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Last Updated: Friday, 21 October 2005, 15:14 GMT 16:14 UK
'Bad boy' Cameron keeps it real

Tory leadership hopeful David Cameron has been urged not to be ashamed of his "bad boy" past.

Mr Cameron was accosted in the street by 49-year-old Brian Kendrick, who gave him a bear hug and hailed him as the "next Tony Blair".

"They're trying to dig up your past, it's nonsense. We've all been bad boys," said Mr Kendrick.

Mr Cameron, who has faced questions about drug use, later urged radio station listeners to "keep it real".

Enthusiastic

Mr Cameron, at 39 the youngest contender in the Tory race, was introduced to listeners of north London community station Life FM as the "man in the blue corner Mr Dave Cameron" and "the M.A.N himself".

This is a great project, this is a great community, keep backing it, keep it real
David Cameron on Life FM

The shadow education secretary, who was called 'Dave' throughout the interview, was quizzed by a listener about his policies on poverty and inequality and whether "his" Tory party would appeal to black people in inner cities.

Urged to "put a shout out" to listeners, the Old Etonian hesitated for a moment before replying: "This is a great project, this is a great community, keep backing it, keep it real".

The interview at the internet community radio station, which is next to the Stoned Arts community group, was the first part of Mr Cameron's efforts to take his leadership campaign to Tory members nationwide.

But it is unlikely he will receive a more enthusiastic reception than that given by Mr Kendrick, who accosted Mr Cameron outside the radio station.

If you'll forgive me, no more questions about drugs - I just won't answer them
David Davis

Mr Kendrick, who had been drinking before the Tory hopeful's arrival, gave him a bear hug and told him he thought he was "vicious" and good.

"You're the next Tony Blair," said Mr Kendrick.

Mr Cameron joked: "Don't say that, that's not the message."

Mr Kendrick added: "I've been following the news, they're trying to dig up your past, it's nonsense. We've all been bad boys. I'm still a bad boy even now."

Drugs questions

The encounter comes a day after Mr Cameron said he had not snorted cocaine since becoming an MP.

On Friday, he was asked by reporters whether he had taken drugs since university.

But Mr Cameron refused to speak further on the issue, repeating his stock line that "lawmakers must not be lawbreakers" but people are entitled to a private life before entering politics.

His rival David Davis kicked off his campaign with a visit to Warwick university, where he was a student.

Speaking on the university's radio station, he said he had not taken drugs, but said he would not discuss the subject further.

The shadow home secretary has vowed not to answer any questions about drugs use or policy for the remaining six weeks of the leadership race.

He is sensitive to claims he is trying to increase the pressure on Mr Cameron over the issue.


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