David Cameron may have been head of policy when Michael Howard ran his "It isn’t racist to impose limits on immigration" campaign… but that dog-whistle approach to politics was comprehensively buried by his interview in today’s Observer.
The new Tory leader (enjoying a 9% lead according to a MORI poll for the same newspaper) told Andrew Rawnsley that his party has a ‘very deep perception problem’ on the immigration issue but the real villain of the immigration debate was David Blunkett:
"He was the person who talked about us being swamped: he used irresponsible language at the same time as having a chaotic immigration policy. I want the Conservative party to do the opposite: use moderate, reasonable, sensible language, and to have a policy that actually delivers."
Mr Cameron said that genuine refugees asylum should be taken "to our hearts", fed, clothed and schooled.
Continuing his appeal to Liberal Britain Mr Cameron also told The Observer that Conservatives should "no longer be the ‘mouthpiece’ of big business". Conservatives should, instead, be the champion of working parents, environmentalists and other causes whose interests clash with the Tories’ friends in the City.
Mr Cameron said that he will take a week’s paternity leave when his third child is born early in the new year. Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague will take charge in his absence.