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Last Updated: Monday, 12 February 2007, 19:31 GMT
Tories study Swedish party's win
Swedish PM Fredrik Reinfeldt and Tory leader David Cameron
The Swedish PM, left, said he could learn from David Cameron
David Cameron says his party has "a lot to learn" from the conservative Swedish Moderate Party about winning elections.

The Tory leader has met Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, who moved his own party to the centre ground of politics and won power last year.

He unseated a centre-left government that had ruled for a decade - something Mr Cameron hopes to achieve himself.

He said there were similarities, and he wanted to "get in touch with issues that people care about".

'Rather obsessed'

Mr Cameron told the BBC: "The Swedish centre-right party were rather obsessed by one or two issues.

"And then, under Fredrik Reinfeldt, they broadened their base. They widened their appeal, they campaigned on issues people cared about, the things that really make a difference in an election.

"And that's what the Conservative Party's been doing under my leadership."

My simple message to you is this: We changed, and we won the election
Fredrik Reinfeldt to the Conservatives

Mr Reinfeldt became leader of the Moderates in 2003 and transformed the party, including calling it the New Moderates.

He has been dubbed the "Swedish David Cameron", and has taken the party from the right wing to a more popular centre-right position.

He forged an alliance with the three other conservative parties in parliament to form a majority.

Winning power

During last year's Conservative party conference, Mr Reinfeldt told delegates: "My simple message to you is this: We changed, and we won the election."

Mr Cameron said he was keen to learn how the Moderate Party changed to win power from a centre-left party which had been ruling for a decade and "was beginning to look tired".

He also said he wanted to do the "maximum amount of preparation" before coming to power so that policies could be implemented quickly.

My concern is that we are in danger of taking our core vote for granted and in the process effectively disenfranchising millions of decent people
Edward Leigh
Tory MP

In a display of mutual admiration, Mr Reinfeldt described Mr Cameron as one of the most interesting centre-right politicians to visit Sweden.

He said: "We have a lot to learn from David and his very good work on the environment."

But Mr Cameron's efforts to change the Conservatives are still attracting criticism among some traditional Tories.

Senior backbench MP Edward Leigh criticised his own party leadership in an article for the parliamentary House Magazine.

He said while Mr Cameron had great charm and was a remarkable political figure, but added: "My concern is that we are in danger of taking our core vote for granted and in the process effectively disenfranchising millions of decent people who feel that none of the mainstream parties speak for them."

Mr Cameron was accompanied on his two-day trip with shadow chancellor George Osborne and head of policy Oliver Letwin.

They are due to meet the Swedish minister of finance, the minister for family policy, and the secretary general of the Moderate Party for detailed policy discussions.




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
David Cameron on tour in Sweden



SEE ALSO
Country profile: Sweden
21 Dec 06 |  Country profiles

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