Moderniser makes his pitch

AS former Tory Treasurer Lord Ashcroft this week published findings of a damning survey on the state of his party, one of the young modernisers made his pitch for soon to be vacant leadership.

AS former Tory Treasurer Lord Ashcroft this week published findings of a damning survey on the state of his party, one of the young modernisers made his pitch for soon to be vacant leadership.

David Cameron set out his stall in a speech to the Policy Exchange think tank, urging the Tories to pursue the goals of "a dynamic economy, a decent society and a strong self-confident nation."

"These goals are forward-looking, inclusive, and generous. So we should never allow our opponents to caricature us as the opposite of these things."

Alongside journalists listening to the speech were a clutch of the new intake of Tory MPs – including Brooks Newmark (Braintree), Michael Gove (Surrey Heath) and John Penrose (Weston-super-Mare) – who are likely to the hold the key to who replaces Michael Howard in the autumn.

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Mr Cameron told his audience: "We do think there's such a thing as society, we just don't think it's the same thing as the state.'

He claimed the "modernising"' tag in the leadership contest saying: "I am a Conservative. I'm also a moderniser. I don't see any contradiction between these two statements."

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Mr Cameron said real modernisation meant sticking to principles, thinking for the long term and evaluating ideas on the basis of how they would work in practice.

Mr Cameron urged Tories to "roll up our sleeves and get stuck in to the nitty gritty"' of public service reform.

"We should where at all possible devolve power to the local level. There are two types of devolution – giving more power and responsibility to lower tiers of government and giving more power and responsibility directly to people.

"I want the Conservative Party to champion both. And policing is a prime candidate for the devolution treatment.

"Directly elected police commissioners would help make the police accountable to local people and their priorities. As part of a wider package of police reform, they would deliver the type of active, beat based policing that people desperately want."

Lord Ashcroft, in his report Smell the coffee: a wake-up call got the Conservative Party based on surveys he commissioned before the election, aid Tory were staring disaster in the face if they failed to reconnect with middle class voters.

Fighting an election by appealing to "the reactionary instincts of people who, in reality, are never going to support the Conservatives in large numbers" could see the party face the real prospect of finishing behind the Lib Dems in the next election.

BURY St Edmunds MP David Ruffley as quit his role as opposition Treasury whip to support the campaign of David Davis in the leadership race.

ONE MP to take a special interest in Mr Cameron's support for elected police chiefs was Douglas Carswell, the new MP for Harwich who has been championing the cause for the

In his maiden speech to the Commons on Tuesday, Mr Carswell said his constituents were deeply worried "about the rise in crime, in violence, in the yob culture and the rise in what one might term uncivil society."

Speaking in the debate on identity cards, the newly elected MP said: "If the House is today debating the merits of a scheme that will make the citizen more accountable to the police and the agencies of the state, one day I hope that it will also debate measures to make the police and the state more accountable to the citizen.

"Over the past generation or so, under Governments of both parties, crime and disorder have risen. ID cards are not the answer to reversing that trend because making people more answerable to the police is not the solution. Perhaps part of the answer lies in making the police more locally accountable to communities such as Harwich and Clacton.

"Having been out on the beat with the local police in my constituency, I have been impressed by their professionalism and dedication, yet all too often they are upwardly accountable to a distant bureaucracy. They are all too often unable to take effective action against crime and the yob culture because they answer to a remote and unaccountable elite.

"Remote elites set the police's priorities, local people take the rap and no one is accountable – that is how our local communities are policed today. In the place of more upward accountability –identity cards – we should have a policy based on the principles of downward accountability; decentralisation and localism; and direct democracy – not identity cards.

"We should let local people elect their police chiefs and let local police chiefs set their police priorities. Why stop at policing? Let us localise control of, and accountability for, a range of public services. We should take power over key public services from central quangos and put it in the hands of local people."

He began his speech by praising the hard work of his two Tory predecessors Sir Julian Ridsdale and Iain Sproat, and Ivan Henderson, the Labour MP he defeated, describing him as "very diligent, good and committed."

Mr Carswell described his constituency as "a corner of England that is fiercely English. Never in my life have I felt as proud and as honoured as I do now, speaking for the people whom I represent in the House."

IPSWICH MP Chris Mole has started to climb the ladder of political power. The former Leader of Suffolk County Council has been appointed the unpaid Parliamentary Private Secretary to Phil Woolas, the Local Government Minister in the Office of Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott.

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