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Last Updated: Saturday, 2 December 2006, 02:40 GMT
Back me or lose, Cameron warning
David Cameron
Mr Cameron celebrates one year as leader on Wednesday
Conservative leader David Cameron has told his party it must back his drive to modernise or face a fourth consecutive general election defeat.

Mr Cameron told the Daily Telegraph it was "tough" if traditional Tories concerned by the direction he is taking the party were annoyed "along the way".

He said the party had to "change to reflect changes to British society".

The party had been wrong at the last general election to focus on issues like Europe and immigration, he added.

Mr Cameron, who will celebrate his first anniversary as leader on Wednesday, said he had not deliberately sought to antagonise the "old guard" with his new emphasis on climate change and ensuring greater representation for women and ethnic minorities.

I don't go out to annoy anybody but I want to change the Conservative Party and get us back to the centre ground and in a position where we can win
David Cameron

However, he also stated that he would not change course.

"I don't go out to annoy anybody but I want to change the Conservative Party and get us back to the centre ground and in a position where we can win," he said.

"If you have to annoy people along the way - that's tough."

He added: "I suppose you could spend the next few years as leader of the Conservative Party just telling people what they wanted to hear and jolly them along and everyone would be happy - and then you would lose another election.

"Well, I don't see the point of that."

In the interview, Mr Cameron also denied that his decision to pull out of a speech to the Confederation of British Industry so he could visit British troops in Iraq had been a piece of "deliberate political positioning to distance himself from big business".

When the military had offered him a date to go to Iraq, he decided it was an opportunity he could not miss, he said.




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