David Cameron tries to shed 'posh boy' image with promise of opportunity

 

David Cameron will today try to tackle his “posh boy” image by promising to transform the life chances of young people who did not enjoy his privileged background.

In a speech to Conservative  activists in London, the Prime Minister will say: “ I know the leg-ups I got in life. A loving family, wonderful parents, a great school and university.”  He will promise to build “an aspiration nation” and “a country where it’s not who you know or where you’re from, but who you are and where you’re determined to go.” He will add: “My dream for Britain is that opportunity is not an accident of birth, but a birth-right.”

Mr Cameron’s background is seen as a potential weakness by some Tory MPs at a time when the Government is making painful spending cuts. Nadine Dorries, who lost the Tory whip last year, has described Mr Cameron and George Osborne as “two posh boys.”  Sarah Wollaston, a Tory backbencher, has urged the Prime Minister to broaden an  inner circle that looks “ far too posh, male and white”.

A week ago, Theresa May, the Home Secretary, said in a wide-ranging speech seen as her putting down a marker for a future Tory leadership contest: “We have to become the party that takes power from the elites and gives it to the people, the party not just of those who have already made it, but the home of those who want to work hard and get on in life.”

Mr Cameron made “aspiration” the big theme of his speech to the Tories’ annual conference last October, but some of his MPs complain that there has been little follow-through since.

Today Mr Cameron will tell the party’s spring forum: “The global race is not just about GDP. It’s about saying to the mum who’s worried about her children’s future, we are building a country where there is a future, so your kids won’t have to get on a plane to get on in life, they can make it right here in Britain. It’s what this party’s always been about – aspiration. Helping those who really do want to work hard; and get on; and make a better life for their family.”

In what may be seen as a return to the “compassionate Conservatism” he advocated before the 2010 election, he will say: “We believe self-reliance is a good thing, but that doesn’t mean ‘you’re on your own.’ You can’t just say to the teenager who no one has ever believed in: ‘pull yourself up by the boot-straps’.”

Mr Cameron will admit: “There are far too many people in their teens and twenties who are right at the start of life – but they feel it’s the end of the line. No one’s believed in them. No one’s given them a chance. That’s what we are determined to change.”

Highlighting “aspiration” as  “a big difference” between the Tories and Labour, he will insist it is not about “patronising people, patting them on the head and putting a benefit cheque in their hands,” but “giving them the tools -- the stability at home, the rigour at school, the opportunity at work—[to] finish the job and write their own success story.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Nick Clegg on the campaign trail in Glasgow on Wednesday; he says education is his top priority
peopleNick Clegg remains optimistic despite dismal Lib Dem poll ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Déjà vu: David Tennant returns to familiar territory with Anna Gunn (‘Breaking Bad’)
tvReview: Something is missing in Gracepoint, and it's not just the familiar names
Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
News
people
News
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
people
Sport
Ross Barkley
footballPaul Scholes says it's time for the Everton playmaker to step up and seize the England No 10 shirt
News
'We will fix it': mice in the 1970s children’s programme Bagpuss
science
Life and Style
2 Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
fashion
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

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: Bookkeeper

£23000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing boutique prac...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Retail Buyer / Ecommerce Buyer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working closely with the market...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - CAD Software Solutions Sales

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A reputable company, famed for ...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?