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  • Cited by 3
  • Print publication year: 2015
  • Online publication date: April 2015

1 - The coming of the coalition and the Coalition Agreement

Summary

I am a liberal conservative.

DAVID CAMERON, LEADER OF THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY (11 September 2006)

Lots of people would just walk if we went in with the Tories.

NICK CLEGG, LEADER OF THE LIBERAL DEMOCRATS (10 May 2010)

In every part of this agreement, we have gone further than simply adopting those policies where we previously overlapped. We have found that a combination of our parties' best ideas and attitudes has produced a programme for government that is more radical and comprehensive than our individual manifestos.

PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON AND DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER NICK CLEGG (20 May 2010)

Changing leaders

On 6 December 2005, after a protracted contest, David Cameron was elected as Leader of the Conservative Party. Cameron had been in Parliament for less than five years and was initially an outsider candidate in the Tory leadership contest, representing a ‘caucus’ which aimed (according to Matthew d'Ancona) to do little more than lay down a marker for the future, in turn ‘establishing themselves as a powerful force within the party’.

But Cameron won. That he did so is commonly held to be partly the result of his performance at the Conservative Party conference in the autumn, where he spoke passionately and without notes. His main rival, David Davis, by contrast failed to deliver. This infused the Cameron campaign with momentum, not least in terms of growing support from the press. The implications of Cameron's victory were clear, at least according to him. In his victory speech, he claimed a clear mandate for change:

I said when I launched my campaign that we needed to change in order to win. Now that I've won we will change. We will change the way we look. Nine out of 10 Conservative MPs, like me, are white men. We need to change the scandalous under representation of women in the Conservative party and we'll do that. We need to change the way we feel. No more grumbling about modern Britain. I love this country as it is not as it was and I believe our best days lie ahead.