David Cameron to bill Conservatives' as the 'party of business'

David Cameron's speech defending enterprise as a 'force for social progress' is an attempt at restoring the Conservatives' image as the 'party of business', observers have said.

David Cameron: labelled attacks on business ‘snobbery’
David Cameron: labelled attacks on business ‘snobbery’

Yesterday Cameron labelled attacks on business ‘snobbery’ in a speech in which he warned people away from tagging it as inherently self-interested and untrustworthy.

The move follows on from recent controversies over bonuses in the banking sector, with the Prime Minister coming down hard on the big bonus culture for senior figures.

James Tyrrell, director, Insight Public Affairs, said Cameron’s move followed his being left behind on the issue of bonuses at RBS.

Labelling the new rhetoric a ‘good move’ he said the pressure was on the Prime Minister from the rank and file of the party to reassert traditional Conservative links.

‘Conservative backbenchers will have been saying this is the party of business, we don’t want to vilify banking any more.’

Business Secretary Vince Cable was the first cabinet minister to put out a wider call for big bonus bankers to follow the lead of Stephen Hester, who waived his £1m bonus as chief executive of RBS after pressure from Labour leader Ed Miliband earlier this year.

‘Cameron was on the back foot behind Miliband and Cable, who came out saying they thought the situation was outrageous, and he weighed into the whole debate right towards the end when he started calling for restraint,’ said Tyrell.

‘The Budget is round the corner, and though he recognises the importance of trying to demonstrate that the Tory part is not the nasty party the Prime Minister will have realised that a polarised debate on banking is inherently bad.’

Nick Williams, head of public affairs at Fleishman-Hillard London, said the Government was in a difficult position between public indignation and the importance of business to Britain.

He said: ‘With growth in other areas so limited the Prime Minister realises that the UK needs a strong financial serves sector.

‘Attacks on bankers will only demonise them at a time when the British economy – and thus the Prime Minister’s own political fortunes – needs a successful City.’
 
However, Tyrrell added that a lack of comment from Cable over Cameron’s speech was conspicuous by its absence.
 
‘I expect we will hear from him some point soon,’ he added.

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