DAVID CAMERON has hit out at his class warfare critics by today insisting he is ‘not too posh for the North’ while setting out how the Conservatives should be judged in the region.
The Prime Minister told The Yorkshire Post he thinks people no longer identify with the class-based attacks spread by a Labour party which claims the PM’s privileged background means he is out of touch with voters’ concerns.
Eton-educated Mr Cameron said he was proud of the upbringing his parents had given him, urging voters in the North to judge him not on his accent but on his commitment to the region.
Asked how he feels when he is told by Northern Labour MPs he is too posh for the North, Mr Cameron said: “I can’t reinvent who I am, or change where I went to school or what my parents did. I’m incredibly proud of my parents, they put a huge amount of effort into bringing me up and giving me a good start in life, and I love what they did for me.
“You can’t change who you are, and I never try to. I don’t try to pretend I’m something different or have a different background or upbringing and I will not change my voice or anything. I am who I am.”
Last month former foreign secretary William Hague said the debate on class and background had moved on, adding that he did not think most people knew which class they were anymore.
Asked if class was still an issue in the UK, Mr Cameron said: “I think William is right, on the whole people just want to know what your plan is, what your vision is and is the country getting better under your leadership. They judge you on what you say and do, on whether you deliver.
“I think a lot of this stuff, Labour keep going on and on about this and I think people don’t identify with it actually.”
Mr Cameron said the Conservative Party has a strong track record in the North, especially on transport infrastructure, a point he emphasised by insisting the Government would make sure rail operators phase out the unpopular Pacer trains used on Yorkshire commuter lines.
Chancellor George Osborne recently announced a promise to shrink the North-South divide, a vow some say it has taken the Tories a long time to make.
Mr Cameron said: “I don’t believe we have been late to this. If you take the history of this Government the very first thing we did recognising the difficulties of public spending restraints was to produce the regional growth fund where money was directed to areas of the country that were going to be affected.
“We had city deals, growth funds, investment in infrastructure, the High Speed 2 commitment and to HS3.
“You can see a consistent pastern of wanting to take the steps that will rebalance the economy.”
The Prime Minister added his support to the growing focus on devolving power to Northern cities, saying that there would be more announcements to come on powers for the likes of Leeds.
Cameron’s rail vow: Page 4