By two to one, Tories pick man with compassion on his mind

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The Independent Online


will symbolise his new approach by devoting his first speech as Tory leader this afternoon to "social justice". Speaking in east London, he will pledge to heal Britain's "broken society". His second speech, later this week, will be on the environment.

In a ballot of the Conservatives' 250,000 members, Mr Cameron won a majority of more than two to one, winning 134,446 votes to 64,398 for Mr Davis, who will retain his senior post as shadow Home Secretary when the new leader names his Shadow Cabinet over the next two days.

Mr Cameron's honeymoon with his party may be brief. He has already provoked his first internal row, as senior pro-Europeans attacked his decision to pull the 27-strong Tory group of MEPs out of the main centre-right grouping in the European Parliament, the European People's Party (EPP). He regards the grouping as too federalist.

Kenneth Clarke was against the move, and the Tory MEPs Tim Kirkhope and Sir Robert Atkins, who both opposed it, were re-elected yesterday as chairman and deputy chairman by fellow Tory MEPs.

Sir Robert, who backed Mr Cameron for the leadership, hoped he would think again. He said that Conservative MEPs had been elected on a manifesto which included membership of the EPP. "We will express our view and hope that the matter will be resolved sensibly," Sir Robert said.

Critics accused Mr Cameron of committing himself to pulling out of the EPP in return for the backing of the Eurosceptic Cornerstone Group at Westminster which is close to Iain Duncan Smith. Mr Davis rejected their demands during the campaign.

Mr Cameron said: "I believe in consistent politics. I think you must say the same thing in Brussels, London and Strasbourg. I believe in an EU in which we take back those key powers over social and employment legislation that are doing so much damage to business. My Conservative Party will have the same message wherever it is."

In his victory speech, the new Tory leader declared: "I want us to give this country a modern compassionate Conservatism that is right for our times and right for our country."

Rejecting the approaches of Margaret Thatcher and New Labour, he said: "There is such a thing as society. It is just not the same thing as the state."

Mr Davis, once the hot favourite, accepted his defeat gracefully, hailing Mr Cameron as "the next Conservative Prime Minister". He added: "The most important thing about this contest has been that it has shown our party as democratic, intelligent, civilised, thoughtful, mature. A party of principles, a party of ideas. In short a party fit for government."

Mr Cameron's election has boosted the Tories' prospects at the next election, according to a YouGov poll for Sky News. It suggested the Tories would win 38 per cent under Mr Cameron against 33 per cent for a Labour Party led by Gordon Brown, leaving both parties short of an overall majority.

Fraser Kemp, Labour's former general election co-ordinator, said: "David Cameron is a Conservative and stands for Conservative values. The Tories are putting a new gloss on the same old policy of cuts."

Simon Hughes, president of the Liberal Democrats, said: "The Conservatives' problem is not their salesman - it's their product. Mr Cameron has yet to set out many detailed policy initiatives but we do know he wrote the Conservative manifesto for the 2005 general election."




* TORIES: "We must transform our party. It must look, feel, think and behave like a completely new organisation."

* PUBLIC SERVICES: "Our aim is to improve public services for everyone, not provide an escape route for the privileged few."

* POLICE: "We have to empower the police. The public wants visible, beat-based policing where police officers actively intervene to confront and prevent crime and disorder."

* SCHOOLS: "We have to reassert discipline in our schools. This will require not only more freedom for headteachers, but more responsibility from parents to back up what teachers do."

* ENVIRONMENT: "We need to take the politics out of the issue of climate change and ensure that future governments cannot take the easy option of short-term electoral gain at the expense of the long-term interests of the planet and the country."

* Matthew Parris, The Times, 16 July:

"Cameron ... is completely without swagger yet never without command. He has the courtesy of a leader. He treads softly. He does not rush to judgement yet leaves you in no doubt he exercises judgement.''

Simon Heffer, The Daily Telegraph, 2 November:

"If the Cameron camp believes that just being like Mr Blair ... will guarantee them victory, it is severely mistaken. First, it underestimates the sheer brilliance of Mr Blair ... And it forgets Mr Blair's way of doing business ... won't work now."