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By Peter Hoskin
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David Cameron has emerged from his end-of-year address to the 1922
Committee — and it seems to have gone well for all concerned. One backbencher
tells me that it was the “best
speech he can remember Cameron giving to the ‘22”.

What seems to have enthused that MP, and others, is Mr
Cameron's overall message. The PM explained to his audience that the Tory
election campiagn will focus on themes such as aspiration, the cost of living,
and raising the nation up. He described his conference speech as the template
for what would come.

And that wasn't all that pleased the spectators. Apparently, Mr Cameron said the Tories will have a genuinely Eurosceptic policy at the next
election. And when the name of Lynton Crosby came up, there was much cheering. “It was all what we wanted to hear,” says one of the
desk-bangers-in-chief — although it should be noted that others are curbing their enthusiasm until they
hear the Prime Minister’s Europe speech in January.

The response to the PM's words on gay marriage was rather
more muted, but not unfriendly. He didn't try to slap down those who oppose it, but urged all sides to remain civil to each other.

As for the Andrew Mitchell row, I'm told that Charles Walker
stood up to say that the party might learn a lesson from it: don't knock your
colleagues when they're down. Doesn't seem like there's too much danger of that
tonight, though. They're a relatively happy bunch — for now.

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