Tories promise political 'deep clean' in push for people power
Published 14/04/2010 | 05:00
Tories yesterday promised a "deep clean of the political system" in the wake of the expenses scandal to make the British government more accountable.
In its manifesto, the party pledged to "cut the size of Parliament, cut the scope of Whitehall and cut the cost of politics".
It will give voters the power to kick out MPs who break the rules and reduce the number of members by 10pc.
The document acknowledges people are "at best detached from democracy, at worst angry and disillusioned" with politics today.
Unveiling a programme designed to deliver "economic recovery and growth, a strong society and radical political reform", Mr Cameron said the state could not overcome Britain's problems without the "active participation" of its people.
"This is a manifesto for a new kind of politics and a new kind of country," said the Tory leader at a glitzy launch in London's Battersea Power Station.
Ironically, the derelict building is owned by Irish developers Treasury Holdings and is one of the projects being taken over by NAMA.
"Together we can get rid of our debts, get the economy moving, mend our broken society -- even make politics and politicians work better. And if we can do that, we can do anything. Together, we can do anything."
The manifesto promised new powers for public sector workers to run their services as co-operatives; for parents to set up academy schools; for voters to sack MPs; for residents to veto council tax rises; for communities to buy under-threat post offices and for citizens to elect police chiefs.
'Change' was a major theme as Mr Cameron issued a direct appeal to former supporters of other parties to switch to the Tories on May 6.
"Labour have lost their way. The Liberals have little to say," he said. "So it falls to us, the modern Conservative Party, to lead the change our country needs today."
The manifesto put the £6bn (€6.8bn) reversal of Labour's National Insurance hike at the heart of an economic strategy to eliminate "the bulk" of Britain's strategic deficit by the end of the Parliament, with a "credible plan" to be set out in an emergency budget within 50 days of taking office.
But the manifesto failed to match Labour's pledge not to raise income tax. And it made no mention of VAT, which Labour and Liberal Democrats claim the Tories will have to raise to 20pc to fund their plans.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said there was "a complete hole" in the Tory plans, which would put Britain's economic recovery at risk and "leave people on their own to face the recession".
And Labour's chief of election strategy, Peter Mandelson, accused Tories of "Santa Claus economics" which would create a new age of austerity.
Meanwhile Mr Cameron and his party party became involved in a small controversy when the drummer of rock band Keane said he was "horrified" the Tories had used their hit 'Everybody's Changing' without asking permission at the Battersea launch.
The band's drummer Richard Hughes told his Twitter followers: "We were not asked. I will not vote for them."