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Last Updated: Monday, 28 August 2006, 23:23 GMT 00:23 UK
'More Conservative policy needed'
Conservative leader David Cameron
David Cameron: "thoughtful, clever person"
Conservative leader David Cameron needs "more policies, more quickly", former Chancellor Lord Lamont says.

Lord Lamont said Mr Cameron was a "thoughtful, clever person" and a "charismatic leader" who has made the party more "voter-friendly".

Although he recognised the need to consider policies, Lord Lamont told the ePolitix website that Mr Cameron now needs more "policy content".

Mr Cameron was once special advisor to Norman Lamont.

He was with him at Downing Street on Black Wednesday in 1993 when the pound crashed out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism.

He recently released a mini-manifesto, Built to Last, setting out in the clearest detail yet the Conservative leader's vision for the future of his party.

Lord Lamont said: "I think it's wise to take your time on policy - you don't want to come out too early with your detailed ideas because they are liable to get lifted by the opposition.

"Having said that, I accept the point that he has got to develop more policy content.

If naturally loyal voters of any stripe feel they don't have a natural home in their party any more, it is a very dangerous thing
Lord Lamont

"He is a charismatic leader, he has done well in making the Conservative Party more voter-friendly, but I think we do need more policies, more quickly."

Among areas which needed attention were law and order and taxation, Lord Lamont said, adding "I don't believe immigration can be off the agenda".

"The smaller state is at the heart of Conservatism and I think ideas have to be developed around that concept."

The former chancellor said keeping core supporters on board was as important as attracting new voters. "If naturally loyal voters of any stripe feel they don't have a natural home in their party any more, it is a very dangerous thing," he told the website.

"Mrs Thatcher constantly increased her vote during her time in office, which is in sharp contrast to what has happened during Tony Blair's time as prime minister when both Labour and Conservative votes have fallen.

"We must not drift into a situation where there are more and more abstentions and that is the option open to core voters."

A similar view was voiced by senior MP Edward Leigh last month, when he said core Conservative voters should not be taken for granted.

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