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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 August 2006, 16:25 GMT 17:25 UK
Cameron unveils 'mini manifesto'
David Cameron
Mr Cameron says he wants to give the Tories a new sense of direction
Conservative leader David Cameron has unveiled the final draft of his party's Built to Last document outlining what he believes it should stand for.

He said he wanted a "responsibility revolution" to hand more power back to individuals and communities.

But he admitted the document had had to be beefed up after activists said it did not contain enough policy detail.

It comes a day after he sparked a row with the government by accusing it of not doing enough to fight extremism.

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Mr Cameron told BBC Radio 4's Today the revised version of Built to Last offered the Conservatives a new "sense of direction".

It had been changed from the initial document unveiled in February, he said, after Tory activists said they would "like to know more about what direction this would actually take a Conservative government in".

The document sets out more than 50 policy proposals in eight areas including:

  • "Flatter and simpler" taxes and deregulation for industry

  • Reducing means testing for pensioners, paid for by raising the retirement age

  • A "huge increase" in drug rehabilitation places for young offenders

  • "Binding annual targets" for carbon emissions

  • Ending the "culture of top down centralisation and targets" in the NHS

  • More "streaming and setting" in schools

  • Creating a "unified border police" and a homeland security minister

  • A New Bill of Rights to replace the Human Rights Act

  • Scrapping the government's proposed ID card scheme and unelected regional assemblies

The document also calls for a greater cross-party consensus on long-term issues such as climate change and pensions.

In his foreword to the document, Mr Cameron says: "The country needs a new direction and new answers.

"I am clear about the new direction we must set for Britain. To meet the challenges of the twenty-first century, and to satisfy people's aspirations today, this country needs a responsibility revolution."

'Corporate responsibility'

Explaining what he meant by this, Mr Cameron told Today: "At the moment we've got a party in power that basically believes in top-down centralised government, telling you what to do, taking your money, spending it, giving you ID cards, taking powers away from your local government, telling you what to do if you're a professional in the health service or in education.

"We want to sweep that away and have a responsibility revolution and say we want more individual responsibility.

"We want more corporate responsibility because companies have got a role to play. We want more civic responsibility because we're going to empower local government and local councils."

The final version of the Built to Last document will be put to a ballot of the party's entire membership, which is more than 250,000 people, next month.

For Labour, Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott said the original document had only lasted six months, saying the new version should be called 'Built to Last A Bit Longer'.

Mr Prescott said it was "another triumph of style over substance... an empty document".

Norman Lamb, for the Liberal Democrats, said the document showed Mr Cameron was "unwilling to shoulder the responsibility of putting forward any genuine policy commitments".

"This is another vapid PR exercise intended to convince people that the Conservative Party has changed, but these proposals are either hopelessly vague or have been Tory policy for years," he added.


Meanwhile, on his efforts to modernise the Conservative Party, Mr Cameron told Today he was "not satisfied" with the performance of the so-called "A-list" of preferred candidates.

It had succeeded in increasing the percentage of women and people from ethnic minorities being selected as Tory candidates, he said, but he wanted to "go further".

Mr Cameron also conceded his plans for tackling climate change could lead to an increase in the cost of air travel.

But he defended the suggestion he made in a speech on Tuesday that more could be done to counter terrorism by the government.

On Tuesday Mr Prescott had described Mr Cameron's comments as "almost beyond belief" and accused him of undermining the united front against terrorism.

But Mr Cameron told Today that he had backed much of the government's response. He also praised Home Secretary John Reid's performance in the past few weeks.

But, he said, he had identified three specific areas where more could be done and had raised them in a "responsible, constructive" way. He contrasted that with what he called the "hysterical" reaction of ministers.

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