Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

David Cameron warns Tory advisors to ‘get a grip’

David Cameron has warned his top team to “get a grip” to halt the Conservatives' dip in the opinion polls.

The latest monthly “poll of polls” shows that Labour has cut the Tory lead to single figures in the past month and suggests that Britain is heading for a hung parliament.

Mr Cameron is reviewing the way his team makes decisions after a series of mistakes which has put his party on the defensive and raised Labour's hopes of avoiding what looked like a certain defeat. He is moving his office from the Palace of Westminster to Conservative Campaign Headquarters in Millbank to personally oversee his colleagues' work, it is understood.

In recent weeks, the Tories have talked up and then played down the prospect of big spending cuts this year and Mr Cameron admitted he “messed up” over the party's policy on rewarding marriage in the tax system.

Tory sources admit that tensions between key Cameron advisers have contributed to a sense of drift but insist the narrowing poll gap has reminded the party leadership that it needs to sharpen up performance.

Steve Hilton, Mr Cameron's director of strategy, is believed to favour a broad-brush campaign built around the Tories' “year of change” slogan.

But the shadow Chancellor George Osborne, who is in charge of the election effort, believes the Hilton “vision approach” is too vague and that the party needs to spell out a small number of concrete pledges so voters know how the “change” would be delivered.

Although the Tories deny they are having a “wobble” or a “panic”, one insider said yesterday: “David [Cameron] is banging heads together and saying we must get a grip.”

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