[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 18 January 2007, 18:40 GMT
Q&A with David Cameron
Conservative leader David Cameron
David Cameron answered questions sent by BBC viewers
Conservative leader David Cameron answers more questions you have put to him via the BBC News website.

Q: Will you improve the NHS because recently it has got really bad. Last year i think you said you would improve the NHS; if so i would like to know in what way would you improve it? Christopher, Glasgow

A: Health is devolved so the details in Scotland will be different. But the basic principle is the same - we would trust doctors and nurses more and get rid of the target mentality which wastes precious resources and stops professionals doing their jobs properly. In England we would also end the pointless reorganisations every couple of years.

Q: Forget the enviromental issues, all UK actions will have NO effect on climate change. We are less than 1.5% of CO2 emissions. If you really want to win an election get involved with the REAL issues immigration, crime, ridiculous tax levels and stealth taxes. These are the issues real people are concerned with. Austine Bode

A: It's true that individual countries can't solve climate change by themselves. But if every country decides to leave it to others, we won't get anywhere. We have to get our own house in order first and also work to get an agreement with other countries too. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't talk as well about some of the other issues you mention. We've set out plans for more effective controls on economic migration. We've said we will reform the police, make them more accountable, and start tackling the causes of crime like Tony Blair promised to. On tax, we'll share the proceeds of growth between investment in public services and tax reduction - very different from Gordon Brown, who takes all the proceeds of growth, wastes a lot of it, and has to keep putting taxes up not down.

Q: As a serving member of the UK Armed Forces and having watched this current government systematically dismantle it piece by piece, with constant cuts in funding, ridiculous PFIs and cheap contracted civilianisation of vital state assets (the latest being the plan to contract out the RAFs Search & Rescue service), if you regain power what steps will you be taking to safeguard and improve the current state of the British Armed Forces...will defence even be an issue under your government? Russ

A: Yes, it will. I've got Brize Norton in my constituency and have seen first hand some of the things which members of the Armed Forces - and their families - have to put up with. The government has got to make sure they have adequate equipment and resources, and living standards they deserve. When we send people out to fight and potentially die in our name, our part of the bargain is to make sure that they and their families are properly looked after. We've promised a manifesto for Armed Forces' families. And in government, we'd spend what is necessary to guarantee our security. In the current environment, we'd either have to increase the resources reaching the front-line to match our commitments, or reduce our commitments to match our resources.

Q: Any plans to clamp down on this silly political correctness movement sweeping the nation? Graham Jordan, Nottingham

A: In the past, sometimes "political correctness" was a phrase which was used when it was just a case of showing respect to other people. It wasn't political correctness to stop using terms which were needlessly offensive. But we've got to show some common sense here, and we shouldn't go round banning things - Christmas and the like - which aren't actually causing offence at all. There are things we can do to encourage common sense. For example, I've said we should scrap the Human Rights Act and bring in a modern British Bill of Rights instead.

Q: Under the Labour government it seems that even minor misdemeanors have been criminalised, eg putting the wrong rubbish in the wrong recycling bin. This seemingly endless increase in mindless laws makes a paranoic society in which we feel that our every move is watched and qualified. Will the Tories end this futile attempt to govern by the rule of law alone and let us have some autonomy in our own lives. Lynda Trill, Chichester

A: Yes. Of course sometimes laws are necessary. But the principle I've said we will base everything on is social responsibility. This means recognising that all of us - not just government - have a responsibility for our neighbours, for our country and for our planet. So rather than asking all the time what the state can do to tackle a particular issue, weżd ask what society can do. That's a big change from the current way of doing things, which seems to be based on the belief that more and more laws and more and more state control is the answer to every problem.

Q: If the Conservatives take power at the next general election, will you repair the damage that privatisation caused the railways? For years, the public have had out of control price rises. They are told, by the operating companies, that the service will improve with a greater investment only to be subjected to a poorer and failing infrastructure. Profits are continually being put before service and needs to be rectified if we are to use public transport more. Darran, Colchester

A: You have to accept that things were pretty dreadful under British Rail, with decades of under-investment under both types of government. But we've accepted that we made our share of mistakes too, like the complete separation of track and train into separate businesses at the time of privatisation. We are looking at bringing the two back together. We also want less interference from ministers all the time.

Q: Please, please please when - not if - you become prime minister, how are you going to tackle the problem with inflated migration to this country and the problem with no national growth? David Evans

A: Immigration is an important issue, which deserves calm and serious treatment and if possible some sort of consensus about the best way forward. In short, Britain benefits economically from immigration, but not all or any immigration. We've set out the kind of approach we would adopt, coupled with better enforcement methods like a border police. If you want more detail, have a look at the document Controlling Economic Migration which we published in November - it's on our website, Conservatives.com.

Q: I have been a lifelong Conservative, at 25 I have spent my entire adult life living under a Labour government. My question to you is what do you plan to do about helping young people like myself to get a foot onto the property ladder? I work, pay my taxes but I am sick and tired of seeing single mums, foreign imigrants and those living off benefits being given houses by the state. Yet despite earning an honest wage I am unable to afford to buy on my own property. Neil, Guildford

A: This is clearly a big problem. One of its causes is the failure to provide enough new homes. We want to see more homes built, suitable for first time buyers, whilst protecting the environment. Weżre looking at a range of other ideas too - like shared ownership schemes; allowing social tenants to part-own their properties as a step to full ownership; and Community Land Trusts.

Q: Will you throw out the ID card bill and give back our civil liberties that have been taken from us by this existing government? Hugh, Ayrshire

A: Yes, ID cards would go.

Q: I have been a Tory voter all my life and I am no danger in switching to radical right wing parties such as the BNP or UKIP. However I feel we must increase the pressure on this discredited shambles of a government. It's time for the Tories to up the ante and highlight just how inept this government is, it's not like you are short ammunition.There seems to be no urgency but people must be made aware of the appaling mismangement and waste that is occuring. Simon, London

A: I spend most Prime Minister's Questions highlighting the ineptitude of the government - like the chaos in the Home Office. As I said yesterday, this is a week when two more murderers have walked out of open prison, the immigration staff at Heathrow say they cannot cope, and potential terrorists walk free from house arrest. And, disgracefully, the government's response to things that go wrong is often simply to blame their officials.

But actually I don't think people really need me to convince them that the government is inept! What people are looking for now is not just a noisy Opposition but a credible alternative government. That is why I've focused so much energy on changing the Conservative Party so we are a modern, compassionate Conservative Party. I want to do more than just oppose - I want to change this country for the better.

Q: British politics has always had an element of the Punch and Judy show about it - and never is that more evident than when governments change. New governments tend to jettison much introduced by previous administrations in an effort to distance themselves from the past and establish their own profile. So I would like to ask you what you will keep from the last 10 years if you come to power in an early election? Mark, Reading

A: Good question. On the economy, we'd keep the minimum wage. And also Bank of England independence - in fact we'd enhance it. It is about the only decision Gordon Brown has taken to reduce interference from ministers in the economy, and it's not a coincidence that it's the decision that's worked the best. On public services, we would keep to the principle that services like the NHS need sustained investment - but would make sure that more of that investment goes to the front line.

Q: What are the differences between David Cameron and Blair? Magic_lantern

A: Here are a few specific examples: I've said we will share the proceeds of growth between public services and lower taxes; abolish ID cards; replace the Human Rights Act; and restore Britain's opt-out from the Social Chapter. Mr Blair doesn't agree with any of those things.

But the big difference is one of principle. I believe in social responsibility. Labour seem to believe in state control. I would trust people more to make the right choices for themselves, their families and their communities. And I would trust more in the professionalism of nurses, doctors, and teachers to raise standards in our hospitals and schools. I don't think the state can solve everything. Mr Blair - and more importantly for the future, Mr Brown - seem to.

Q: When will you privatise the BBC? Paul, London

A: Maybe when they send me another thousand questions to answer! But seriously, I think the BBC has many strengths and we are fortunate to have a high standard in television and radio in this country. And actually, it's been good looking at your questions and answering some of them. Today and yesterday I hope Iżve answered a cross section, and not just the easy ones. If I haven't answered any important questions, they can be posted on webcameron.org.uk. I answer the five most popular ones on there each week - as voted for by you - and some of the other questions on here have been answered on there.

David Cameron answers viewers' questions

Cameron backs England-only votes
17 Jan 07 |  UK Politics
Switch off Big Brother - Cameron
17 Jan 07 |  UK Politics
Cameron attacks Blair on records
17 Jan 07 |  UK Politics

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific