Page last updated at 17:10 GMT, Wednesday, 1 October 2008 18:10 UK
Cameron: I'm the man with a plan

Mr Cameron says the Tories have fresh answers to the financial crisis

David Cameron has described himself as "a man with a plan" to fix Britain's "broken society" and get the country out of the financial mess it is in.

But in a keynote speech to his party conference, the Tory leader warned there would be "no miracle cures".

He vowed to end Labour's "spendaholic" policies and said he had the "grit" to make unpopular decisions.

He also tackled Labour's claim he was a "novice", saying he had the character and judgement to lead.


The Conservatives would inherit "a huge deficit and an economy in a mess" and would need to do "difficult and unpopular things for the long term good of the country... I'm ready for that", he said.

Mr Cameron is understood to have toned down a planned attack on Gordon Brown to avoid accusations of playing politics at a time of financial crisis.

But he directly took on the prime minister's claim that the current crisis it is "no time for a novice", saying Britain needed "a change in direction".

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"To do difficult things for the long term, or even to get us through the financial crisis in the short term - it's not experience we need; it's character and judgement.

"To rebuild our economy, it's not more of the same we need, but change. To repair our broken society, it's not more of the same we need, but change.

"Experience is the argument of the incumbent over the ages. Experience is what they always say when they try to stop change."

But although Britain was going through "difficult times", Mr Cameron said he was "optimistic" the country would come through to "better times ahead".

He told party members: "We are a united party, united in spirit and united in purpose.

"And we know that our task is to take people with us, rebuilding our battered economy, renewing our bureaucratised NHS, repairing our broken society.

"That is our plan for change. In these difficult times we promise no new dawns, no incredible transformations. I'm a man with a plan, not a miracle cure."

'Grit and determination'

He also pledged a crackdown on quangos and government waste.

He said: "The test of whether we're ready for government is not whether we can come up with exciting shadow budgets.

"It is whether we have the grit and determination to impose discipline on government spending, keep our nerve and say 'no' - even in the teeth of hostility and protest.

"That is the responsible party we are and that is the responsible government I will lead."

All we got was warm words and easy populism
Yvette Cooper, Labour

The Conservatives have previously said they would stick to Labour's spending plans in the early years of an incoming Tory government.

But Mr Cameron's words will be seen as a sign that they have been forced to think again in the light of this week's global financial meltdown.

He attempted to set out core values of family, social responsibility and public service.

Mr Cameron described himself as a "41-year-old father of three who thinks that family is the most important thing there is", and he referred several times to his wife Samantha and their children.

He exceeded my expectations, and I think it is one of the best speeches I've heard
Nick Yeo, Horsham

In a rare joke, he said: "I admire entrepreneurs. I should do - I go to bed with one every night ... she's my wife Samantha and I'm incredibly proud of what she does."

He also claimed the Conservatives were now the party of the NHS and the "party of social justice," summing up his philosophy as "progressive ends, Conservative means".

For Labour, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Yvette Cooper said: "Cameron says he is a man with a plan. But all we got was warm words and easy populism. Where were the credible alternatives?

"In the last few weeks the world has changed. For all his talk of change David Cameron shows no sign of keeping up with events, and still offers nothing to meet the serious economic and financial challenges we face."

Yorkshire Post Bernard Ingham: We need David Cameron to prove he's not just another powder puff politician DAVID Cameron should have Yorkshire in mind when he rises to close the Tory Party conference today. The stark fact is that only nine of Yorkshire's 56 MP - 29 hrs ago
Leigh Journal Cameron set to rebut Labour claim - 30 hrs ago
Channel 4 News Cameron bids to prove leadership quality - 30 hrs ago
SignOn San Diego Britain's Conservatives see huge lead in polls - 30 hrs ago

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