After TV victory, Cameron tries to win trust

Conservatives launch contract with voters, Labour brings in Blair

After TV victory, Cameron tries to win trust

With a week to go before polls, snap polls judged Cameron, 43, the victor of the third and final TV debate on Thursday night. Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, 43, was second while Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown, 59, came last. “This election is far from over. We are now entering the most energetic and the most important stage of this campaign... I’m taking nothing for granted,” Cameron said during an upbeat campaign stop at a school in Derby in central England.

The TV debates, a novelty in Britain, raised the previously little-known Clegg’s profile and catapulted his centrist Liberal Democrats past Labour in many polls. Surveys suggest that while many voters are fed up with Brown, they are not sure they can trust Cameron, a slick former public relations executive from an ultra privileged background.

With the wind in his sails after the debate, Cameron tried to build on that trust by launching a “contract with voters” that lists key Conservative policies on cleaning up politics, fostering economic growth and tackling social problems.

“This contract will set out our side of the bargain, what we’re going to do, and I urge people to read it, to hold us to it, to make sure we deliver it,” he said.
This was dismissed by Labour as a “con trick”. But the Labour campaign was struggling to overcome the fallout from a disastrous gaffe by Brown when he was caught branding a voter “bigoted”.

Blair returns
Labour drafted in Brown’s predecessor as prime minister, Tony Blair, who went out campaigning in London. The charismatic Blair won a record three successive elections for Labour from 1997, but it was unsure whether many voters would be happy to see him again. He was unpopular when he stepped down in 2007, mostly because of the war in Iraq.

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