CamPC The Tory leader was speaking at his monthly press conference.


10.30am, Highlights from Mr Cameron's press conference

On Trident and defence cuts: Mr Cameron was asked on three occcasions about making savings from the defence budget.  He said that the Conservative Party supported all of the items currently in the 'forward defence programme' but given the scale of the budgetary crisis would not say if the aircraft carrier and Trident programmes were still affordable.  I'm not going to start ruling things in and out, he continued.  In the FT this morning David Davis had questioned the affordability of Trident.

On today's votes on expenses: Mr Cameron said the Conservative frontbench would abstain from the vote on second jobs disclosure because it is badly drafted, but added that he supports the principle of it.  PoliticsHome has more on this aspect.

On the 50p tax band: He agreed with Fraser Nelson that the 50p tax band was bad for Britain but declined to agree that it might lose the Treasury money.  He didn't know for sure, he said.  In a follow up question Fraser Nelson said that rich people would not change their plans and move abroad if they knew that the 50p band would be repealed by a Conservative government.  Mr Cameron said that he would not make a commitment now and that 50p would have to join a queue of other bad Labour measures that the Conservatives wished to repeal.

On working with Nick Clegg: He said that yesterday's victory on Gurkhas was hugely important and said that the Conservatives will work with the Liberal Democrats on issues of common interest, such as the environment, strengthening local govenment and opposing the surveillance state.

On Obama's first 100 days: He declined to comment on the American President's domestic policies but paid tribute to a "pretty successful" foreign policy.  He highlighted an end to torture, the promised closure of Gitmo, the re-engineering of strategy in Afghanistan and engagement with Iran.

30YEARS On Margaret Thatcher's thirtieth anniversary: I asked if he would be marking the anniversary in any way and if he was studying how she prepared for government… As Mr Cameron started to answer a military band started playing and marched past the window… Mr Cameron credited Andy Coulson with arranging the march past!  After the journalists' laughter had died down he said that the best way of honouring Margaret Thatcher was to elect another Tory government.  Yes, he was studying the period – the things she got right but also the things that were wrong including the decision to honour Labour's public pay commitments from the Clegg Commission that delayed the necessary fiscal adjustment until 1981.

Tim Montgomerie

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