Cameron: I’ll bring the Tory old guard in

By staff

David Cameron has admitted he may have acted “unfairly” in response to the expenses scandal, and promised to bring the Tory old guard into government if the party wins the general election.

Many Conservative backbenchers are disappointed with their leader’s response to the scandal, with the suspicion persisting that Mr Cameron used it to clear out some backbenchers who were not part of his modernisation project.

“I was always brought up on the maxim that not everything is fair,” Mr Cameron told the Telegraph.

“There were inevitably in this process some unfairnesses. But I thought it was right to try and do something to make good and atone for the mistakes of the past.

“It was a good system, but not perfect and inevitably there were some unfairnesses.”

But Mr Cameron promised many Tory grandees on the backbenches, such as Peter Lilley, Stephen Dorrell and James Arbuthnot, could be in line for a government job.

“It’s often said that I wanted to get rid of old MPs. That is not true. People like George Young, James Arbuthnot or Peter Lilley, Stephen Dorrell; people that have done work for me, like John Gummer,” he said.

“These people bring a huge amount to the House of Commons and Conservative party. I listen to their advice. They have every chance of serving in a future Conservative government.”

Mr Cameron adopted a philosophical stance on the issue of expenses.

“There are two views: those who say the expenses are a big issue but it will blow over. Then others who think it has changed British politicians in a fundamental way,” he said.

“I am definitely in the second category. It will make people a lot less trusting or deferential, perhaps more cynical, but politicians have got to win back people’s trust.

“The Conservative party has come through it – certainly not undamaged – but people are able to say ‘they understand why the public was so angry about it’.”