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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 September 2006, 15:37 GMT 16:37 UK
Ballot shows unity, says Cameron
David Cameron
David Cameron has outlined his vision for the future of the party
David Cameron has been backed by more than nine out of 10 of Conservative members who voted on his mini-manifesto statement of aims and values.

But nearly three quarters of party members (73%) did not vote.

Of the 65,000 who did take part, 92.7% voted in favour of Mr Cameron's vision and 7.3% voted against.

The Tories said the result showed the party was united and said the turnout was better than in a similar vote in 2000 in which 16% of members took part.

Born optimist?

The Built to Last document sets out the aims and values which Mr Cameron wants the Conservatives to take into the next general election.

It shows a united party going forward, united around principles which I think will get a huge amount of support from the British people
David Cameron

And the Tory leader says the result is "overwhelming".

"Over 60,000 people voted. On anyone's account that is a big exercise in party democracy and an overwhelming vote," he said.

"It shows a united party going forward, united around principles which I think will get a huge amount of support from the British people."

In a statement, he added: "Today's result confirms that the party has changed. It shows that Conservatives support the vital changes that we have made over the last nine months.

"Those changes are clear. For example, we will put economic stability and fiscal responsibility ahead of promises to cut taxes.

"Protecting the environment and tackling climate change will be given equal prominence to public services and the economy.

"We will improve public services for all, rather than promote opt outs for a few.

"The test for all our policies will be how they help the most disadvantaged in society. We will take action so that our party reflects Britain as it is today, not Britain as it was."


A spokesman for Mr Cameron blamed the low turnout on the fact that many Tories were away on holiday.

He rejected suggestions that it undermined the validity of the result or showed a lack of enthusiasm for Mr Cameron's reforms.

The shadow cabinet has had its first meeting after the summer break in Leeds.

The focus was on shadow cabinet members getting out and about in places such as Leeds if the Conservatives want to win the next general election.

Meanwhile senior Tory MP Edward Leigh has warned of "discontent" among the party's core voters.

The MP for Gainsborough and chairman of the all-party Public Accounts Committee said going too far to attract floating voters was a "very high-risk strategy".

In an article in the parliamentary House Magazine he urged Mr Cameron not to "freeze out" the party's core supporters.

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