Cameron must show grittier leadership, activists warn

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David Cameron needs to show "grittier leadership" this year and order his top team to work harder, Conservative activists have warned.

Although they delivered an overall vote of confidence in Mr Cameron, the party's grassroots members registered a series of concerns over his performance in a survey.

Their worries echo disquiet among Tory MPs over Labour's revival in the opinion polls as the economic crisis deepens. Some fear that Mr Cameron and the shadow Chancellor, George Osborne, are yet to outline a credible alternative programme for combating recession.

The poll, by the website conservativehome.com, found that 71 per cent of activists believed Mr Cameron was "often too cautious" and wanted him to "show grittier leadership on the big challenges facing Britain". Only 23 per cent disagreed. Less than half – 43 per cent – said he had not yet "enthused" them, although they said they wanted him to win the next election.

The party's grassroots registered concern over shadow ministers holding lucrative second jobs outside Westminster. Mr Cameron has backed off from plans to force them to give their undivided attention to politics. Almost three-quarters of activists – 73 per cent – believed that their leader should "order his Shadow Cabinet to work harder", with just 15 per cent taking the opposite view.

Although 91 per cent were confident he would win the next election, a surprisingly low 67 per cent viewed him as the party's best leader since 1997. A total of 23 per cent preferred the leadership of William Hague, Iain Duncan Smith or Michael Howard.

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