no.10

Cameron not for turning

David Cameron isn’t in a mood for change as he heads into his summer break.

He’s made it abundantly clear that Chancellor George Osborne is the right man for the job and is staying put until the next general election.

There is zero chance of a plan B for the economy. Mr Cameron’s view is there’s a perfectly good plan A – people just have to execute it.

Ministers who have yet to spend a single penny of the money set aside for infrastructure spending have been warned to smash the roadblocks to delivery – and get roads built.

The PM is frustrated with the left and the right.

He’s annoyed at Labour’s constant calls for a full-scale, Leveson-style public inquiry into the banking industry.

Mr Cameron has blocked those demands knowing that nothing is guaranteed to choke Britain’s fragile recovery better than a two year probe which would bring the banks to a halt – and UK plc to a dead stop.

The Premier is also frustrated with those in his own party and of the Right constantly calling for tax cuts which would add to the deficit.

The Coalition has managed to cut Britain’s deficit by a quarter, to around 8.5%, which is a heroic feat at this time. Cutting taxes would mean an immediate surge in the deficit in the short term.

That deficit is an enormous millstone around the nation’s neck and, the PM, feels, people forget that it must be tackled if Britain is to rebuild from the wreckage of the last decade.

Unemployment is down, Bank of England monetary activism is showing signs of success and almost everything business leaders have asked for they’ve been given, say no 10 staffers.

Planning and deregulation changes have been forced through, corporation taxes are heading down, petrol prices won’t rise this summer, and the lowest paid workers will have tax cuts in April.

So nothing will change in policy terms around the plan A philosophy.

Lords reform has been shelved. It was always going to hit the buffers. No Tory leader in their right mind would put in place changes guaranteed to make the LibDems the kingmakers in future governments.

But this move will mean a bitter battle through the autumn as Nick Clegg seeks a policy victory to keep his leadership alive.

A reshuffle is pencilled in for September but the PM’s room for movement is very limited. He doesn’t actually want to make sweeping changes to his top team and the senior figures will remain in post.

Andrew Lansley is expected to stay put in health and only figures like Ken Clarke, Cheryl Gillan and Sir George Young are tipped to leave their offices.

Meanwhile a major operation is underway at Tory HQ – monitoring how far to the Left Ed Miliband is dragging the Labour Party.

The PM believes that the Labour leader hasn’t faced any real scrutiny by the political media and the polls reflect the easy time he appears to be getting.

Mr Cameron’s strategy is to expose just how much of a grip the trade unions have on Mr Miliband when the media are prepared to listen.

And figures close to the PM expect the revelations to have a dramatic impact on Labour’s chances at the next election.

One other thing to note: Boris Johnson is rightly being hailed as a political rock God during the Olympic Games. He deserves it.

But it’s a long way from enjoying the limelight to unseating Mr Cameron as Conservative leader.

The London Mayor remains on very close friendship terms with the PM and Mr Osborne.

They cut their political teeth together. They text each other the whole time. Criticism of the Tory leadership during the Mayoral elections is part of the game of politics.

Written By

George Pascoe-Watson