In an interview with the BBC’s Nick Robinson he delivered the following key messages:
The party is doing well: "I’ve made serious changes to this party, brought it into the mainstream, huge success at the local elections – the party’s now by far the largest party in local government."
The big political picture is the Tories are at the centre and Labour is lurching left: "Of course the last couple of weeks haven’t been as smooth as I’d like, but when the smoke clears and you look at what’s happening, it’s the Conservative Party in the centre ground, there for everybody, while Labour is lurching off to the left in a deputy leadership contest that’s all about tax rises and trade union powers and the rest of it."
There may be a need for more explanation but modernisation will continue: "Sometimes that can mean you do have to explain more to your party and the country exactly why the changes are so important but I’m not going to flinch, I’m not going to stop in making the changes."
You can read more on BBC Online. Sam will be posting highlights of the Conservative leader’s Islamic speech soon…
10am update on 6 June: NIck Robinson has written about the interview on his blog:
"Only a handful of Tories were offended by David Cameron’s insistence
that he wouldn’t create more grammar schools. After all, he was only
highlighting existing party policy. Many though objected violently to
the assertion (by his Education Spokesman David Willets) that grammar
schools were bad for social mobility which they feared could be used as
an argument to close those grammars which still exist.
Hence their demand that Cameron make clear that he might indeed open
a handful of new selective schools in areas that already have them.
This was not, in fact, a policy U-turn, even though it looked like
one and was a presentational disaster. It was though evidence, as one
senior Tory put it to me, that the Cameron honeymoon is well and truly