Minister's praise David Cameron's 'great speech'

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Indy Politics

Senior Cabinet Ministers today praised David Cameron's speech to the Tory Party conference in Manchester.

Chancellor George Osborne said: "It was a great speech, absolutely what the country needs at the moment.

"It absolutely struck the right note."

Home Secretary Theresa May said: "It was brilliant, really grasping the spirit of Great Britain and full of leadership."

Foreign Secretary William Hague hailed the Prime Minister's "wonderful speech".

Mr Hague said: "It showed what a wonderful leader he is, that he is in control and it showed his determination.

"He spoke with real humanity and passion about young people and adoption."

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said it was a "very strong speech" that showed the Prime Minister "understands that people are experiencing very great pressure in their lives and are asking what comes next".

He told the BBC he believed conference-goers would leave with a feeling of optimism.

"The Prime Minister has given people what they wanted here today and probably in the country beyond," he added.

"He has shown them where we are going. He has lifted their eyes up from the immediate problems, the immediate issues, that we do have to tackle and he has shown them where we can get to if we succeed in that endeavour."

Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Ken Clarke brushed off a jibe from the Prime Minister following yesterday's cat row.

In his speech, Mr Cameron joked he had ordered Mr Clarke to read Crime And Punishment twice.

But Mr Clarke said today: "He made a couple of reasonable jokes about me.

"I would be rather annoyed if he had forgotten me, but then I'm not easy to forget in Government."

Mr Clarke praised Mr Cameron's address for striking an optimistic tone despite the struggling economy.

The Justice Secretary added: "It was an extremely good speech on the theme of leadership."

Trades Union Congress general secretary Brendan Barber accused Mr Cameron of spouting hot air.

Mr Barber said: "If the Prime Minister really felt the nation's pain, he would change course.

"Our economic difficulties have gone well past the point where can-do optimism can make a difference.

"We need policies for jobs and growth and help for families suffering the biggest fall in living standards in a generation."

But Federation of Small Businesses chairman John Walker welcomed the Prime Minister's "vision of a deregulated economy connected by high-speed broadband where real-life entrepreneurs are free to thrive".

But he added: "We need to see clear action to match the rhetoric."

British Chambers of Commerce director general John Longworth said: "Businesses need continuous reassurance that there is a plan for fiscal stability and a clear road map which will steer us towards the sunlit uplands and beyond.

"Business will welcome the Prime Minister's commitment to cutting red tape, and to get credit flowing to small companies.

"For too long, these obstacles have hampered companies' ability to focus on wealth creation and jobs, acting as a distraction and a drag anchor."

Source: PA