Prime Minister rejects warning on the North East

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PRIME Minister David Cameron has rejected warnings that the Tory party is on course for electoral meltdown in the North East.

Speaking ahead of the Conservative conference which kicks off in Birmingham today, Mr Cameron brushed aside a suggestion from political think-tank Policy Exchange that the Tories were still seen as the party of the rich.

Policy Exchange chairman Neil O’Brien had urged the party to focus on attracting more working class support from the North and Midlands, where it traditionally struggles: “The Tories urgently need a new round of renewal,” he said.

“It is still seen as the party of the rich. It does badly in urban areas, particularly outside the South East.”

But Mr Cameron said: “I don’t accept either of those points.

“The top tax rate is higher now than it was for all but one month of 13 years of the Labour Government.

“We were left a budget deficit bigger than Greece.We were left an enormous hole that the last Government dug and it takes time to get the country out of that.”

“That means taking some difficult and unpopular decisions.”