David Cameron may be distancing himself from Michael Howard’s policies on immigration and the NHS but the ex-Tory leader had nothing but praise for the man he positioned to succeed him. He promised to loyally cheer Mr Cameron from his new position on the backbenches. Mr Howard told Radio 4’s World at One that Mr Cameron had made a "dramatic impact" since becoming Tory leader and that he was proceeding "in entirely the right way".
Today’s Independent reveals that Mr Howard’s former press spokesman, Jonathan Collett, has become Rupert Murdoch’s public affairs manager with responsibility for political relations. The Indy reads this as a sign that the Murdoch empire is preparing the road for closer relations with Her Majesty’s Opposition.
George Pascoe-Watson is certainly warm towards Mr Cameron in his first column as The Sun’s new political editor. Mr Cameron’s tactics "are working like a dream," he writes. He notes that Gordon Brown is increasingly irritated at Mr Blair’s "watch and wait" approach to the new Tory leader. Mr Brown, he reports, fears that this patient approach reflects Mr Blair’s knowledge that he won’t ever have to fight Mr Cameron and that it is giving the new Tory leader an opportunity to reshape the political landscape. "Mr Brown feels he is fighting with both hands tied behind his back because he must go along with the Number 10 strategy".
The Yorkshire Post is also in a positive frame of mind about ‘Cameron’s Conservatives’. It says this today:
"Under David Cameron’s inspired leadership thus far, the Conservatives are finally moving towards a position whereby they offer a credible alternative to Labour. His promise not to become a prisoner to his party’s ideological past, coupled with a pledge to ditch the Tories’ flagship policy of private healthcare subsidies, further highlights Mr Cameron’s desire to create a manifesto that reflects the challenges of the 21st century."
The Sun and The YP contrast with criticism in this morning’s Telegraph and from Melanie Phillips.
Although the Daily Mail’s Ms Phillips acknowledges that Mr Cameron has "made politics
interesting again" she raises concerns about policy shifts on global
warming, academic selection and fair-versus-free trade.