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Page last updated at 06:21 GMT, Wednesday, 30 July 2008 07:21 UK
Cameron : Kids should drink at home

Conservative leader David Cameron faces Radio 1 listeners in Newquay

Parents should introduce their children to alcohol at home to avoid it causing trouble when they're older, according to Conservative leader David Cameron.

He made the comments to a group of Radio 1 and 1Xtra listeners while on holiday in Newquay, Cornwall.

The Tory leader said his friends with the problems were the ones who weren't allowed to drink anything at home.

He said his mates who were allowed drinks at meal time were now the most responsible.

Mr Cameron said children should be introduced to the idea "that drinking is something you can do socially, and something you can do with a meal, and something that is part of life".

He said: "Some of the friends I had, the ones who had the biggest problems, were the ones who actually were never allowed to drink anything at home.

"The ones who drink responsibly were the ones who were given a glass of wine or a small glass of beer or a shandy or something. That's the right way to do it in the home."

Mr Cameron was responding to a question from 14-year-old Laura Barritt from Bangor, north Wales.

I've still got a lot of work to do to convince people that I'm the right person
David Cameron
She claimed underage drinking was widespread and asked whether the Conservatives would think about creating public areas for teenagers to drink in.

He replied: "When you're a teenager and you go to parties normally there are adults there, so that is fine.

"I think the idea of saying that we need to create some kind of public space where that happens, I think that's quite different."

Asked what age he had first got drunk, Mr Cameron said: "I can't remember but yes, when I was a teenager, I did do some things I shouldn't have done - we all do."

In an interview for Newsbeat and BBC Two's Newsnight, the Tory leader also defended his choice of wearing floral shorts while playing Frisbee on the beach in Cornwall.

He said: "I think my wife bought them, I think they're quite nice.

"They're Boden, that catalogue company. She said you need some shorts and she takes the major decisions, of course.

"They're all right aren't they? What, a bit flowery? I've had them for years."

David Cameron
David Cameron and wife Samantha are on a week's break
Mr Cameron said he was on the beach when he noticed the photographer taking a picture of him wearing them.

"I realised something was up - but luckily I caught the Frisbee so it wasn't too bad," he said.

Asked by another listener whether he was smug about Gordon Brown's recent battering in the polls, Mr Cameron said: "I hope I'm not smug because I've said I don't want us to win just because Labour are failing, I want us to win because we deserve to.

"And I don't think we would deserve to win unless we can convince people... that we've got better ideas."

He added: "I think Gordon Brown has probably helped me by making bad decisions and that's good for me but I want people to think when they go to the polls, 'Right, David Cameron, I know what he thinks about schools, about welfare, about the NHS...'

"I've still got a lot of work to do to convince people that I'm the right person."

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