David William Donald Cameron (born 9 October 1966) is the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service and Leader of the Conservative Party. He represents Witney as its Member of Parliament (MP).
Cameron gaining a first class degree in Philosophy, Politics & Economics (PPE) at Oxford. He then joined the Conservative Research Department and became Special Adviser to Norman Lamont and then to Michael Howard. He was Director of Corporate Affairs at Carlton Communications for seven years.
He was defeated in his first candidacy for Parliament at Stafford in 1997, but was elected in 2001 as the Member of Parliament for the Oxfordshire constituency of Witney. He was promoted to the Opposition front bench two years later, and rose rapidly to become head of policy co-ordination during the 2005 general election campaign. With a public image of a youthful, moderate candidate who would appeal to young voters, he won the Conservative leadership election in 2005.
In the 2010 general election held on 6 May, the Conservatives won 307 seats in a hung parliament. After five days of negotiation, Cameron formed a coalition with the Liberal Democrats. Cameron leads the first coalition government of the United Kingdom since the Second World War. The 43-year-old Cameron became the youngest British Prime Minister since the Earl of Liverpool 198 years earlier.
- 1 Conservative Research Department
- 2 Standing for Parliament
- 3 Member of Parliament
- 4 Party leadership
- 5 Prime Minister
- 6 Political commentary
- 7 Cameron's 'personal hero'
- 8 External links
- 9 References
Conservative Research Department
After graduation, Cameron worked for the Conservative Research Department between September 1988 and 1993. A feature on Cameron in The Mail on Sunday on 18 March 2007 reported that on the day he was due to attend a job interview at Conservative Central Office, a phone call was received from Buckingham Palace. The male caller stated, "I understand you are to see David Cameron. I've tried everything I can to dissuade him from wasting his time on politics but I have failed. I am ringing to tell you that you are about to meet a truly remarkable young man."
In 1991, Cameron was seconded to Downing Street to work on briefing John Major for his then bi-weekly session of Prime Minister's Questions. One newspaper gave Cameron the credit for "sharper ... despatch box performances" by Major, which included highlighting for Major "a dreadful piece of doublespeak" by Tony Blair (then the Labour Employment spokesman) over the effect of a national minimum wage. He became head of the political section of the Conservative Research Department, and in August 1991 was tipped to follow Judith Chaplin as Political Secretary to the Prime Minister. However, Cameron lost to Jonathan Hill, who was appointed in March 1992. He was given the responsibility for briefing Major for his press conferences during the 1992 general election. During the campaign, Cameron was one of the young "brat pack" of party strategists who worked between 12 and 20 hours a day, sleeping in the house of Alan Duncan in Gayfere Street, Westminster, which had been Major's campaign headquarters during his bid for the Conservative leadership. Cameron headed the economic section; it was while working on this campaign that Cameron first worked closely with Steve Hilton, who was later to become Director of Strategy during his party leadership. The strain of getting up at 4:45 am every day was reported to have led Cameron to decide to leave politics in favour of journalism.
Standing for Parliament
Having been approved for the Candidates' list, David Cameron began looking for a seat. He was reported to have missed out on selection for Ashford in December 1994 after failing to get to the selection meeting as a result of train delays. In early 1996, he was selected for Stafford, a new constituency created by boundary changes, which was projected to have a Conservative majority. At the 1996 Conservative Party Conference he called for tax cuts in the forthcoming Budget to be targeted at the low-paid and to "small businesses where people took money out of their own pockets to put into companies to keep them going". He also said the Party "should be proud of the Tory tax record but that people needed reminding of its achievements ... It's time to return to our tax-cutting agenda. The socialist Prime Ministers of Europe have endorsed Tony Blair because they want a federal pussy cat and not a British lion." When writing his election address, Cameron made his own opposition to British membership of the single European currency clear, pledging not to support it. This was a break with official Conservative policy but about 200 other candidates were making similar declarations. Otherwise, Cameron kept closely to the national party line. He also campaigned using the claim that a Labour Government would increase the cost of a pint of beer by 24p; however, the Labour candidate, David Kidney, portrayed Cameron as "a right-wing Tory". Stafford had a swing almost the same as the national swing, which made it one of the many seats to fall to Labour: David Kidney had a majority of 4,314. In the round of selection contests taking place in the run-up to the 2001 general election, Cameron again attempted to be selected for a winnable seat. He tried out for the Kensington and Chelsea seat after the death of Alan Clark, but did not make the shortlist. He was in the final two but narrowly lost at Wealden in March 2000, a loss ascribed by Samantha Cameron to his lack of spontaneity when speaking. On 4 April 2000 Cameron was selected as prospective candidate (PPC) for Witney in Oxfordshire. This had been a safe Conservative seat but its sitting MP Shaun Woodward (who had worked with Cameron on the 1992 election campaign) had "crossed the floor" to join the Labour Party; newspapers claimed Cameron and Woodward had "loathed each other", although Cameron's biographers Francis Elliott and James Hanning describe them as being "on fairly friendly terms". Cameron, advised in his strategy by friend Catherine Fall, put a great deal of effort into "nursing" his potential constituency, turning up at social functions, and attacking Woodward for changing his mind on fox hunting to support a ban. During the election campaign, Cameron accepted the offer of writing a regular column for The Guardian's online section. He won the seat with a 1.9% swing to the Conservatives and a majority of 7,973.
Member of Parliament
Upon his election to Parliament, he served as a member of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, a prominent appointment for a newly elected MP. Cameron proposed that the Committee launch an inquiry into the law on drugs, and urged the consideration of "radical options". The report recommended a downgrading of Ecstasy from Class A to Class B, as well as moves towards a policy of 'harm reduction', which Cameron defended. Cameron determinedly attempted to increase his public visibility, offering quotations on matters of public controversy. He opposed the payment of compensation to Gurbux Singh, who had resigned as head of the Commission for Racial Equality after a confrontation with the police; and commented that the Home Affairs Select Committee had taken a long time to discuss whether the phrase "black market" should be used. However, he was passed over for a front-bench promotion in July 2002; Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith did invite Cameron and his ally George Osborne to coach him on Prime Minister's Questions in November 2002. The next week, Cameron deliberately abstained in a vote on allowing same-sex and unmarried couples to adopt children jointly, against a whip to oppose; his abstention was noted. The wide scale of abstentions and rebellious votes destabilised the Duncan Smith leadership. In June 2003, Cameron was appointed a shadow minister in the Privy Council Office as a deputy to Eric Forth, then Shadow Leader of the House. He also became a vice-chairman of the Conservative Party when Michael Howard took over the leadership in November of that year. He was appointed Opposition frontbench local government spokesman in 2004, before being promoted to the shadow cabinet that June as head of policy co-ordination. Later, he became Shadow Education Secretary in the post-election reshuffle. From February 2002 to August 2005 he was a non-executive director of Urbium PLC, operator of the Tiger Tiger bar chain.
Following the Labour victory in the May 2005 general election, Michael Howard announced his resignation as leader of the Conservative Party and set a lengthy timetable for the leadership election. Cameron announced on 29 September 2005 that he would be a candidate. Parliamentary colleagues supporting him included Boris Johnson, Shadow Chancellor George Osborne, Shadow Defence Secretary and deputy leader of the party Michael Ancram, Oliver Letwin and former party leader William Hague. His campaign did not gain wide support until his speech, delivered without notes, at the 2005 Conservative Party Conference. In the speech he vowed to make people "feel good about being Conservatives again" and said he wanted "to switch on a whole new generation." In the first ballot of Conservative MPs on 18 October 2005, Cameron came second, with 56 votes, slightly more than expected; David Davis had fewer than predicted at 62 votes; Liam Fox came third with 42 votes; and Kenneth Clarke was eliminated with 38 votes. In the second ballot on 20 October 2005, Cameron came first with 90 votes; David Davis was second, with 57; and Liam Fox was eliminated with 51 votes. All 198 Conservative MPs voted in both ballots. The next stage of the election process, between Davis and Cameron, was a vote open to the entire party membership. Cameron was elected with more than twice as many votes as Davis and more than half of all ballots issued; Cameron won 134,446 votes on a 78% turnout, to Davis's 64,398. Although Davis had initially been the favourite, it was widely acknowledged that his candidacy was marred by a disappointing conference speech. Cameron had made a well-received speech without notes (which The Daily Telegraph said "showed a sureness and a confidence that is greatly to his credit"). Cameron's election as the Leader of the Conservative Party and Leader of the Opposition was announced on 6 December 2005. As is customary for an Opposition leader not already a member, upon election Cameron became a member of the Privy Council, being formally approved to join on 14 December 2005, and sworn of the Council on 8 March 2006. Cameron's appearance on the cover of Time in September 2008 was said by the Daily Mail to present him to the world as 'Prime Minister in waiting'.
The Conservatives had last won a general election in 1992. The general election of 2010 resulted in the Conservatives, led by Cameron, winning the largest number of seats (306). This was, however, 20 seats short of an overall majority and resulted in the nation's first hung parliament since February 1974. Talks between Cameron and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg led to an agreed Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition. On 11 May 2010, following the resignation of Gordon Brown as Prime Minister and on his recommendation, Queen Elizabeth II invited Cameron to form a government. At age 43, Cameron became the youngest British Prime Minister since Lord Liverpool, who was appointed in 1812. In his first address outside 10 Downing Street, he announced his intention to form a coalition government, the first since the Second World War, with the Liberal Democrats. Cameron outlined how he intended to "put aside party differences and work hard for the common good and for the national interest." As one of his first moves Cameron appointed Nick Clegg, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, as Deputy Prime Minister on 11 May 2010. Between them, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats control 363 seats in the House of Commons, with a majority of 76 seats. On 2 June 2010, when Cameron took his first session of Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs) as Prime Minister, he began by offering his support and condolences to those affected by the shootings in Cumbria.
On 5 February 2011, Cameron criticised the failure of 'state multiculturalism', in his first speech as PM on radicalisation and the causes of terrorism.
While Leader of the Conservative Party, Cameron has been accused of reliance on "old-boy networks" and attacked by his party for the imposition of selective shortlists of prospective parliamentary candidates. The Guardian has accused Cameron of relying on "the most prestigious of old-boy networks in his attempt to return the Tories to power", pointing out that three members of his shadow cabinet and 15 members of his front bench team were "Old Etonians". Similarly, The Sunday Times has commented that "David Cameron has more Etonians around him than any leader since Macmillan" and asked whether he can "represent Britain from such a narrow base." Former Labour cabinet minister Hazel Blears has said of Cameron, "You have to wonder about a man who surrounds himself with so many people who went to the same school. I'm pretty sure I don't want 21st-century Britain run by people who went to just one school." Some supporters of the party have accused Cameron's government of cronyism on the front benches. Sir Tom Cowie, working-class founder of Arriva and former Conservative donor, ceased his donations in August 2007 due to disillusionment with Cameron's leadership, saying, "the Tory party seems to be run now by Old Etonians and they don't seem to understand how other people live." In reply, Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague said when a party was changing, "there will always be people who are uncomfortable with that process".
Cameron speaking in 2010
In a response to Cameron at Prime Minister's Questions in December 2009, Gordon Brown addressed the Conservative Party's inheritance tax policy, saying it "seems to have been dreamed up on the playing fields of Eton". This led to open discussion of "class war" by the mainstream media and leading politicians of both major parties, with speculation that the 2010 general election campaign would see the Labour Party highlight the backgrounds of senior Conservative politicians.
Raising teaching standards
At the launch of the Conservative Party's education manifesto in January 2010, Cameron declared an admiration for the "brazenly elitist" approach to education of countries such as Singapore and South Korea and expressed a desire to "elevate the status of teaching in our country". He suggested the adoption of more stringent criteria for entry to teaching and offered repayment of the loans of maths and science graduates obtaining first or 2.1 degrees from "good" universities. Wes Streeting, president of the National Union of Students, said "The message that the Conservatives are sending to the majority of students is that if you didn't go to a university attended by members of the Shadow Cabinet, they don't believe you're worth as much." In response to the manifesto as a whole, Chris Keates, head of teaching union NASUWT, said teachers would be left "shocked, dismayed and demoralised" and warned of the potential for strikes as a result.
PM's Lockerbie secret
Prime Minister David Cameron has a secret about Lockerbie. It’s a secret that explains why the PM was desperate to have Colonel Gaddafi blamed personally for the sabotage of Pan Am Flight 103 on 21 December 1988, and to have Gaddafi executed without a trial.
The past and future British Prime Ministers made a point of visiting the Rössing Uranium Mine in Namibia (illegally occupied by apartheid South Africa in defiance of UN Security Council Resolution 435). In 1989, the Rössing mine was jointly owned by Rio Tinto Group and the Iranian Government, and was supplying uranium to develop Iran’s nuclear programme. Mrs Thatcher was so impressed with the Rössing Uranium Mine that she declared it made her "proud to be British", a sentiment echoed by Mr Cameron.
It has recently been reported that Margaret Thatcher and David Cameron concluded a secret nuclear deal with the apartheid regime during their visit in 1989.
On 21 December 1988, Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and UN Commissioner for Namibia, Bernt Carlsson, was the most prominent of the 270 victims of the Lockerbie bombing. In the months leading up to his death, Carlsson had warned that he would start proceedings against the countries and firms which had been defying UN law over many years by stealing billions of pounds-worth of Namibia's natural resources. Among those facing huge UN compensation claims were Rio Tinto Group, the government of Iran, the diamond mining giant De Beers and the apartheid regime. Because the UN Commissioner for Namibia was killed at Lockerbie, none of those prosecutions ever took place.
The latest evidence suggests that apartheid South Africa targeted UN Commissioner for Namibia, Bernt Carlsson, on Pan Am Flight 103 and that Libya was not responsible for the Lockerbie bombing, which might explain why Cameron was desperate to have Colonel Gaddafi blamed personally for the sabotage of Pan Am Flight 103 on 21 December 1988, and to have Gaddafi executed without a trial at the International Criminal Court.
Libya and Israel
On 14 May 2011, the same day that Mustafa Abdul Jalil - chief of Libya's Transitional National Council (TNC) - arrived in London for talks with Prime Minister David Cameron, it was revealed that the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) had signed an agreement with the TNC to supply the Libyan rebels with arms and military assistance. Under the terms of the agreement, the Israeli government undertook to encourage EU member states to formally recognise the TNC in Benghazi as the legitimate government of Libya. In return, the Libyan rebels have promised that Israel can establish a military base in the Green Mountain region of Eastern Libya, an area of outstanding natural beauty and bio-diversity that is rich in prehistoric, Greek, Roman and Islamic antiquity, or in Western Libya near the border with Algeria.
At the start of the Libyan unrest in February 2011, it was Abdul Jalil who provided the world's media with the most amazing sound-bite: "Gaddafi ordered the Lockerbie bombing". Although Abdul Jalil claimed he had the proof, he said: "It is not time to reveal everything now. I do not want to reveal the names involved, for the sake of the country." At the Downing Street meeting, did Cameron ask the scoundrel Abdul Jalil about Gaddafi ordering the Lockerbie bombing? It seems not.
Coincidentally, at the end of May 2011, Cameron stepped down as patron of the Jewish National Fund - the first British prime minister not to be patron of the charity in the 110 years of its existence. Despite these events, David Cameron is perhaps the most outspoken supporter of Israel in a whole generation of PMs. In a speech in 2011 Cameron said: "You have a Prime Minister whose commitment and determination to work for peace in Israel is deep and strong. Britain will continue to push for peace, but will always stand up for Israel against those who wish her harm". He said he wanted to reaffirm his "unshakable" belief in Israel within the same message. He also voiced his opposition to the Goldstone Report, claiming it had been biased against Israel and not enough blame had been placed on Hamas.
David Cameron was given a score of 36% in favour of lesbian, gay and bisexual equality by Stonewall in 2010. Cameron voted to retain Section 28 and voted against gay adoption, however he supported commitment for gay couples in a 2005 speech, and in October 2011 urged Conservative MPs to support gay marriage. In a keynote speech in Manchester he said that he backed gay marriage not in spite of his conservatism but because he is a conservative, and added it was about equality. In December 2012 he stated that he wanted to give religious groups the ability to host gay marriage ceremonies, and that he did not want to exclude gay people from a "great institution". In November 2012, Cameron and Nick Clegg agreed to fast-track legislation for introducing same-sex marriage. In 2013, the Bill was presented to the House of Commons and less than 50% of Conservative MPs backed his proposals for gay marriage including his own cabinet ministers Owen Paterson and David Jones.
Allegations of recreational drug use
During the leadership election, allegations were made that Cameron had used cannabis and cocaine recreationally before becoming an MP. Pressed on this point during the BBC television programme 'Question Time', Cameron expressed the view that everybody was allowed to "err and stray" in their past. During his 2005 Conservative leadership campaign he addressed the question of drug consumption by remarking that "I did lots of things before I came into politics which I shouldn't have done. We all did."
Cameron and Andy Coulson
In 2007 Cameron appointed Andy Coulson, former editor of the News of the World, as his director of communications. Coulson had resigned as the paper's editor following the conviction of a reporter in relation to illegal phone hacking, although stating that he knew nothing about it. In June 2010 Downing Street confirmed Coulson's annual salary as £140,000, the highest pay of any special adviser to UK Government. In January 2011 Coulson left his post, saying coverage of the phone-hacking scandal was making it difficult to give his best to the job. In July 2011 he was arrested and questioned by police in connection with further allegations of illegal activities at the News of the World, and released on bail. Despite a call to apologise for hiring Coulson by the leader of the opposition Ed Miliband, Cameron defended the appointment, saying that he had taken a conscious choice to give someone who had screwed up a second chance. On 20 July, in a special parliamentary session at the House of Commons, arranged to discuss the News of the World phone hacking scandal, Cameron said that he "regretted the furore" that had resulted from his appointment of Coulson, and that "with hindsight" he would not have hired him. Coulson was detained and charged with perjury by Strathclyde Police on 30 May 2012.
Cameron and Lord Ashcroft
In June 2012, shortly before a major Tory rebellion on House of Lords reform, journalist Peter Oborne credited Lord Ashcroft, owner of both the 'ConservativeHome' and 'PoliticsHome' websites with "stopping the Coalition working" by moving policy on Europe, welfare, education, taxation to the right. Prior to the 2010 election, Cameron gave Ashcroft a significant role in the election campaign but no post-election reward in the form of ministerial job. According to Oborne, Ashcroft, a "brutal critic of the Coalition from the start", had established "megaphone presence" in the on-line media, and Tories were now blaming the LibDems for blocking economic and welfare system reform. Oborne says the parties have separate and contradictory agendas – as exemplified by Michael Gove's education reforms intended for Tory ears only – and don't even consult each other. He believes Cameron's philosophy of liberal conservatism has been destroyed by "coordinated attacks on the Coalition" and "the two parties are no longer trying to pretend that they are governing together."
Plots against leadership
In United Kingdom local elections, 2012, the Conservative Party's share of the vote fell from 35% to 31%, losing control of several councils including Plymouth, Southampton, Harlow, Redditch, Worcester and Great Yarmouth, after a terrible few months for the government which included the Budget, the cash for access scandal and the Jeremy Hunt scandal with Labour increasing its lead in the polls. Many Conservative MPs spoke out because of this and Nadine Dorries warned the Prime Minister that a leadership challenge could happen. David TC Davies also joined in the criticism of Cameron's leadership "incompetence at the highest levels of Government". In the summer, chatter continued after the House of Lords reform rebellion and the resurgence of Boris Johnson during the 2012 Olympics. It was revealed that Boris Johnson and Zac Goldsmith had been talking about a possible leadership challenge to the Prime Minister, but both men denied it. Colonel Bob Stewart revealed that two Tory MPs had asked him to stand as a stalking-horse candidate against the Prime Minister. It was also revealed that the chairman of the 1922 Committee, Graham Brady, had received letters from 14 Tory MPs calling for a 'vote of no confidence' in the Prime Minister and Patrick Mercer was one of the signatories. Later that year, Brian Binley openly said that Cameron's leadership was like being a 'maid' to the Liberal Democrats and accused him of leading the party to defeat. In January 2013, it was revealed that Adam Afriyie was planning his own bid for the Tory leadership with the support of fellow MPs Mark Field, Bill Wiggin, Chris Heaton-Harris, Priti Patel and Dan Byles. He denied such bid, but it was also rumoured that up to 13 Tory MPs were considering their own bids for the leadership. After defeat at the Eastleigh by-election, it was revealed that 25 MPs were considering joining calls for a vote of no confidence by the summer. Theresa May was seen as a potential challenger for the leadership, after her speech to a ConservativeHome conference in March 2013. The next day, Liam Fox, made a speech to the Institute of Economic Affairs calling for a freeze in public spending to fund huge tax cuts, but many commentators also interpreted it as a Fox posturing for the leadership.
Cameron's 'personal hero'
- "The Tory leader said it was the freedom fighter who led South Africa’s liberation struggle: 'For his grace and complete lack of bitterness,' oozed the PR man.
- "Excuse me if I choke on Cameron’s hypocrisy.
- "While Mandela languished behind bars, the Tory leader enjoyed an all-expenses-paid junket to a white supremacist South Africa.
- "In 1989, Cameron marked Mandela’s 26th year in prison sipping chilled wine with the apartheid state’s rulers.
- "He wasn’t a Young Tory wearing a 'Hang Nelson Mandela' T-shirt but his visit comforted the great man’s oppressors.
- "Nelson does have grace and an inspirational absence of bitterness – but there isn’t enough metal polish for Cameron’s brass neck."
- "David Cameron becomes youngest Prime Minister in almost 200 years"
- "Cameron's freebie to apartheid South Africa"
- "Rössing Uranium Mine"
- "How the US and UK 'lost' three nuclear weapons"
- "Bernt Carlsson and the Case of the Disappearing Diamonds"
- "Lockerbie: Ayatollah’s Vengeance Exacted by Botha’s Regime"
- "David Cameron's Libyan war: why the PM felt Gaddafi had to be stopped"
- "An Israeli military base in Libya near the border with Algeria"
- "Lockerbie: Scoundrel Time"
- "Cameron invites Libya rebels to open office in UK"
- "Cameron's Jewish roots inform New Year message"
- "Nelson Mandela's condition improves, but remains critical at Pretoria hospital"
- "David Cameron is a hypocrite for naming Nelson Mandela his personal hero"
- The first version of this page was imported from Wikipedia on 5 April 2013. Original page source here