Peter Hoskin

Cameron’s public debate with his backbenchers

Cameron's public debate with his backbenchers
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So, did Cameron say anything particularly noteworthy during his interview on the Today programme?  In truth, not really.  Most of the answers were of the "let's wait and see what in the Budget" variety.  The ratio of spending cuts to tax rises: wait and see.  Plans for hiking capital gains tax: wait and see, and so on.   The only answers that weren't determined by the Budget seemed to be his racing tips for the sports bulletin.  You can hear them here.

But that isn't to say the interview wasn't revealing.  For much of it, Cameron was quizzed about the objections that David Davis and John Redwood have raised to the planned hike in capital gains tax.  And, for his part, the PM didn't yield any ground, but did hint that compromises might be reached.  The Budget process would "consider all recommendations," he said.  And he added that, "I listen to all my backbenchers, all the time."

Either way, Cameron had better get used to this kind of public debate with his own party.  The nature of the coalition means that there will be disagreement, and that it will frequently waft out from behind the doors of the committee rooms.  Listening is very much a prerequisite.  The difficult part will be choosing when and where to push compromise with his backbenchers ahead of compromise with the Lib Dems.