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Cameron admits neglecting human face of downturn

After his party's mauling at last week's local elections:

UK: British Prime Minster David Cameron on Monday said his party's focus on economic facts and figures rather than the human costs of recession led to his party's mauling at last week's local elections.

But he vowed to resist calls from the right-wing fringe of his Conservative Party to change tack and said he would "fiercely" strive to implement what he believed was a fair society.

"When people think about the economy they don't see it through the dry numbers of the deficit figures, trade balances or inflation forecasts," he wrote in Monday's edition of the centre-right Daily Telegraph.

"The questions that matter are: 'Is my job and my family's future secure? Are there worthwhile jobs for my children? Above all, can I afford to fill the car, get the weekly shop and make the numbers add up at the end of the month?" Cameron faced signs of unrest from within his own party on Sunday after the ruling coalition took a beating in mid-term elections.

Outspoken lawmaker Nadine Dorries said Cameron could be removed, while others from the right wing of the party also went on the attack after voters suffering from a double-dip recession switched to the Labour opposition.

"Unless there is a dramatic change of tack, it is almost certain that David Cameron and George Osborne will be replaced within a year," Dorries wrote in the Mail on Sunday newspaper.

"Their downfall will have been brought about by arrogance and a sneering disregard for true Conservative values," she wrote.

Dorries' attack was the second in two weeks after she branded the pair "two posh boys who don't know the price of milk." Both Cameron and Osborne come from privileged backgrounds.

Cameron wrote in Monday's Telegraph that the results had sent him a "loud and clear" message about what was expected: but he was unwilling to bend to the will of the extreme wing of his party.

"Let me spell this out," he wrote.

"I am sceptical of those who claim to draw the answer to every problem from a loud ideology, but I am fierce in my commitment to a fair society in which effort is rewarded, work pays, and the state is there to help people but not shape every part of our lives." Capping the worst month of Cameron's two years in power, Labour took control of 32 councils in Friday's elections and won more than 800 seats at the expense of the Conservatives and their coalition partners the Liberal Democrats.

Britain slid back into recession last month after its economy shrank in the first quarter.

Veteran Conservative lawmaker Brian Binley said Sunday that Cameron should "wake up and smell the coffee."

Another, Bob Stewart, called for some "sanity" in next Wednesday's Queen's Speech.

While the speech is delivered by Queen Elizabeth II in parliament, it is written by the government, setting out their plans for the coming parliamentary session.

AFP

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