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Summary Article: Cameron, David from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

British Conservative politician, party leader from 2005 and prime minister from 2010. A skilled communicator, he rose rapidly within the Conservative Party to become deputy chair and head of policy coordination from 2003. Under his leadership, the Conservatives moved towards the centre-right, accepting Labour Party spending commitments for health and education and giving a new emphasis to the environmental agenda. When the Conservatives failed to achieve an overall majority at the 2010 general election, rather than attempting a minority government, Cameron negotiated a full coalition (the first since World War II) with the Liberal Democrats, taking on their leader Nick Clegg as his deputy prime minister.

Cameron played an important role in developing the party's manifesto for the May 2005 general election, after which he was appointed shadow education secretary. Despite his political inexperience, he contested for the leadership of the party, after Michael Howard announced he would step down. Initially not the frontrunner, his candidacy was ignited by an impassioned speech at the October 2005 party conference. The party's members elected him leader by a large majority in December 2005 after he had campaigned on a platform of the need to modernize around what he termed ‘compassionate conservatism’, following the party's three successive general election defeats.

With his relaxed and pragmatic image, and a similar privileged upbringing, Cameron became viewed as the ‘Conservative's Blair’. In 2006 he published a statement of aims and values, setting out a new Conservative concern for the environment, eradicating poverty, and putting economic stability before tax reductions.

Born in London, Cameron was educated at Eton College and Oxford University, studying politics, philosophy, and economics. After university he worked at the Conservative Research Department 1988–92 and as a special adviser at the Treasury and Home Office 1992–94, before joining the media company Carlton Communication plc, where he was director of corporate affairs. He was elected member of Parliament (MP) for Witney, Oxfordshire, in June 2001.

© RM, 2016. All rights reserved.

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