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Cameron kicks off election campaign

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 02 January 2010

"We are starting our campaign to win the general election today." Conservative leader, David Cameron said, firing the starter pistol in what looks set to be a drawn-out election campaign. Julian Rush reports.

Cameron (Credit: Reuters)

If the Conservatives win he said he would invite the Labour and Liberal Democrat leaders into a war Cabinet - an offer Labour quickly dismissed.

But with the Tory poll lead declining in recent weeks Mr Cameron's tone was positive and optimistic - no mention of the age of austerity or dwelling on huge public spending cuts.

Whatever else 2010 brings, it will bring a general election. Between now and May or June or maybe March, the political sparks will fly.

It cannot come a moment too soon, the Conservative leader David Cameron told a small group of his Oxfordshire constituents today, kicking off the Tory election campaign.

Mr Cameron promised a new style of government, based on consensus and unity rather than tribal politics. The only new policy in his speech is a plan for a cross-party "war Cabinet" to oversee operations in Afghanistan.

Labour immediately rejected the idea, on the grounds that party leaders are already briefed as privy councillors - although the Privy Council never meets in the way a cabinet committee does.

Tory strategists have clearly decided there are votes to be gained by being first off the starting blocks even though it risks alienating voters with a long drawn-out campaign.

Today Mr Cameron struck a noticeably more positive tone on Britain's economic future than he has in recent months. Compare that with eight months ago, when the talk was all of spending cuts and austerity.

Alex Thomson spoke to Labour's culture secretary. Ben Bradshaw.

Cathy Newman joined Alex Thomson in the studio.

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