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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 October 2007, 21:29 GMT 22:29 UK
Cameron speech: Reaction
Politicians give their verdict on David Cameron's speech to the Conservative Party conference in Blackpool.

SHADOW COMMONS LEADER THERESA MAY

"I think what people are looking for - they want to know about their politicians. They want to know that they are authentic and that's why I think it was right for David to say that today - to do the speech in the way that he did - to do it from the heart and to talk about himself personally. And what people will do is look at Gordon Brown and look at his record and they'll say is this really authentic - when over 10 years he has promised so much and yet failed to deliver?"

FORMER CONSERVATIVE LEADER MICHAEL HOWARD

"I thought it was a brilliant speech and he spelled out that one of the causes of the failures of the Labour government over the last 10 years has been its top-down approach. What a Conservative government would offer is empowerment to professionals and to people, so that they would really have control of the health service, of education and that is the way in which we're going to get the real improvement in the services that we all want to see. And it's a very different kind of vision, a very different kind of society from the one that we have got and will no doubt continue to get if we continue to have a Labour government from Gordon Brown."

GEORGE OSBORNE, SHADOW CHANCELLOR

"I've known for a couple of days that he was thinking of doing this without a script, although a speech was prepared. I know what it's like to give a speech to a party conference and I was sitting there thinking this is an absolutely incredible speech by someone who is my friend but also someone who I think is going to lead the country... What you heard there was authentic Cameron, absolutely spelling out on a whole range of areas the change he is going to bring about, the new politics he is going to bring to this country."

ED BALLS, SCHOOLS SECRETARY

"I thought it was a speech which was actually very well delivered. I thought it was a good leader of the Opposition speech. I thought, to be honest, it was quite a long way away from a prime minister's speech, because he was trying to say the Conservative Party has changed, but actually he got the biggest cheers for his attack on the social chapter, got his biggest cheers for his attacks on Europe... I think the most important thing was he had to show that he's making promises, how he can pay for them - and there was nothing on that in the speech at all. I think people will come away from this thinking that, behind the froth, the hamming up, there wasn't very much beef. There weren't very many answers and I think he will still look a pretty risky proposition."

ED MILIBAND, CABINET OFFICE MINISTER

"In his speech today, David Cameron tried to give the appearance that the Conservative Party has changed. The truth is this is the same old Tory Party making billions of pounds of tax and spending commitments they cannot pay for. The challenge for David Cameron today was to provide a credible explanation as to how all these tax and spending promises are to be paid for. But David Cameron has failed to meet that challenge. His sums simply do not add up."

SIAN BERRY, GREEN PARTY

"Cameron's policies on our public services are not a 'choice agenda' - they're a closing down sale. From sponsored 'academy' schools to PFI hospitals, the Tories' only criticism of Labour privatisation is that it isn't happening fast enough ... The Green Party believes that the needs of patients and pupils must come before the desires of corporate donors. Labour and the Conservatives both disagree. We're ready to stand up to them both over their public sector sell-off at the next general election, whenever that is, and we will get urgently-needed Green MPs into Westminster."

JOHN SAUVEN, GREENPEACE UK

"David Cameron failed to give us any real substance on how he would deliver his environmental vision. There was no mention of airports or forests and nothing on energy. The Tories won't be seen as the party of 'sensible green leadership' until we see his rhetoric reflected in radical manifesto pledges during the next election."

BEN PAGE, IPSOS MORI

"The speech was fresh, the delivery was fresh, it's a different style, it's not the standard politician's speech. What I don't think it does is provide this overarching narrative about where we are going as a country and the key issues and exactly why the Conservatives are there. He's touched lots of bases, he's made the right noises for the Conservative faithful, but whether - and we will only see this in the days to come - it is one of those defining moments that everybody can remember, I'm afraid I think not. They should certainly get some recovery but I am not convinced that the mood has changed and Gordon Brown will now be trembling in his boots."

MIKE WEIR, SNP

"David Cameron talked for over an hour, and failed to mention Scotland once, which says it all for how the Tories view our nation. They have written Scotland off, just as Scots wrote the Tories off a decade ago. We may only be week away from a general election, and the Tories have only selected seven candidates in Scotland."

IAIN DALE, CONSERVATIVE BLOGGER

"I leave Blackpool more optimistic about the future than I have been for a long time. Gordon Brown will know the Tory Party is back - and back with a vengeance. Brown has a real dilemma now. If he calls an election he loses, and if he doesn't call an election he loses."

CONSERVATIVEHOME WEBSITE

"The performance was very good. He looked relaxed. The conversational style worked well on television. He certainly achieved balance - talking about more familiar and newer themes. I would have preferred one or two issues to stand out a little more. Crime in particular, but if the speech had one big theme it was David Cameron. He reminded the nation and the party that he's a great communicator. "

WIT AND WISDOM, LIB DEM BLOG

"Dave spoke well. His speechwriters set out the plan and he worked to it, occasionally getting a bit too wordy but fundamentally he did well. He was clearly well received by the party faithful...However, what he said should be the key and everything he said ticked all the usual Tory boxes. It doesn't matter how much he jokes about the internet or mentions their very laudable aims to get more female candidates, the basics remain the right wing policies which the Tories have espoused for years. To use a Cameronesque construction, the blunt, simple fact is that they haven't changed. Not one jot."

LABOUR MP AND BLOGGER TOM WATSON

"I wonder if the spin doctors of Tory Central Office had ever seen the film "The Harder they Come". When Mr and Mrs Cameron left the hall to the soundtrack of the movie - "You can get it if you really want" by Jimmy Cliff, did the blue rinses of the Conservatives know that they were celebrating a story about a gun toting, cop killing, ghetto gangster of rude boy early-seventies Jamaican acclaim? Is this the hidden message of David Cameron? They (would) have been better playing "Sitting in Limbo" or even "Draw your brakes" by Scotty from the same soundtrack."

LABOURHOME WEBSITE

"Just watched Cameron's speech to the Tory conference and as the BBC's Andrew Neil and Nick Robinson pointed out, it was more like watching a fringe meeting conversation than an inspirational, rousing pre-election speech. I can honestly say I think that's the poorest speech I've seen him give. Where was the passion he uses in Prime Minister's Question Time? It simply wasn't there."

POLITICAL BLOGGER GUIDO FAWKES

"Will the speech make any electoral difference? Probably not, but he made the case for his party well. Gordon has talked up the election which the Tories, whatever they say, would rather not fight from this position in the polls. Cameron has basically said bring it on, he's ready for a fight, if Brown chickens out now he'll look bad."



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