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Tuesday, 19 June, 2001, 11:39 GMT 12:39 UK
David Davis statement in full
The full text of David Davis's announcement that he was joining the race to become Tory party leader:
I wish to announce my intention to stand for the leadership of the Conservative Party.
I want to build a modern Conservative Party, true to our principles but willing to think again about the issues that matter most to people.
The public's disenchantment with politics has much to do with the perception of spin, broken promises and cheapening political debate.
Focus group obsessions have led to populist policies that quickly become irrelevant anachronisms.
We cannot blow with the wind for temporary convenience and expect to earn the respect and trust either of our supporters or the electorate.
It is time for a more honest approach.
We must be true to Conservative principles of choice, individual responsibility and freedom.
But that does not release us from the painful necessity for thought about making ourselves relevant.
We cannot hide from the 21st Century and the real world in which we live.
The government has utterly failed to meet its promises on health, education and law and order.
But the Conservatives have had little to offer as an alternative.
We need a fundamental policy review, with an open debate involving informed opinion in and outside the party.
We must have the courage to look at radical solutions, especially for the improvement of public services.
We must enthuse the public with our vision and ideals.
We will not offer a better way simply by aping Labour's approach in a Dutch auction of ever-higher spending promises.
In the last parliament our opposition to Labour's tax and spend agenda was confused and half-hearted.
It was trapped by a failure to promote the dynamic relationship between low tax and prosperity.
Maintaining Britain's competitiveness and economic advantages is essential to the creation of jobs and the improvement of living standards.
It is also essential to sustain our ability to invest in higher quality public services.
But unless we are willing to challenge the way in which the State is delivering those services we will be condemning them to perpetual decline.
Our health service is failing patients, its centralised bureaucracy delivering worse care than most of its equivalents abroad.
We need a better system, where the test of success is delivery of the very best health care possible to everyone.
In our schools real standards are stagnating and our weakest pupils are suffering.
We need to target the worst schools and establish excuse-free zones in education, beginning with real measures of school performance.
The government has cheapskated police forces and tried to make up for it with increasingly draconian changes to the criminal law.
Instead of auctioning our liberties we need a more determined and organised approach to policing, and dramatic increases in police numbers.
Only when we begin to talk about these issues that matter to people, and offer the hope of genuine change, will we win back the trust of a lost generation of voters.
A clear majority of the party's MPs, members and supporters are opposed to adoption of the euro.
The party should maintain that position. Our opposition will be based on an intelligent assessment of the political and economic case against entry.
But we must not be obsessed with this issue, nor should the majority's view on it be a test of party loyalty.
As the public made clear at the election, the euro is a unique issue that will ultimately be settled at a referendum.
The modern Conservatives will be a party of equal opportunity.
We will appeal to people from all backgrounds, not by sloganising but by adopting a civilised approach to politics and formulating honest policies that command support and respect.
We will not have a party of fiefdoms. Instead I want the whole parliamentary party to be involved in our policy formulation and campaigning.
In parliament and in wider debate we will be rigorous and constructive. We will not be ready to win a general election until we have first proved ourselves to be a united and competent opposition.
I have been described as the dark horse of this leadership campaign. And it's true that my public profile has been lower than others' in the party.
I chose to spend my time as chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, focusing on getting value for every pound of taxpayers' money spent, on the delivery of high quality public services - practical issues that people care about.
After two crushing defeats it is time to make a clean break.
The public wants a decent and capable alternative to Labour.
Our failure was that we could not provide it.
Over the next few days and weeks I will build on the ideas I am setting out today.
But my ambition is clear: to lead a modern, bold and dynamic party, trusted by the electorate, ready to take office again.
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