all of them he leads not a single party government but a coalition. I began by asking the Prime Minister if at any time last week he thought he should try to form a minority Conservative government.

DAVID CAMERON:

Well obviously that was an option and I think the big decision for us and for me, in particular - particularly as the results came in, but above all actually when I woke up on Friday morning after a very small sleep - was to make the right choice. And I thought the right choice for the country was to try and go for the big picture, to go for the big coalition that actually brought the two parties together, so we could have a government that was in the national interest, that had a majority, that could be strong and stable. So I decided on Friday morning to make that speech, to make that offer, to say we should aim high, and I was delighted that in the end that's where we ended up.

ANDREW MARR:

Was that a difficult decision? I mean you had these two possibilities in front of you. At what point did you decide, okay, I'm going to try and go for the coalition?

DAVID CAMERON:

I decided on Friday morning. I thought that was the right thing to do and I thought the right thing to do was to make a clear speech to set out what I wanted to achieve on behalf of the country. Now there was many times after that it looked like we could fall short of that and of course we did talk as well about a minority government with the Liberal Democrats giving us some sort of agreement to keep us in a minority government, but all the way through I wanted to have that coalition. I thought that was better for the country - putting aside party interest, governing in the national interest, dealing with the very big task we have in front of us. This is you know a huge deficit and also the first time we've had a change of government while our troops are actually engaged in a war in Afghanistan on the other side of the world. So for all those reasons, I think it was the right thing to do. And what I admire about Nick Clegg is we had several meetings, and at one of those I remember us both saying look of course we can do this minority government thing. It's easier, it's simpler, it's sort of what people expect. But it's completely uninspiring; it's not actually what we ought to be doing. And we both I think decided to take that risk to put together the bigger, better coalition for the good of the country and I think it was definitely the right thing to do.

ANDREW MARR:

Well you mention Nick Clegg there. Let's try and work out how this is going to actually function because I think a lot of people are still a bit confused. Nick Clegg will deputise for you at Prime Minister's Questions. Will he also represent you abroad if a foreign dignitary comes to this country, another leader and you're not available? Will he represent the government there?

DAVID CAMERON:

Well we have a excellent Foreign Secretary in William Hague and, unlike the previous government, I actually believe in having a strong Foreign Office at the heart of government with a really big figure leading the Foreign Office.

ANDREW MARR:

(over) So William Hague will be your man abroad as it were?

DAVID CAMERON:

Absolutely. He's already been to Washington. But of course in all the things that we do, we have a Prime Minister and a Deputy Prime Minister and that actually means that there are opportunities. If I'm doing something else, there's somebody visiting, we have a strong team …

ANDREW MARR:

(over) Will Nick Clegg be …

DAVID CAMERON:

… and members of the team can do that.

ANDREW MARR:

Will Nick Clegg be chairing key cabinet committees, for instance?

DAVID CAMERON:

Yes, of course. The cabinet committee system we're putting in place at the moment - and there will be strong representation of both parties on cabinet committees - the full details are being worked out at the moment, but he is the Deputy Prime Minister and should expect to be on cabinet committees of course.

ANDREW MARR:

And you as Prime Minister clearly appoint and dismiss or move members of your government, but it seems odd that you would do that to Liberal Democrats without consulting with Nick Clegg and I wonder, therefore - those sorts of decisions shaping the cabinet as time goes on - is he going to be an inner core for that?

DAVID CAMERON:

He is clearly … you know the Deputy Prime Minister is clearly part of the inner core, and when it comes to government appointments and - if I can put it this way - disappointments, of course that's he Prime Minister's job. But this is going to be something that we try and do together. I think that's important. Now we will write down … We already have a good coalition agreement. I think people have been surprised how we were able to look at the difficult areas of policy and agree those first, so things like Europe and immigration and taxes. We've already done the heavy lifting on that. We need a fuller coalition agreement covering other policy areas as well. But in the end no …

ANDREW MARR:

So there is going to be a longer agreement coming?

DAVID CAMERON:

There'll be a longer form document out in the next couple of weeks and that will go through. Because I think the key to mak… There are two keys to making this work. One is, yes, you've got to have in advance as many of the policy areas settled, so you know how to judge issues as they arise. But the second thing - and I think probably more important - there's no document in the world, there's no agreement in the world that will keep you altogether and keep you … In the end it's going to be people working together and the relationship between me and Nick Clegg, the relationship of cabinet ministers with each other. That will be the key to making this work and the early signs are very good.

ANDREW MARR:

Sure. Well let's just pursue that a little bit further. We're sitting in Downing Street. There's the Prime Minister's den and the group of rooms where prime ministers have traditionally worked. Nick Clegg is quite some way away down the Cabinet Office. There has been a suspicion that it'll be back to the old team. It'll be you and your advisers and George Osborne and so on sitting around sorting things out. Nick Clegg wanders along. "Just slightly missed the meeting. Terribly sorry Nick", you know. Is he actually going to be really in the inner core?

DAVID CAMERON:

Yes, his office is you know twenty-five, forty yards away from mine. There's no great distance. Look at what I did on Friday. I went to Scotland, not on my own; with the new Scottish Secretary of State Danny Alexander. A joint statement with him at the Scottish Parliament, a joint visit with him. We spent the day travelling round Scotland together, settling a lot of issues between us. Look this is not going to be an arrangement where the Deputy Prime Minister and Prime Minister have to diarise phonecalls or diarise meetings.

ANDREW MARR:

Sure, but the big decisions - I mean sacking people, taking sort of fast decisions - is all that run past Nick Clegg first?

DAVID CAMERON:

Well what we have to do is to make sure that decisions, we do have a proper way of talking to each other about big decisions. We've already had to do that on a couple of occasions. It will work well. But, as I say, you can't cover all these things with a document. A lot of it is about having good will, about building confidence. I think that is something I feel very comfortable about doing. It's the way I work. If you talk to the people who've worked with me over the last four and a half years, you know actually I've run a good Shadow Cabinet, I've managed to include into it people who were previously out of it, people like Ken Clarke, and the system works well.

ANDREW MARR:

And people saw the rather extraordinary chemistry, if I can put it that way, between the two of you in the rose garden. Now before the Election, you and your wife hadn't sort of socialised at all with the Cleggs, you hadn't had dinner. Is that now going to happen? Is it going to be that sort of relationship?

DAVID CAMERON:

Well, yes, I think we're going to … I think it's very important that all the members of the cabinet, not just the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, but you know recognise we're going to have to work together. That means, as I say, not just work through policies in cabinet committees, but actually genuinely work together and think about how to build confidence between the two parties. I mean one of the things I said to every Liberal Democrat minister that I was appointing or every Conservative minister I was appointing is one of the first things they should do is seek out the expertise on the back benches of the other party because there are many people in the Conservative Party with a great interest in the environment and I want Chris Huhne to talk to them. There are many people on the back benches of the Liberal Democrat Party who have an interest in the economy and I want George Osborne to listen to them. (Marr tries to interject) So I mean all these things can help you know make sure that we have a successful arrangement.

ANDREW MARR:

And when parliament reassembles, do you want those two parties to kind of as it were mingle on the benches, or will they sit in two different blocks?

DAVID CAMERON:

No, they'll still sit in two different blocks because it's not a merger of parties. It's a coalition agreement. The two parties will still fight elections against each other, they will still have competition in that way. But we're part of a coalition and we need to make that work together. And I think people …

ANDREW MARR:

And you'll fight each other hard at by-elections?

DAVID CAMERON:

Of course. I mean I …

ANDREW MARR:

Hard to see how that's going to happen though, isn't it, if you've agreed everything in advance in government?

DAVID CAMERON:

Well it may be by-elections can become slightly more civilised affairs where people think who's the right member of parliament for this area or who's the right councillor for this area.

ANDREW MARR:

And what about political cabinets because traditionally governments have had cabinets and then political cabinets where sort of the more party based decisions. Presumably those carry on but without the Liberal Democrats inside them?

DAVID CAMERON:

No, that's not the way I see it. I think that … Look there are … Cabinet is about settling the government strategy on the most important issues we have like how we succeed in Afghanistan, how we cut the deficit, how we build a stronger society. When we want to have a cabinet that is - and I hope we don't have to have them too often - which is just about how we make the politics work and how we make sure our messages, all that sort of stuff, that should be the politicians in the cabinet - both Conservatives and Lib-Dems.

ANDREW MARR:

So there won't be separate cabinets just for Conservative ministers or separate meetings?

DAVID CAMERON:

(over) I hope we can … Of course Conservative colleagues will still talk to each other and Liberal Democrat colleagues will talk to each other. But I think we want to try and avoid too much caucusing, as they would say; and I think so far, as I say, the signs are very good on that.

ANDREW MARR:

Nick Clegg is off talking to his party today, of course. What's your message to him?

DAVID CAMERON:

Well I think he's been brave and courageous in what he's done for the good of the national interest. It's meant him taking risks just as it's meant me taking risks. But if politics is about public service in the national interest, that's what we're doing.

ANDREW MARR:

(over) You're both going to lose some people …

DAVID CAMERON:

(over) Of course, but I think that … That's why in that rather … I know people think it was a rather strange sentence when I said "This will … this coalition will succeed through it's success". What I meant was if we can demonstrate that we are gripping the deficit, that we're succeeding in Afghanistan, that we're solving the country's social problems, we're building stronger public services, we're getting these things through parliament - if we can prove that, then that is the best way of proving either to a disillusioned Conservative or a worried Liberal Democrat that this is a good thing.

ANDREW MARR:

Nick Clegg said in a newspaper article the other day that actually there were sort of philosophical areas of connection between the party …

DAVID CAMERON:

(over) Yes.

ANDREW MARR:

… when it came to the Centre devolving power down to communities and families. Actually there was something deeper than simply a mere forced marriage of convenience. Do you agree with that?

DAVID CAMERON:

Absolutely. This is not just about a group of people who've got together for power or a group of people who've got together because they want to cut the deficit, which we need to do. It's also based on some values. We do believe between us that there needs to be more freedom in our society and the state has got too big and too bossy. We do believe in …

ANDREW MARR:

(over) Is that why you use the phrase "Liberal Conservative"?

DAVID CAMERON:

Well I've always described …

ANDREW MARR:

There is something called Liberal Conservative?

DAVID CAMERON:

I believe there … I've always described myself as a Liberal Conservative. I'm Liberal because I believe in freedom and human rights, but Conservative - I'm sceptical of great schemes to remake the world.

ANDREW MARR:

Sure.

DAVID CAMERON:

But let me give you one … let me give you one example, which is the issue of fairness. This is going to be a government of values. Now we have to cut the deficit, but we've got to take the country with us as we do it. We don't want to do it just as a bunch of accountants. We want to try and make the country stronger and fairer at the same time. So, for example, we're going to be establishing a fair pay review in the public sector. Will Hutton is going to lead it.

ANDREW MARR:

(over) Will Hutton, a man of the Left for those who don't know who Will Hutton is. And you've also got Frank Field, Labour MP coming on to talk about poverty.

DAVID CAMERON:

Let me deal with the pay issue first. I mean Will Hutton's the right person to do it. He runs the Work Foundation, the right organisation to be involved in this. The idea is to improve fairness in the public sector and say that there should be … the lowest paid to the highest paid in the public sector, there shouldn't be a difference of more than twenty times. If you take some of the current organisations, the differences between the top pay and the lowest pay is twenty-five, thirty. I'm afraid to say in the BBC it's more like fifty. Now obviously the BBC sadly is outside this pay review because you're independent, but I think it's wrong that in the public sector we have such high pay differentials and I think we can lead by example. And it's a classic example of how you make the country fairer, how you reduce inequality at the same time as cutting the deficit.

ANDREW MARR:

So this is the pay of NHS managers, senior people in the civil service here in Whitehall and so forth and you're looking at pay. Are you looking at bonuses too?

DAVID CAMERON:

Absolutely. Just on the pay thing, just to be clear, it's to make sure that in any organisation in the public sector, the highest paid should not be paid more than twenty times the lowest paid. So it may mean lifting the lowest paid, it may mean reducing the pay of the highest paid, but it'll make our country and our public services fairer. Bonuses is another issue. I'm afraid we are discovering by the day very bad spending decisions that were taken by the last Labour government. They had planned enormous an enormous range of bonuses for civil servants. Now we can't stop them in respect of the year that has passed, but for the future we're going to severely restrict them, cut them by something like two thirds. Now that in itself doesn't save a huge amount of money - that saves something like 15 million - but we're also discovering this government … sorry the last government was spending £1.5 billion on consultancy. So from the large to the small, we're going to take action to stop the very bad decisions that were taken in the dying days of the last Labour government.

ANDREW MARR:

The last time we spoke, you said you hadn't seen the books, you know it was too early to talk about some of the bigger cuts and so forth that were going to happen. Now you have started to see the books. You've had reports from the civil service. George Osborne has talked about sort of slash and burn Labour policies in the last days and huge black holes. How bad is it?

DAVID CAMERON:

Well we're going to be launching tomorrow - George will be doing this, the Chancellor will be doing this - a proper independent audit of government spending and the government books …

ANDREW MARR:

(over) From what you've seen so far?

DAVID CAMERON:

Well what we've seen so far are just individual examples of very bad practice and frankly quite bad behaviour - spending decisions taken in the last year or so of the Labour government that no rational government would have done. I mean giving something like 75% of senior civil servants bonuses after everything that's happened in the current year. You know frankly that's not a fiscal stimulus; it's a crazy thing to do.

ANDREW MARR:

(over) The out…

DAVID CAMERON:

(over) So we're beginning to find individual decisions like that …

ANDREW MARR:

Okay.

DAVID CAMERON:

… but an independent audit of this - and it matters. Let me just say though one thing we have found - and I want to put this on record - is the extraordinary professionalism of civil servants. The transition of one government to another is …

ANDREW MARR:

Has worked.

DAVID CAMERON:

… is done very effectively in this country …

ANDREW MARR:

Okay.

DAVID CAMERON:

… and all the people who make that possible need to be praised and properly praised.

ANDREW MARR:

Outside observers seem to say that it is, in the words of one, "an arithmetical certainty" that you're going to have to raise VAT to 20%.

DAVID CAMERON:

Well we've said before the election, during the election, and I'm happy to say now you know we believe that spending should bear the brunt of the burden …

ANDREW MARR:

(over) I'll come onto spending in a minute. In terms of tax.

DAVID CAMERON:

(over) In terms of dealing, in terms of dealing with the deficit, we believe and we've put in our coalition agreement that you know the proportion of tax versus spend is pretty close to what we were arguing for in the election. So that's not something that we plan to do.

ANDREW MARR:

Despite, as I say, I mean almost every single outside observer thinks it's going to happen - if not this year than next?

DAVID CAMERON:

The whole point of actually what …

ANDREW MARR:

(over) Shops are already changing their prices.

DAVID CAMERON:

(over) What about both actually … Before the election what both the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives were saying is that you know there's already a lot of tax increases coming down the line.

ANDREW MARR:

Okay.

DAVID CAMERON:

We've agreed with our new partners to stop the most damaging one of that, which is Labour's job tax.

ANDREW MARR:

So in the first 50 day Budget, no VAT increase to 20%?

DAVID CAMERON:

Well you'll have to wait for the first 50 …

ANDREW MARR:

(over) Well you've pretty much said that.

DAVID CAMERON:

… you'll have to wait for the first 50 day Budget. Remember what I've said is we'll have a proper independent audit by the Office of Budget Responsibility of the black hole that we face and the spending problem that we …

ANDREW MARR:

(over) So it could be there in the first Budget?

DAVID CAMERON:

You're going to have to wait for the first Budget.

ANDREW MARR:

Okay.

DAVID CAMERON:

But we've said very clearly we don't believe that tax should be bearing the burden of this. It's going to be about reducing spending.

ANDREW MARR:

Right. It's just that people will know … You know we're not far away from this Budget and you can't rule out a VAT increase?

DAVID CAMERON:

Well people will know what I've said.

ANDREW MARR:

Okay. When it comes to child tax credits, the middle class people who are getting those are going to stop getting those?

DAVID CAMERON:

Well what we argued for in the election was that people, families who are earning over £50,000 shouldn't get tax credits. The Liberal Democrats argued that it should be a lower figure and obviously these are things that are going to have to be covered in a full coalition agreement.

ANDREW MARR:

One of the newspapers for instance, the Daily Mail, said that they reckon £1,200 more or less on average for a middle class family is what they're going to be paying in higher taxes because of what you have to do.

DAVID CAMERON:

Well I don't accept those calculations. I mean, look, we have to … The government has been in existence for …

ANDREW MARR:

(over) I'm just testing on some of the things that people are talking about.

DAVID CAMERON:

Absolutely.

ANDREW MARR:

Let's try another one.

DAVID CAMERON:

Well maybe it would be helpful actually for everyone watching this for me to set out the process because I think it's very important we have a sensible process which is what we have is on Monday the announcement of a proper audit of public spending, we have a Budget as you say within 50 days. That Budget sets out the total envelope of spending, the totals for spending for the next three years …

ANDREW MARR:

Okay.

DAVID CAMERON:

… something the last Labour government didn't do. Then there's …

ANDREW MARR:

So the middle classes can stop worrying about this?

DAVID CAMERON:

Hold on a second. No … Then you have a proper spending review taking place over the summer and into the autumn where you work out how to distribute the difficult decisions - and they will be difficult - between the various departments.

ANDREW MARR:

But …

DAVID CAMERON:

I want this government - it's important - I want an end to sofa government, I want an end to 24 hour news management government. I want a government that is quietly effective, that gets on with the job, that has proper processes in place …

ANDREW MARR:

Sure.

DAVID CAMERON:

… and does things in a proper way. Very, very important.

ANDREW MARR:

I understand that. But meanwhile people up and down the country are trying to work out their future budgets, wondering where they're going to be. One thing that has caused extreme unease is the idea among many of your own supporters, is the idea of raising capital gains tax to 40% or 50%. Hardworking Conservative inclined families who voted for you, who have put their money into, I don't know, shares or whatever it might be and are now looking at a really socking tax increase on that and thinking this is not what we voted for.

DAVID CAMERON:

Well there is, I think everyone recognises, there is a problem. When you have a capital gains tax rate of 18% and a top rate of income tax at 50%, you'll find people finding all sorts of ways to treat income as capital gains. Now what we've said is there is a very big difference between the capital gains that someone pays on say a second home - which is not you know necessarily a splendid investment for the whole economy - there's a difference between that and actual investment in business assets where you what … I want to light the flames of entrepreneurialism in Britain and get people investing in businesses and setting up new businesses. So we've said that we're going to look at a different rate between those two things and that helps actually again the fairness agenda. That helps us achieve the goal of lifting tax allowances, so we take more people out of tax. I think people will understand.

ANDREW MARR:

(over) Let's imagine somebody watching. Let's imagine somebody watching who voted Conservative, who's been saving money (however it might be) for the future, who thought that they were going to get a government which is a Conservative government who's going to protect them in tax, quite interested in your inheritance tax proposals. That's gone and so on. Now you've got Will Hutton, a man of the Left doing a bit of equality; you've got Vince Cable; you've got Frank Field.

DAVID CAMERON:

(over) Let me address that directly. It's a very important point. I would say to a core Conservative voter who voted for me - and we fell short of an overall majority, so we had to do something, I believe we've done the right thing for good government for the country - but I'd say to that Conservative voter, we are going to stop the damaging part of Labour's jobs tax. That's going to be delivered. We are going to have a cap on immigration. We are going to have a lock, so no future treaty can be passed without there being a referendum here in Britain. You know we've delivered some really important …

ANDREW MARR:

(over) But you're not going to repatriate powers, are you?

DAVID CAMERON:

Well actually if you look at our coalition agreement, there are some areas there. We actually believe that actually powers would be better off in the UK.

ANDREW MARR:

Let me ask you about Vince Cable directly because he said that he's going to work jointly, it's going to be a joint cooperative thing with George Osborne to deal with the banks. He wants them broken up and he wants a real crackdown on obscene bonuses in the City. The City is worried, as you know, about Vince Cable taking over banking in the City. Is he right to assert that he is in effect in charge of this?

DAVID CAMERON:

Well what there is is the whole government is a partnership and there's also a very strong partnership between Vince Cable and George Osborne who are going to sit on a cabinet committee, which George will chair, that's going to commission this very important work into the future structure of banking. They will commission that. They will set out its terms of reference. They will receive its report and then we'll act on it. Now the division …

ANDREW MARR:

That's the real face of the coalition.

DAVID CAMERON:

No, no, no it isn't.

ANDREW MARR:

George is there overseeing Vince Cable?

DAVID CAMERON:

No, but I think the whole thinking behind the question in a way is wrong for this reason. The division in politics was between the Labour government that didn't want to reform banking, that wouldn't have a bigger role for the Bank of England, that wouldn't countenance any removal of functions from retail banks. That's on the one hand. On the other hand, both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats were arguing for real change. We were saying you've got to end the tripartite structure - both us and the Liberal Democrats.

ANDREW MARR:

(over) Does the Chancellor have a veto on any banking reforms?

DAVID CAMERON:

Well banking reform falls under the Treasury. It is a Treasury responsibility …

ANDREW MARR:

(over) So yes.

DAVID CAMERON:

… and it's going to be carried out there through this committee which George and Vince … I think this goes to a bigger question though which is …

ANDREW MARR:

Well can I just ask you a bigger question actually?

DAVID CAMERON:

Sure.

ANDREW MARR:

… because we've talked about Liberal Conservatism. For a brief time when the Labour Party and the Liberals were flirting, there was talking a "progressive coalition". Actually that's what you are putting in place.

DAVID CAMERON:

Yes, I've always said that modern Conservatism that I've been championing for the last …

ANDREW MARR:

(over) And you are burying the old Conservative Party?

DAVID CAMERON:

No, look the Conservative … All …

ANDREW MARR:

(over) You took it a certain distance and now you're taking it to the final place?

DAVID CAMERON:

No, I don't accept that. What I've done is form a good government for the future of the United Kingdom. It is a progressive alliance because we're doing what I …

ANDREW MARR:

(over) And could it last beyond one election, do you think?

DAVID CAMERON:

Well let's, let's get through the first five years first.

ANDREW MARR:

Could you …..??

DAVID CAMERON:

But I believe if you … I actually believe this can last for five years. It can be a strong and stable government. And it's very much in line with some of the things I've been saying over a five year period where I've said we need to have progressive ends and we use Conservative and yes Liberal Democrat means to achieve those progressive ends, and I think we're already setting out how that can be done.

ANDREW MARR:

A lot of your own back benchers and many others see this 55% lock in in the House of Commons as profoundly undemocratic, unconstitutional. "A constitutional outrage" people have said. I don't even see how it's going to work because if 51% of the MPs vote against the government, they can also then vote to repeal this, can't they?

DAVID CAMERON:

Well let me try and explain.

ANDREW MARR:

It doesn't actually mean anything.

DAVID CAMERON:

Well let me … We have to stand back for a minute and try and work out what's being done here. The first thing is I believe the time has come for us to move in Britain to fixed term parliament. That is a very big step. I'm the first Prime Minister in British history to give up the right independently to go to the Queen and ask for a dissolution at a time of my choosing. This is a big surrender of prime ministerial power. I think it's a really good thing.

ANDREW MARR:

But you're locking everybody in, not just yourself.

DAVID CAMERON:

No, no. Right, okay, that's the first point - fixed term parliament. If you have a fixed term parliament, you have to have some form of mechanism of actually making sure it is a fixed term parliament. That's why in Scotland they have for instance a 66% vote threshold.

ANDREW MARR:

Sure.

DAVID CAMERON:

That's why in Germany they have different arrangements. You have to have to do …

ANDREW MARR:

(over) But we have parliamentary sovereignty in this country. Queen in parliament. The parliament's sovereign. Commons can decide what it wants to do.

DAVID CAMERON:

Sure, but that's why …

ANDREW MARR:

So what happ… Sorry what happens if things fall apart between you and the Liberal Demcrats, you are back to a minority, the Liberal Democrats can't for some reason form an alliance with the Labour Party in parliament. Nobody has got a majority. We have chaos and you are locking in chaos.

DAVID CAMERON:

Well I don't accept that. I mean there are countries all over the world that have fixed term parliament systems. In fact ours is relatively rare. I've had many occasions having to explain to other world you know party leaders and world leaders sort of saying well ours is a very strange system. I don't know when the election's going to be. So I think saying fixed term parliaments can't work I think is wrong. The two big decisions we've made is first of all let's have fixed term parliaments; second, let's have a mechanism that makes that possible. I think 55% is the right way. Are there other things that need to be settled and questioned and answered? I totally accept that and it'll be debated …

ANDREW MARR:

(over) Are you going to put that vote in the House of Commons?

DAVID CAMERON:

Yes of course. This is a …

ANDREW MARR:

What happens to dissenters who feel very pro… you know profoundly as members of parliament, parliamentarians that they're against this? Conservatives and Liberal Democrats will vote against this.

DAVID CAMERON:

Well let's see. The argument has yet fully to be made. I've been reading some of the comment about this and I think some of it is not really that well informed yet because we haven't yet … we need to make the big arguments.

ANDREW MARR:

(over) Okay, alright, no I understand that.

DAVID CAMERON:

(over) A fixed term parliament is about a lock on them. I think once we make the argument, people will see that the move to fixed term parliaments is a very, very positive one. If you just think back over the last three years actually where any minute you thought that the government was angling to try and get into place a General Election, it was very destructive to good government.

ANDREW MARR:

You've only had a few days as Prime Minister. You've been given all the nuclear secrets and the buttons and whatever. You've met the chiefs of staff, you've had all the pretty terrifying, I imagine, economic briefings. Do you reflect that you know you're a very young man to be Prime Minister? Is there something pretty scary about this?

DAVID CAMERON:

Look it's a huge responsibility. It's a responsibility I thought very carefully about before even standing for leadership of the Conservative Party because I always believed that I could win that leadership election, I could end up as Prime Minister. It hasn't happened in quite the way I anticipated, but I thought through myself and with Samantha and with friends and family could I take these responsibilities and I decided that yes I could. Now these are very big responsibilities. I think first of all of the fact we are fighting a war on the other side of the world. That's why one of the first things I did was establish a war cabinet through the National Security Council. That's why I met the chiefs of the defence staff yesterday for a long session with them. So there are big responsibilities, but I believe this stronger team, this government which has a majority of 70, is actually able to provide the reassurance, the strength and the stability that we need. Whether it's about the deficit, whether it's about Afghanistan or whether it's about some of our political problems. It actually has I think the strength to succeed.

ANDREW MARR:

David Cameron, Liberal Conservative Prime Minister, thank you very much.

DAVID CAMERON:

Thank you.

INTERVIEW ENDS




FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit