Howard declares key Tory principles

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Indy Politics

Michael Howard, the Tory leader, broke with the past yesterday when he launched what was billed as the party's first positive advertising campaign for 12 years.

He published a set of 15 Conservative beliefs that will form the basis of policy initiatives to be developed in the run-up to the election expected next year.

A party spokesman said that the last time the Tories produced a similar list of principles was before their 1992 general election victory. During John Major's final five years in power, and under the leadership of William Hague and Iain Duncan Smith, the Tories concentrated heavily on trying to wound Labour.

The new strategy was devised by Lord Saatchi, Margaret Thatcher's advertising guru, who was appointed co-chairman of the party by Mr Howard in November.

Notorious recent Tory campaigns have included the 1997 "demon eyes" advertisement depicting Tony Blair with devil's eyes, and posters four years ago showing the Prime Minister next to the word "Bliar".

The advertising drive, which will be launched today, will coincide with an e-mail marketing campaign to sell Mr Howard's message. The e-mail will be sent to 100,000 Tory members who will then be asked to forward it to 10 family members, friends or business contacts.

His beliefs include ensuring people are not "nannied" by the state, enabling all children to be better educated than their parents and guaranteeing security in old age.

A Tory spokesman said: "We are trying to use more positive campaigning, which is more about what we stand for. That's what the electorate are crying out for. All the parties would do themselves some favours if they spent less time on opposition and more on what they stand for."