Cameron pledges to 'fight back'

David Cameron says his party is ready to fight a general election
David Cameron says his party is ready to fight a general election

Conservative leader David Cameron hopes to "fight back" against sliding poll numbers as his party's conference gets underway in Blackpool.

Mr Cameron's party has been struggling in the polls since Gordon Brown succeeded Tony Blair as prime minister earlier this year and faces ongoing speculation about the prospect of a snap general election.

After two polls yesterday gave Labour leads of ten and 11 points, this morning's Observer put Labour seven points ahead of the Conservatives on 41 per cent.

All three took place in the immediate aftermath of the Labour conference in Bournemouth, which saw the upbeat Labour faithful appearing vigorous and prepared to fight a swift, intense campaign.

Now Mr Cameron hopes to energise his party in a similar vein during the last major party conference of the season.

"This is going to be the week when the Conservative party fights back," he told reporters on arriving in Blackpool yesterday.

"We're going to be setting out an absolutely clear and compelling alternative to this government. We'll be explaining to people that you'll only get real change if you vote for it with the Conservatives."

Speaking on BBC1's Sunday AM programme this morning, he admitted that several "barmy" proposals would be jettisoned as the party looked to establish concrete policies on which to fight a potential election campaign in a "grown-up" way.

Analysts say that despite Labour's strong polling lead even short election campaigns can contain enough unexpected developments to drive voters away.

The current scandal embroiling culture secretary James Purnell, who was exposed on Friday as appearing in a photograph of a function he did not actually attend, is one such negative event.


Politics @ Lunch

Friday lunchtime. Your Inbox. It's a date.

Newsletter update