The last time that David Cameron was on national television he was asked some very crude questions by Jonathan Ross. As highlighted on today’s frontpage, the Mail on Sunday is very unimpressed with the Tory leader’s decision to take part in that interview. Mr Cameron was in a more familar interview setting this morning. He was cross-examined by Andrew Marr in the garden of his Oxfordshire home.
The headline to emerge from the interview was a reiteration of Cameron’s intention to scrap the Human Rights Act and write a new British bill of rights. The existing human rights laws were hindering the fight on crime and terrorism, Mr Cameron said, and failed to stop the Government endangering fundamental liberties such as the right to a jury trial. Mr Cameron said that he did not support withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights. This would mean that people could still appeal the same issues to the European Court of Human Rights. Some believe that scrapping the HRA but remaining an signatory to the Convention is pointless.
Here are some of the other highlights of the interview:
- It was important for the Conservatives to show that they didn’t want to undo many of Labour’s post-1997 achievements. He highlighted the Tories’ renewed commitment to the NHS and the promise to put tax cuts second to stability as examples of the changes he is making to the Conservative Party.
- Discussing ‘libertarian paternalism‘ (without using the term) he said that it was important to understand that politicians don’t have all of the answers to major problems and that popular culture, for example, often had to lead the search for certain solutions. He said that the family was the answer to many social problems – including poor housing, drugs, education and poverty.
- Mr Cameron said that he had no plans to change the ways in which English taxpayers subsidise Scottish residents. He was a Unionist and funding decisions should only ever be based on considerations of need.
- The Tory leader reaffirmed the party’s commitment to replace Trident. It is needed as a long-term insurance policy against blackmail from a hostile foreign power.
- He offered no solutions to the pollution effects of growing air travel and declined to say what role nuclear power had in Tory energy and environmental policy. Mr Cameron pointed to decentralised power sources and energy efficiency as 21st century ways of delivered environmentally sound electricity security.
- The Tory leader said that there was a strong case for an early election because Blair had gone back on his promise to serve a full-term. Voters, he said, aren’t going to get what they voted for.