Chief secretary to the Treasury Andy Burnham admitted that Labour’s previous attempts to paint the Tory leader as a chameleon had not stuck a chord with the public.
Speaking after Gordon Brown’s speech – in which the Prime Minister refused to make any reference to the opposition leader – Burnham said the party should take a different approach to communicating Cameron’s flaws.
‘This is not the time to lay off Cameron,’ he said. ‘This is the time to really expose him, not as a chameleon, because I don’t think the public see him as a chameleon, we tried that and it didn’t work.
‘I think Cameron is simply a con man. I think the public see that. It’s about PR, it’s about creating the impression of change. But deep down the Tory party has not changed, do not want to change and want him to be [focused] on immigration, Europe and tax, and I think that’s a reality we’ve got to expose.’
Economic secretary to the Treasury Kitty Usher also criticised the Tory leader in the fringe meeting, entitled Is David Cameron Capturing the Political Zeitgeist?
She said: ‘He’s a PR man. We’re all aware that he has a past in PR. But the wheels have come off his PR bicycle.’
However, The Times columnist David Aaronovitch warned Labour not to underestimate Cameron’s ability to connect. ‘Cameron, with his understanding where the middle classes are at could yet prove to be very dangerous,’ he said.