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Last Updated: Friday, 7 September 2007, 14:55 GMT 15:55 UK
Tory critics pose 'false choice'
David Cameron
Mr Cameron has faced some criticism from within his own party
Tory leader David Cameron has warned his critics that he will not make a "false choice" between traditional Tory values and his modernising reforms.

He said applying Conservative principles to the issues of the day was what Tories from Winston Churchill to Margaret Thatcher had done.

And he said ignoring green issues would be "a betrayal" of Conservative values.

Mr Cameron dismissed criticism from both the left and right of his party about his agenda.

He also played down the appointment of former Tory donor Johan Eliasch by Gordon Brown as an adviser on deforestation and green energy - amid reports the Swedish businessman had complained Mr Cameron had abandoned his commitment to occupy the centre ground.

That is a false choice and one I will not make
David Cameron

Days earlier former Tory deputy chairman Michael Ancram complained about "vacuous" reforms and warned against "trashing" the party's Thatcherite past.

In a speech to activists, Mr Cameron said: "Forget about those on the left who say I shouldn't talk about Europe, crime or lower taxes or those on the right who say I shouldn't talk about the NHS, the environment or well-being.

"That is a false choice and one I will not make."

Thatcher reforms

He said all of those policy areas mattered to the British people and were "long overdue for the modern Conservative freedom and control agenda".

"It's what Conservative leaders have always done. Churchill with his bonfire of war time controls to set people free. Macmillan with his house-building programme to deliver a property owning democracy. Margaret Thatcher with her great economic liberalisation, stripping power and control from trade union leaders and giving it to their members."

He also criticised Gordon Brown's "citizens' juries" - the first of which met in Bristol on Thursday to discuss children's issues - saying the prime minister "just doesn't get it".

Parents 'are experts'

"Think of those families that are caring for disabled or special needs kids. We don't need citizens' juries to work out how to improve the service they use, there are a hundred thousand experts out there already - they're the parents of those kids.

"We just need to give them the freedom and control to get what they want, with individual budgets and direct payments so that they have the cash and they can make the choices about care, about respite, about the help and support they need."

Mr Brown has pledged to listen to the findings of his citizens' juries - groups of 12 to 20 people, picked independently to represent a community to discuss different issues.

He says they are a part of a "new type of politics" and will shape policies.


SEE ALSO
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Brown defends new citizen juries
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04 Sep 07 |  UK Politics
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