THE Prime Minister said on Wednesday that a "compassionate"
Conservative Party was leading the way in fighting poverty in the
In his speech to the Conservative Party Conference, Mr Cameron
insisted that the reason why the Government wanted "to reform
schools, to cut welfare dependency, to reduce government spending,
is not because we're the same old Tories who want to help the rich.
. . It's because we're the Tories whose ideas help everyone - the
poorest the most."
Mr Cameron said that his welfare reforms addressed the "evils"
of "unfairness", "injustice", and "bureaucracy". "It's us, the
modern compassionate Conservative party, who are the real champions
of fighting poverty in Britain today."
On Monday, the Chancellor, George Osborne, announced a further
£10 billion in welfare cuts.
The chief executive of the Children's Society, Matthew Reed,
said that most families receiving welfare support were "working
families", who would "lose out . . . if the Government is to fund
cuts to the welfare bill of this magnitude".
Mr Cameron also replied to critics of his education reforms (
Features, 21 September): "I want more free schools, more
academies, more rigorous exams in every school, more expected of
every child. . . I'm not here to defend privilege. I'm here to
Some were "sceptical about our aid budget", he said: "But
picture the scene - you're in a health centre in Kinshasa. See the
child with a needle in her arm, being injected with a Yellow Fever
vaccine . . . the difference between living and dying. . . . How
can anyone tell me that's a waste of money?"
Christian Aid said that it was "very encouraged" after the
International Development Secretary, Justine Greening, reiterated
on Tuesday the Government's commitment to spending 0.7 per cent of
GDP on international aid.
On Sunday, outside the Birmingham Christian Centre, where the
Conference service took place, members of Christianity Uncut, a
network of anti-capitalist Christians, gave out leaflets that said:
"Jesus sided with the poor. Tories side with the super-rich."
Question of the Week:
Do you agree that the Conservative Party champions the
THE Prime Minister avoided any mention of gay marriage
in his speech to the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham on
Wednesday, despite evidence of disquiet in the ranks.
In his Conference speech last year, he had said: "I
don't support gay marriage despite being a Conservative. I support
gay marriage because I'm a Conservative." But a poll of 100
Conservative Party constituency chairmen, published just before the
Conference opened on Sunday, suggested that many Conservatives
disagreed with Mr Cameron.
The ComRes poll, commissioned by the Coalition for
Marriage, found that 71 per cent of the respondents thought that
proposals to introduce gay marriage should be dropped, and 60 per
cent believed that the policy had cost votes. The Coalition for
Marriage's campaign director, Colin Hart, said that the poll
reflected "growing unease among grass-roots
The former Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali,
has written to constituency chairmen, saying that he is aware that
many have concerns about same-sex marriage, and offering "any
assistance" to them.
About 1000 people attended a rally organised by the
Coalition for Marriage in Birmingham Town Hall on Monday. The
speakers included the former Archbishop of Canterbury, the Rt Revd
Lord Carey; the Christian Conservative MP David Burrowes; and the
former minister Ann Widdecombe.
Criticising the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, who
last month briefly called opponents of same-sex marriage "bigots" (
News, 14 September), Lord Carey said: "Remember that, the Jews
in Nazi Germany, what started it against them was when they were
called names; that was the first stage towards that totalitarian
state." He hoped that Mr Cameron would "have the courage to back
The rights campaigner Peter Tatchell described the
speakers at the rally as "intolerant and out of touch. . . If the
rally organisers truly do believe in love and mar-riage, they
should welcome the fact that gay couples love each other and want
to get married."
On BBC Radio 4's Today programme, on
Wednesday, the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, said: "All
political parties move with their societies, move with the
attitudes of their time. . . This can be difficult for some
institutions: we have a debate going on in the Church of England
Anglican Mainstream hosted a fringe event on Tuesday, at
which David Skelton defended his report in favour of same-sex
marriage, What's In A Name? Is there a case for equal
marriage?, published by the think tank Policy
Policy Exchange had cancelled its participation, but
changed its mind "at half an hour's notice", Anglican Mainstream