Hague takes 'caring' approach to hardline issues

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William Hague will today seek to recapture the political centre ground by promising to fight the next general election on social issues such as health and education.

William Hague will today seek to recapture the political centre ground by promising to fight the next general election on social issues such as health and education.

In his keynote speech at the close of the Tory conference in Bournemouth, Mr Hague will unveil a new brand of "caring Conservatism" and give less emphasis to issues such as asylum-seekers and crime.

Mr Hague rejects criticism that he has been preaching to the Tories' traditional supporters. However, his election strategy will be welcomed by party moderates, who have been urging him to woo the floating voters who will decide the election.

In a tacit admission that the Tories may have focused too closely on wooing their core voters, Mr Hague will tell the conference that hard-working families now want to judge whether the party is ready for government.

The Tory leader will say: "The Conservative Party in government will direct its energies to improving the schools that are the most hopeless, to bringing life to inner-city areas that are the most bleak, to helping pensioners who are the least well off, to tackling drug problems which scar the least fortunate, to addressing family breakdown in the most dislocated communities and to improvinghealth care for those most dependent on the NHS."

He will add: "We will govern for the mainstream that New Labour has ignored. We will govern for all the people."

Promising to open a "second front" in his battle with Labour, Mr Hague will claim that the Tories have staged their most successful conference in years and have shown they are now a government-in-waiting.

But he will concede that people were seeking to "know what drives us, what motivates us, what we would be like in office, and... what motivates me".

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