David Cameron aimed to show he was ready to take charge of Britain. After a conference week some suggested was gloomy - a tone set by shadow chancellor George Osborne's speech about spending cuts - the Conservative leader used his speech to stress "how good things could be", once the necessary "painful" changes were made. He got standing ovations for his words on Afghanistan and on tackling poverty but it was the personal remarks he made about his own family that may be best remembered. Mr Cameron said he thought the big questions were,
Why me? Why us?
- but did the public like the answers? We'll have to wait and see.
THE BIG STORIES
Bad cop - Shadow chancellor George Osborne delivered his verdict on how to tackle the UK's huge fiscal deficit - including a pay-freeze for the majority of public sector workers and a rise in the state pension age. "We're in this together," he said repeatedly, but Labour and the unions were unimpressed.
Osborne gambles with cuts plan
Army recruitment - News broke on Wednesday that former head of the Army Gen Sir Richard Dannatt would become a defence adviser to the Conservatives. The general, who has called for more equipment for troops in Afghanistan, will be given a seat in the House of Lords.
Ex-Army chief 'offered Tory role'
The EU issue - As the conference started days after Ireland voted, in a second referendum on the subject, in favour of the EU Treaty, the Tories inevitably faced questions about exactly what they plan to do if it is law by the time they come to power. The agreed line is that they "would not let matters rest", but would they hold a referendum? Mr Cameron was keeping tight lipped.
No rift over EU Treaty - Cameron
Back to work - The Tories announced a shake-up in the welfare system designed to get 500,000 people off incapacity benefit. They also pledged to scrap Labour's New Deal back-to-work programme in favour of more personalised support for the unemployed.
Tories 'to get Britain working'
JOHNSON V PAXMAN
Johnson and Paxman go head to head
Fizzled out - A supposed ban on drinking champagne at the conference made for a new newspaper sport - bubbly watch. Alan Duncan and David Cameron were both caught quaffing, and the Daily Mirror tried and failed to snap George Osborne glass-in-hand. By the end of the week, a party member had been arrested over claims he stole a £150 bottle - he was eventually released without charge.
Grayling's gaffe - Shadow home secretary Chris Grayling was not up to speed on the appointment of Gen Sir Richard Dannatt by the Tories - in fact, he thought it sounded like a Labour "political gimmick". He later brushed off the mistake and said he was delighted the general would be joining the Tory team.
Grayling laughs off Dannatt gaffe
Film fan - George Osborne settled on "we're all in this together" as the buzz phrase for his big speech on spending cuts and dealing with the deficit. But haven't we heard that somewhere before? Several commentators noted it was the theme song for the popular High School Musical films - had he reached into his children's DVD collection for inspiration? Not a bit of it, he said - his six-year-old was a bit too young for it: "We have not yet gone through the decade of High School Musical. I just thought it summed up the challenge."
All smiles on the way back to London after the conference
Classic Boris - The Tory favourite and perennial loose cannon opened his speech to the conference by saying how pleased he was to be in Manchester "one of the few great British cities I have yet to insult". In a reference to his recent appearance on Eastenders, the classics scholar added that a Conservative government would have to sort out "the usual disastrous legacy, the damnosa hereditas, as we say in Walford".
No hero - After Sarah Brown introduced her husband at the Labour conference as "my hero" - all eyes were on Samantha Cameron this week. Labour hopes the couple's wealthy background will play against them but her choice of clothes - £29 shoes and a £65 dress - drew approval in these recession-hit times. Mr Cameron said she had been helping him trim the "boring" bits from his speech, but admitted "hell would probably freeze over" before she would call him her hero.
M&S dress for Samantha Cameron
DAVID CAMERON'S SPEECH
David Cameron: "This big government has reached the end of the road"
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