Cameron steps into Tory leadership battle

David Cameron emerged as the key challenger to David Davis in the race for the Conservative Party leadership. Mr Cameron, 38, confirmed that a keynote speech on reforming state education was part of his campaign to win the leadership.

"I'm putting forward my ideas. If people like my approach and the policies I'm talking about then I should put myself forward," he said on the BBC Today programme.

Mr Cameron, who is seen by many Tory MPs as the preferred choice of Michael Howard to succeed him as the leader of the Conservative Party, faced an immediate whispering campaign by senior MPs.

"He will come a respectable second to David Davis," said a member of the 1922 Executive. "The view is that he's very articulate, and enthusiastic but too young. He needs to spend another five years in the trenches and will then be a shoo-in."

In a move widely seen as an attempt to stop the Cameron campaign gaining a bandwagon over the coming months, supporters of Iain Duncan Smith were said to have written to Sir Michael Spicer, chairman of the 1922 Committee, calling for a no-confidence vote in Mr Howard.

Their aim is to force Mr Howard to stand down and hold an early contest, which could assist Mr Davis. However, senior MPs said they did not have enough support to succeed. They require 30 names to call a no-confidence vote but they would need 100 Tory MPs to win the vote. "They may be pretty thick, but even they must have worked out that if they get the 30 names, they need 100 people backing it. There is no way that 100 people are going to vote down Michael," said one Tory MP.

In a pitch to the modernising wing of the Tory Party, Mr Cameron focused on the centre ground on education by calling for reforms to state education, rather than repeating the election policy for allowing parents to opt for private schools.

He was given the platform by the modernising Tory think tank, Policy Exchange, led by Francis Maude until he was appointed by Mr Howard as chairman of the Conservative Party to succeed Liam Fox, after the election.

"Politicians need to set out what they believe in, what their goals are, and what their compass will be. If you don't and if you don't stick to them you will get buffeted from one issue to another," said Mr Cameron.

"The principles I want to follow are clear: that a good education is a birthright for all; that discipline is the first requirement for every school; that the basics of reading, writing and numeracy are the vital building blocks for every child."

Mr Cameron, who has a seriously handicapped child, has also won popular support for his campaign to repeal the merging of classes for special needs pupils with other children.

The Education Minister Lord Adonis responded last week by announcing a Government audit of its policy on special schools, but yesterday Mr Cameron attacked it as "limited and opaque".

He said that it would not cover special schools for children with learning difficulties. "The audit should cover all special schools, should listen to parents, should look at the bias in the law and it should be open in its details and remit."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Polish Speaking Buying Assistant

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Superb opportunity for a BUYING...

Recruitment Genius: Support Worker

£14560 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers personalise...

Recruitment Genius: Key Account Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A really exciting opportunity has arisen for a...

Recruitment Genius: Multi Trade Operative

£22000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An established, family owned de...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project