David Cameron: People are gagging for change
Conservative leader David Cameron has said "people are gagging for change" as he insisted he was up to the job of prime minister.
Mr Cameron also stood by his pledge to reverse part of the Government's planned hike in National Insurance despite a huge public spending deficit, saying the move was "utterly consistent with everything we have said".
Speaking about his hopes for office in an interview with the Financial Times, he said: "This is going to be the first time in 23 years that the Conservative Party goes into a general election with a seven-to-10 point lead. We've come a long way."
The would-be PM also referred to the narrowing of this year's opinion polls, which were showing a near-20% Tory lead 12 months ago.
Mr Cameron told the paper: "We started the year in a very positive frame of mind and wanted to spend the entire time putting forward our own approaches.
"But you have to remember that every election is a choice and if you don't frame that choice, then your opponents will only talk about you."
The Conservatives need to win 117 seats to gain an overall majority in the general election, widely expected to be held on May 6.
Asked about the National Insurance move, Mr Cameron indicated his willingness to get on with a series of public spending cuts.
He said: "Find me the business, find me the organisation in the world, that cannot cut 2.8% out of its budget inside a year."
He added: "I'm ready, yes, to step up to the plate and do what is of course a daunting job and many daunting challenges, but ready to lead in that way, yes."