Cameron: The Rise of the New Conservative

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David ('Dave') Cameron has recently emerged as the first Tory leader in years to come across as a man of the people - an ordinary bloke in a traditionally reviled political position. But spin-doctoring aside, not a great deal is known about his background, his family life or his gradual rise through the ranks of the Party.

The son of a prosperous and disabled stockbroker father and a magistrate mother, and a descendant of King Henry VII, Cameron excelled at Eton and was voted most likely among his classmates to become Prime Minister. At Oxford he 'played a lot of pool and ate a lot of kebabs', but loved politics and worked extremely hard to achieve a high first. It was clear by then that he was headed for Westminster, and indeed a former colleague at the Conservative Research Department, which Cameron joined after graduation, referred to him as 'a young man in a hurry', a reputation cemented by his rapid rise to the head of the political department and the favour of John Major.

Cameron has also worked very closely with Norman Lamont and Michael Howard, and has been an MP since 2001. In 2005 he was asked by Howard to write the Tory manifesto, which was widely considered the most right-wing in post-war history. Months later, at the age of 39, he secured leadership of the Party.

This biography reveals the man behind the spin, and explores the future direction of the Conservatives. Is the current honeymoon evidence of a new Tory Party, or simply recognition that the appearance of newness is needed? Will he really be prepared to jeopardise the support of the traditional grass roots? How deep are his environmental credentials? How will he react when the press turns nasty? Does his success mark a return of the old class deference, or is it the opposite; a sign that background, for better or worse, is now unimportant?

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About the author (2009)

Francis Elliott worked for the New Statesman before being appointed Westminster Editor for Scotland on Sunday. He later became the Sunday Telegraph's Deputy Political Editor and joined the Independent on Sunday in 2003, where he was recently made Whitehall Editor. He was shortlisted in 2005 for eoeWhat the Papers Say 'Scoop of the Year'e for his work on David Blunkett's business interests. He lives in London with his wife and two children.

James Hanning worked freelance before joining the Daily Mail and then moving to the Londoner's Diary on the Evening Standard, where he rose to become Associate Editor, responsible for the Comment pages. In 2004 he was appointed Executive Editor of the Independent on Sunday. He lives in London with his wife and two children.

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