Cameron signals U-turn on Tories' sacred cows

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Indy Politics

David Cameron is preparing to ditch the Conservatives' hard-line policies on immigration and reduce the party's links to big business.

The new Tory leader's wooing of liberal Britain picked up pace last night as he used a newspaper interview to signal a change to asylum policy.

The current policy of a fixed quota looks certain to be junked after Mr Cameron said victims of persecution and torture should be "taken to our hearts".

In an echo of Tony Blair's early decision to cut union ties, the new Tory leader also distances himself from the City.

"The Conservative Party has been seen too much as just standing for what big businesses want. I didn't go into politics to be the mouthpiece for big business," he tells The Observer.

But there are limits to how far the new Tory leader is prepared to go to win over Liberal Democrat and Labour voters: he admits to have been foxhunting "about 10 times" and would reverse the ban.

Mr Cameron is also opposed to the introduction of a total ban on smoking in public places - he has admitted taking up the habit again recently.

He declined to be drawn on what the Tory position will be on the debate over whether cannabis should be reclassified, saying the position will be decided by the shadow Cabinet.