Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

Cameron insists Government 'strong'

David Cameron insists his Government is strong despite high-profile policy U-turns
David Cameron insists his Government is strong despite high-profile policy U-turns

David Cameron has insisted his Government is "extremely strong, resolute and determined" despite announcing the latest in a series of policy U-turns.

After scrapping plans for 50% discounts on prison sentences for early guilty pleas, the Prime Minister claimed it was a sign of "strength and confidence" that the coalition was prepared to listen and change its mind.

The backtrack on sentencing reform comes on the heels of a major shift in NHS reform announced last week in the face of intense opposition from health professionals.

But, at a Downing Street press conference, Mr Cameron said: "I think people looking at this Government more broadly, even our harshest critics would say this Government has an incredibly clear view about what is necessary in terms of reducing the deficit, getting the economy going, getting Britain back on track, bold and long-standing reforms to public sector pensions and public sector pay, a hugely radical programme in terms of reforming welfare, areas that previous governments haven't touched, hugely bold reforms to education where we've already created more academy schools in 12 months than the last government did in 12 years.

"So, I don't really accept the idea that this Government isn't extremely strong, resolute and determined. It is, it's seen as such and it will go on being seen as that."

The Prime Minister insisted it was the "weak thing to do" to keep "ploughing on" when consultations on reform indicated there were better ways of doing things.

"The tough, strong thing to do is to say 'yes, we can make these plans better'," he said, adding that that was what the Government had done on both sentencing and the NHS.

"I don't for one minute think that somehow it is weak to listen and then to act, it is a sign of strength and confidence," he went on.

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