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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 September 2005, 15:38 GMT 16:38 UK
Contender: David Cameron
David Cameron
David Cameron has been dubbed the Tories' Tony Blair

Date of birth: 9 October 1966
Job: Shadow education secretary
Education: Eton College; Brasenose College, Oxford
Family: Married, son and daughter


On his party's future: "The problem was that people don't yet trust the Conservative Party and it is we who have got to change. What we have to do is make a change in the culture and identity of the Conservative Party and explain what this means today."

What the press say: "He is young, charming, telegenic and altogether less macho than [David] Davis. He is easy enough to caricature as a risotto-munching, Notting Hill toff, but his life has not been entirely smooth as he has a severely disabled child," Suzanne Moore, Mail on Sunday.


PROFILE

Conservative education spokesman and leading moderniser David Cameron has regularly been dubbed the opposition's Tony Blair.

Along with his youthful colleague and friend, George Osborne - said to be Brown to Cameron's Blair - he is being talked up by some Conservatives as their best hope for the future.

His supporters, said to include Michael Howard, believe he is exactly the sort of young, ambitious, radical, modernising force they need to bring them back from what some fear is the brink of irrelevance.

As Blair re-cast Labour in the 1990s, so Cameron can reshape the Conservatives in the 2000s, they argue.

But what is it about this Eton and Oxford rising star and leading member of the Tories' so-called Notting Hill Set that makes him so attractive?

CONFERENCE RATING
CV: David Cameron, 38, shadow education secretary
Key Quote: "I want to switch on a whole new generation to the Conservative Party"
Best joke: "It's not just about having a young, vigorous, energetic leader - although come to think of it, it's not such a bad idea."
Ovations: 20 rounds of applause (though some of them when he thanked others) and a three minute standing ovation finale
Speech length: 19 minutes, 55 seconds
Name drops: Praise for ex-leaders Hague, Duncan Smith and Howard
Nick Assinder's verdict: Young moderniser might have swung some votes

David Cameron comes from exactly the sort of privileged background many would associate with the Conservative Party.

He was born in 1966 to a stockbroker and almost naturally was sent to Eton before going on to win a first at Oxford.

He is married to Samantha - the daughter of a baronet - lives in Notting Hill and likes all the good old Tory pastimes of riding and shooting.

He has insisted, however, that it is "not where you come from but where you are going that counts".

But he has always been going places. He started his political career in the Tory research department in 1988 before becoming special adviser to then Chancellor Norman Lamont in 1992 and then Home Secretary Michael Howard a year later.

He also helped with speech writing and preparation for question time for prime ministers Margaret Thatcher and John Major.

Shadow minister

He then moved on to become director of corporate communications at Carlton Communications between 1994 and 2001.

He entered the Commons later that year as MP for Witney, former foreign secretary Douglas Hurd's old seat, and gradually built a reputation as a member of the Commons home affairs select committee.

In June 2003, he was appointed shadow minister in the Privy Council Office. He became deputy chairman of the party when Mr Howard took the leadership.

He won his first frontbench job as local government spokesman in 2004 before being promoted into the shadow cabinet that June as head of policy co-ordination.

Just three months later he became shadow education secretary in the post-election reshuffle.




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