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Last Updated: Sunday, 1 July 2007, 12:04 GMT 13:04 UK
Tories 'will not change strategy'
George Osborne
Mr Osborne refused to comment on a possible Tory reshuffle
There will be "absolutely no change in strategy" by the Conservatives, shadow chancellor George Osborne has said.

He told BBC One's Sunday AM the party would remain "in the mainstream of British politics".

This follows a call by right-wing Tory MP Edward Leigh to focus on issues such as immigration and taxation, rather than seeming "driven by PR".

Mr Osborne also said it was "above my pay grade" to say whether there would be a shadow Cabinet reshuffle soon.

'Traditional way'

Mr Leigh, of the Cornerstone Group of right-wing Tory MPs, has said the party should appear one of "principle".

He added: "There's only one way they can go, which is the traditional Conservative way, the right policies, the progressive policies of successful countries around the world of low taxation, deregulation, strong immigration controls, strong defence and building on the social responsibility theme of [party leader] David Cameron."

Several opinion polls have suggested the Tories are losing support to Labour, under new Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Mr Osborne refused to comment on rumours that Mr Cameron is about to reshuffle the shadow Cabinet following Mr Brown's overhaul of government posts last week.

He said: "That is above my pay grade. That is David Cameron's decision and he will at some point put in place the best team to take forward the Conservative approach."

He added: "We are not changing our strategy. Our strategy is to be in the mainstream of British politics - talking about the issues, like the NHS, like social breakdown, like pensions - that matter to people in this country."

Mr Cameron's policies had made the party "real players in the political game" and had "delivered those great local election results last month".

Mr Osborne also said: "There is absolutely no change of strategy."

'Completely clear'

Shadow education secretary David Willetts told Sky News: "At some point, I am sure there will be some kind of reshuffle."

He added: "Under David, the strategic direction has been completely clear - a party more committed to environmental issues, a party more committed to creating an environment that is family-friendly and more committed to local initiatives in social enterprise and social responsibility.

"It is in the national interests to have a party committed to that.

"There should be no change in the strategic direction, because that is what the country needs from the Conservatives."

Two newspaper polls have recorded an increase in support for Labour since Gordon Brown became prime minister.

A Guardian poll showed a seven-point increase in support for Labour since last month to 39%, to the Tories' 35%.

A survey for the Daily Telegraph found a five-point rise for Labour to 38%, against 35% for the Conservatives.

In a survey for BBC One's Politics Show, 40% said that Mr Brown's government would be "a change for the better" and 14% thought it would be "a change for the worse".


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