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Last Updated: Sunday, 3 October, 2004, 19:44 GMT 20:44 UK
Tories say what rocks their world
Nicholas Soames
Nicholas Soames: Dido fan
Senior Tories gathering in Bournemouth for their annual conference have spoken of their secret passion for pop music.

Heavyweight defence spokesman Nicholas Soames has said he is a big fan of Dido while party co-chairman Liam Fox listens to The Scissor Sisters.

Policy co-ordinator David Cameron said he found "depressing" music by The Smiths and Pulp "strangely uplifting".

The Tories were also asked about their hobbies and "first kiss" in a film aimed at projecting a more "fun" image.

'Scarred for life'

Most of the shadow cabinet refused to say who their first kiss was, although party leader Michael Howard said it had happened at the age of 10.

Scissor Scisters
Fox's favourites The Scissor Sisters
Mr Soames said: "I made a frightful hash of it and it may have scarred me for life."

The shadow defence spokesman said he "admired" Dido - whose singles include White Flag - "very much".

Other revelations included Michael Ancram's passion for Meatloaf and Shadow Education Secretary Tim Collins' recent purchase of Will Young's new album, although he insisted it was for his wife.

'Strangely uplifting'

Shadow chancellor Oliver Letwin said the last book he read was Downing Street strategist Philip Gould's book on Labour's 1997 election victory.

Mr Howard said the last book he read was historian David Starkey's biography of Elizabeth II.

Liam Fox
Dr Fox prescribes Tory fun
But perhaps the most surprising revelation was David Cameron's penchant for "miserable" music by Radiohead, Pulp and The Smiths - all well-known critics of the Conservatives. Smiths singer Morrissey once recorded a song about Margaret Thatcher called "Margaret on the Guillotine".

Mr Cameron said he found music by these bands "strangely uplifting".

"The more depressing the better," he added, describing his music tastes.

Mrs Thatcher famously named Telstar, by 1960s beat group The Tornadoes and "How Much is That Doggy in the Window?" as her favourite tunes of all time.

'Few surprises'

This year, the Tories have ditched traditional debates based around Whitehall departments in favour of "thematic" topics such as "freedom from fear", which includes pensions, crime and long-term care.

They are also hoping to get more young people beamed on the conference screens, in a series of interviews filmed around the UK.

Dr Fox, whose claims to fame include briefly dating pop singer Natalie Imbruglia, promised journalists "a few surprises" and said the week would be "more fun" than traditional party rallies.

Unveiling the conference set to the strains of remixed Elvis hit "A Little Less Conversation (A Little More Action)", he said the aim was to be "intimate and engaging".

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