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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 October, 2004, 10:53 GMT 11:53 UK
Tories issue timetable for action
Michael Howard, Conservative Party leader
Howard: Trust is key message
The Conservatives are sending leaflets to millions of homes stating what they would do from the hour they took office after a general election victory.

Leader Michael Howard is to set out the timetable in a speech closing the Tory annual conference in Bournemouth.

His "timetable for action" will outline what a Tory government would do within hours, days and months of election.

Mr Howard believes this is the only way to regain the trust of an electorate disillusioned with politicians.

We are spelling out exactly what we will do
Michael Howard

The Tory leader has put rebuilding trust in politics and politicians central to his general election campaign.

He remains upbeat about the party's prospects and says the "election is there to be won."

"I think we can win it and I am not thinking about anything else," he told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme.

He rejected suggestions that he would resign if the Conservatives were not victorious saying it would be up to party members to decide who led them.

He also defended his spending plans saying: "We are spelling out exactly what we will do.

"We are being absolutely rigorous about this. It is because we are being so rigorous that I am not taking the easy action of making promises about tax cuts," he told Today.

Detailed timings

But Mr Howard will promise that within the first hour of taking office he would forbid political advisers from telling civil servants what to do.

He would also make the Office for National Statistics independent of government.

The aim would be to protect the integrity of Whitehall and ensure ministers cannot manipulate official statistics.

Within the first day of government, he would freeze civil service recruitment, set a date for a referendum on the European constitution, reverse the reclassification of cannabis as a less serious drug, abolish health targets and appoint a minister for homelands security.

TIMETABLE FOR ACTION
First hour
Stop political advisers telling civil servants what to do.
Make Office for National Statistics independent.
First day
Freeze civil service recruitment.
Scrap forms police have to fill in when they stop someone.
First week
End Labour's early prison release scheme.
Abolish central education targets and allow good schools to expand.
First month
Oliver Letwin's first budget with plans to slash red tape.
Allow all hospitals to apply for foundation status.
Introduce 'right to choose' in schools and hospitals.
Extend 'right to buy' for tenants.

Source: Conservative Party

The document will also set out detailed timings for other key policies on health, education, law and order, immigration and asylum and Europe.

Launching the document, Mr Howard will state: "When I was home secretary, crime fell by 18% in four years. This had never happened before. It has not happened since.

"So I know how to get a job done. You have to be clear about exactly what it is you want to achieve, you have to follow through what you start and you have to focus relentlessly on the detail.

"In this timetable for action, I have set out the main steps that a Conservative government will take in its first days in office.

"It is not everything that we will do, but I hope it will give you a sense of what we want to achieve and confidence that we will achieve it."

After again pledging that he would hold his ministers accountable for any failure to meet their pledges, he will insist he will only ever promise what he can deliver.

As the conference closes, with the expected razzmatazz that is now traditional at these events, he will set off on a campaign visit with members of his frontbench team.




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