David Cameron's leaders' interview with Evan Davis

Posted On: 
15th April 2015

David Cameron spoke to the BBC's Evan Davis in latest in the leaders' interview series.

Q: Prime Minister I’d like to start by asking how many marks out of ten would you give yourself for your record so far as prime minister?

A: I don’t think any prime minister should mark their own homework. We’ve taken that out of schools and we I don’t think we should have it in politics either. Look, what I’ve tried to do, leading the first coalition government for 70 years, is effectively to turn the fortunes of the country and to turn the economy round. And two million more people in work, 750,000 more businesses operating in Britain, growing faster than the other major western countries. I think that’s a strong record. But it’s a foundation on which I want to build for the next five years.

Q: I’ll push you a bit harder, because you have said the job is half-done.

A: Yeah.

Q: Which would imply five out of ten. But I think you’d probably think it’s better than that.

A: Well, I think the job is half-done, because what we’ve done is turn the economy round, got Britain going again, but these are foundations on which to build. You know, we got two million more people in work, now let’s get full employment. We’ve cut the deficit in half as a share of GDP, let’s now get rid of it altogether. And that’s what excites me about the next five years, is it’s only with a strong economy that you can achieve the things that we dream of: jobs and homes and livelihoods for more people, more dignity and security in old age. These are the things that are in reach of our country if we stick to the plan and go. So you won’t get marking my –

Q: No, no –

A: You mark my homework.

Q: But not a ten, it wouldn’t be a ten would it? You’d never give it a ten?

A: No, no one ever achieves perfection.

Q: We’ve dug this little leaflet out from the last election, ‘David Cameron’s contract with you.’ It has a sort of number of promises with your signature next to them, and it does say if we don’t deliver kick us out. Now, not all the promises you made at the last election are in here. And a lot of the things in here you’ve done, actually part of them you’ve done, but not all.

A: I’ve got it with me too.

Q: Same as this? That’s one in the bag.

A: I’ve got it too.

Q: That is fine. Now, because you didn’t actually technically meet the contract because you didn’t score on all of them, should we mark you down, maybe give you 20 per cent...

A: I think you should just look through that contract and see what is done and what is isn’t done. And from memory, recall for MPs, that was done. Safeguarding pensioner benefits, that was done. Making sure we took the big decision of investing more in our NHS every year, that was done. But there are some things in there, for instance getting migration, net migration, down to tens of thousands, that we haven’t achieved. But I think we went through it and we saw something like, of the 28 pledges, I think something 22 pretty well fulfilled and others in progress. So I’m prepared – I’m happy for people to look at that and to judge me on the record.

Q: Right, immigration was the one the experts said you couldn’t do. You said you could do it. And you turned out on that one to be wrong. But there are lots of other things that you have said you can do that you can’t do. You said you could get the deficit eradicated, you haven’t done that. You said you wouldn’t reform the NHS. You did reform the NHS.

A: Well, let’s take this one by one.

Q: We could take –

A: No, let’s take –

Q: Let’s take T1, there wasn’t going to be a third runway, a third runway at Heathrow now...

A: It’s good to take these one by one. On the deficit, we said we’d cut it. We cut it by half as a share of our national income. And we said we’d get debt falling as a share of GDP by the end of the parliament, and we have done that. On the NHS we said we’d increase spending every year. That was a very big decision, Evan, because remember the mess we inherited, the appalling situation. And to say we’re going to single out the NHS and keep investing in it every year, that was a big decision and we’ve fulfilled that. More.

Q: Right. So you’re satisfied –

A: On the third runway at Heathrow, we have not built it.

Q: No, no, no. You haven’t. But look, your line is you’ve delivered well, even if you didn’t deliver exactly what you hoped at the beginning. But did you at least over-promise? Now, the reason I ask this is that you’ve been lavishing promises around in the last few days and a lot of experts, like on immigration, say these are going to be very, very difficult to pay for. We only have your word on it.

A: Well, let me answer that very directly. I don’t think we did over-promise at the last election. I was reading my 2010 manifesto today, things that you might ask me about it, and I think what comes across, even though we had a coalition government and couldn’t achieve all the things we wanted to, you know, pledge after pledge has been fulfilled. And in some cases, like on freezing the council tax or on getting people back to work, getting people off benefits, we have over-delivered on what we promised. And as for what we’re pledging in the next parliament, all of what we’ve promised is I think achievable, and in some cases it’s actually more modest that what we’ve achieved in this parliament.

Q: So if you got up at the early hours of the morning and turned on channel 498 and watched one of those infomercials with a bloke selling stuff.

A: Well, I don’t do that, but okay.

Q: He’s sold you – he’s sold you a steam mop that swept and cleaned and you found it didn’t sweep, it just cleaned. And then he came back and said, ‘I want to sell you it again,’ you would say I’ve got to be a little bit suspicious about promises this time because not all of them were delivered last time.

A: Except the key fundamental pledge we made, we said we’d cut the deficit and not the NHS, we have delivered on that. We said we’d turn the economy round and get the country back to work. We’ve delivered on that. We said we’d get people off benefits and into work with the biggest back to work programme in our history. We’ve delivered on that. So I, you know, I would say –

Q: It’s a mixed picture there.

A: Of course. No, we haven’t achieved everything I wanted to, but I would say we’re well down the road. Britain’s far stronger than when I became prime minister, and I think that if we have another five years we can really – not just complete the job in terms of ticking the economic boxes, but what I’m interested in is trying to help and change people’s lives, try and make sure more people get that job off, people can keep more of their own money to spend as they choose, that more people get what I’ve got, which is three children at a great state school in London. That’s what I want to see.

Q: I want to move on to the area of defence. Now, there’s a reason why I’m picking defence, it’s because it’s one of the departments that is not protected. You’ve not ring fenced it from budget cuts under the next – your next government. Now the interesting thing is that you’ve made choices to ring fence some things, but not that one, and a lot of your maths for it to work is going to rely on cuts in departments which you haven’t ring fenced. Why have you chosen not to ring fence defence but you have protected overseas aid and you’ve protected health?

A: Well, the defence budget is three times the size of the overseas aid budget, it’s on a different scale, and rightly so. And we’ve made some important pledges about defence, we’ve said the equipment programme, which is 160 billion over ten years, absolutely essential. When you think of the mess we inherited and the black hole in the defence budget we had to sort out, that is protected and that has a guaranteed above inflation increase every year for a decade. We’ve pledged not to cut further the numbers of regular service personnel in our armed services. We’ve guaranteed to replace in full the Trident submarine, the nuclear deterrent which is essential, in my view, for our nation’s security. Now, we’ll have a full defence review and spending review if we’re in government in the autumn, and that’s the right time to make the final – to make the final choice.

Q: But you would agree –

A: I would challenge the premise of your question, which is I think overall what I’m proposing is somehow not achievable. I would challenge that completely. It is achievable. I’m going to – if I can .. to give you the preliminaries.

Q: No, no. Defence – Defence had big cuts under the last – in the last parliament –

A: But... in cash terms actually.

Q: And all those unprotected departments on average face, over this next parliament, cuts of what perentage?

A: Well, overall department spending has to be reduced by two per cent.

Q: But for the unprotected departments, because a lot of them are protected –

A: Well, what will depend on –

Q: - for the unprotected departments.

A: Let me, let me take this to the big picture. Make it simple. What are we proposing? In the last parliament, we made, we had to make an adjustment of 120 billion in terms of spending reductions and taxes. In this parliament the figure is 30 billion. So it’s a quarter of what we had to achieve in the last parliament. In the last parliament, we cut taxes by ten –

Q: I’m getting bamboozled by – I’m getting bamboozled by figures.

A: But you normally like figures, Evan.

Q: I love them, but there’s one, I only want one. What is the average cut over the next parliament in the unprotected departmental budgets like defence? Given all your promises on health and transport and all those other things, what are the unprotected departments having to cut?

A: Departmental spending overall has to come down by two per cent.

Q: But the unprotected departments can... 15 per cent.

A: That would depend on the individual decisions.

Q: On top of – on top of the cuts and the freeze. Now do you agree –

A: But even this will –

Q: Your manifesto says the world is a more dangerous place, and you have not protected defence. You have defence as a department that is slated for – on other things being equal – 15 per cent.

A: Well, what we did in this parliament, with much tougher circumstances, is we effectively froze the defence budget in cash terms. We are the second largest defence budget in NATO. We’re the biggest in Europe. We’re the fifth biggest defence budget anywhere in the world. We’re protecting the equipment programme. But also Evan I would say this, defending our country is not just about the defence budget, it’s about the counter-terrorism budget which we’ve safeguarded. It’s about our intelligence and security services, which we have safeguarded. And I would also argue that part of our overseas aid budget is about trying to stabilise countries from which the terrorists and the problems come. So I look at – that’s why I set up a National Security Council, because I wanted to make sure we keep our country safe with everything we’ve got at our disposal.

Q: Prime minster, we have a point seven per cent of national income target for overseas aid. We hit hat because it’s an international obligation that we signed up to hit it.

A: Other countries, other countries haven’t, by the way.

Q: ... Yeah, we know.

A: We’re a country that keeps our promises to those parts of the world and we should be proud of it. Proud of it.

Q: Okay, we have a two per cent of national income on defence, NATO obligation. We’ve promised that to our NATO allies. In fact, back at the NATO summit last year you were badgering everybody to come and sign up to the two per cent and meet the two per cent like Britain does. But you’re not going to be able to say to me now, I don’t think that you’re willing to say Britain will stick to its international obligation on defence.

A: Let’s get... the first one. We have all the time I’ve been in government, we have kept that two per cent. We’re keeping it clearly this year and next year. And the other point I’d make is when we met in Cardiff there were dozens of countries in NATO that have never got anywhere near two per cent. Britain has the second biggest defence budget in NATO. And frankly it is time for other countries, particularly European countries, to at least get close to the two per cent that we’ve achieved, been achieving year after year after year.

Q: Can I be clear, we will meet the two per cent for every year that you are prime minister if you’re re-elected?

A: I will make those decision if re-elected –

Q: That’s not an answer.

A: But it is an answer. We’re simply going to make the decisions –

Q: But no.

A: I’m going to make those decision in the autumn when we’ve had the defence review and we look at public spending in the round. But you know, we’ve the fifth biggest defence budget in the world, we’re not the fifth biggest economy in the world.

Q: General –

A: And I will never put our defences at risk.

Q: General Richard Shirreff – number two, General Richard Shirreff, number two in NATO military command: ‘I think what we see now is an army that’s deeply hollowed out as a result of the commitment to this army to what was comparatively a single war in Afghanistan, and a failure to really invest in the sinews that keep an army going. What we have in the last two decades is a form of physical and moral disarmament’.

A: I don’t accept that for one moment. I remember as leader of the opposition in 2006 and 2007 going to Afghanistan and finding our troops did not have the correct equipment, they didn’t have enough helicopters, they didn’t have the right body armour. Under this government we’ve prioritised the equipment programme so our troops and our armed forces are now some of the best equipped anywhere in the world. Evan, take one example, just take the navy, and look what we are building now: the two biggest aircraft carriers that the navy has ever had in our history. Hunter-killer submarines that can patrol the seas silently. A replacement for the Trident nuclear deterrent.

Q: Prime minister, you’re bamboozling me with figures.

A: But these are important.

Q: Look, let’s be clear. We have fewer ships that we had in the Falklands task force back in 1992. If Argentina – it won’t happen because we’ve defended the place there. If Argentina got the Falklands now would we be able to get it back do you think?

A: Well, they’re not going to take the Falklands now.

Q: But would we be able to if they did?

A: The question doesn’t arise because we have Typhoons stations on the Falklands, we have a patrol ship that’s stationed at the Falklands. What we look at is is our country adequately defended against the threats that we have, and my answer to that question is yes, actually. You look at the equipment programme and we’re investing in, British army personnel, navy personnel, RAF personnel will tell you now we have got better equipment than we’ve ever had in our history. And that’s what matters, is actually not the number of battle tanks you’ve got stationed in Germany but have you got the modern equipment to keep our country safe with the threats we face all over the world.

Q: Let us move on  to another piece of your plan, if you take power after the election. There are two big things in the programme that will change or affect household incomes. And one is you’re planning some tax cuts in the later part of the next parliament, and the other is you are planning some significant welfare cuts in the early part of the next parliament, 12 billion pounds. You’ve spelled out what three billion of those are, but you haven’t told us what the other nine is. Can you give any elucidation at all today as to what they likely –

A: Let me return once more to this big picture because I want to get across that it is affordable what we’re saying. So in  the last parliament 120 billion of savings compared with 30 billion this time. We achieved ten billion of tax cuts last time, we’re only planning seven billion this time.

Q: You’re bamboozling me with figures. People look at these figures and say it’s comparing apples and pears and it’s not quite –

A: Well let’s compare.... It is comparing like with like and I’m trying to get across that what we’re proposing is totally affordable and do it just as we did – we have a track record on this. Welfare, it is vitally important we continue to reform welfare. We inherited an out of control welfare system where people were working hard and paying their taxes to support people on welfare who could work but chose not to work. I think that is wrong. Here we are in London doing this interview. There were people living in houses getting housing benefit of 70, 80,90 thousand pounds a year. That was taking four or five working people all their taxes to pay for that benefit. That  was wrong. It needed to change. Do we need to go on reforming welfare? Yes, we do.

Q: Well let’s talk about 12 billion and what 12 billon is, ‘cause I think most people will find that abstract. Let’s suppose you took 12 billion in a  year – that’s your saving – and you divided that across all the households in the country. What would it be roughly?

A: Well it is half as much as the 21 billion that we saved  in the last –

Q: Roughly would it be per household in the country?

A: I think you’re bombarding me with things now, having complained about it.

Q: I’m just asking. So you don’t know.   Shall I tell you what it is?

A: Please do.

Q: It would be £450 per household in the country. Getting in a tenner a week for every household in the country. Now you’re not going to – I don’t think – spread it across all the households in the country. If it’s an average of £450 for each household and it’s not going to be across all households it’s going to be like a thousand, two thousand quid for some households. Aren’t they entitled to say, aren’t we all entitled to say, tell us which households are going to have this cost imposed on them if they vote Conservative.

A: Well, first of all it is right to reform welfare, for the reasons I’ve given and also –

Q: You’ve said that.

A: And also if you want to minimise reductions in spending departments it’s important to reform welfare. Second point is, 12 billion is half of what we saved in the last parliament, again showing  this is affordable and achievable. And the next point I’d make is we have given a very clear pledge that we’re going to freeze unemployment benefit for the first two years of the next parliament. Evan, can you remember at any election any party making as difficult or clear a pledge about welfare as we’re prepared to make before this election?

Q: Excuse me. You are able to tell me the tax cuts in detail with specific numbers, the tax cuts you’re going to make in 2018,19 and 20 but you cannot tell me the bigger welfare cuts that you’re making next year. That’s terribly cynical isn’t it? It’s good news, we tell you that.

A: We’ve set out – we’ve set out the biggest ones as you say of the 12 billion. The 12 billion is half of the 21 billion that we achieved in the last parliament, but also there’s this point, Evan. Part of this is continuing with a programme that we’ve had. We have been getting people off what was called Incapacity Benefit and back into work. We’re going to continue with that, successfully reducing welfare –

Q: So Incapacity Benefit will go down? The Bill go down under –

A: we believe – it’s not called incapacity benefit anymore but we’re convinced we can go on getting people back to work.

Q: Child benefit, is that one going to go down? Is that – the people who get child benefit should they expect it to be going down if you win?

A: No, we’ve made our reforms and people can see what we’ve done. We’ve said for instance –

Q: But you need to – you need to find 12 billion. You need to be getting 450 for every household in the country.

A: I said for instance we’re going to go on with the work we’ve announced, about saying that young people should no longer have the option of leaving school, signing on and getting housing benefit straight away. They should be either earning or learning. If we’ve successful in creating the two million  jobs in the next parliament, just as we’ve created two million jobs in this parliament, that is a million higher than the current forecast and that will reduce the benefits bill. So there’s a whole programme of work which if we continue with it we’ll continue to get welfare down.

Q: Pity you’ve been in government for five years and you’ve been unable to do that work hitherto. Look, Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister says, it’s impossible to do what you want to do without hitting children, without hitting the poor, without hitting the disabled. You can’t deny that, can you because you don’t know where the cuts are even going to come.

A: Nick Clegg thought it was impossible to carry out our economic strategy and get the country back on track. We managed to persuade him it was the right thing to do –

Q: He was deputy Prime Minister. He joined in. He stands by all of that –

A: He did  join in.

Q: He said – can you deny it will hit the poor and the disabled or hit children?

A: Our principles we will apply is first of all we should protect the most vulnerable people in our country and we have throughout this government protected their benefits. Second of all we must make sure work pays – that’s a crucial part of our  -

Q: Prime Minister, if you don’t know where the cuts are how can you say any of these things are going to achieved or who is going to be hurt? How can you deny that the poor, the disabled or children will be hit if you don’t know where the cuts are coming?

A:  Well if you let me finish I’m explaining the principles we’re going to apply. So you protect the poorest and most vulnerable, you make sure that work pays and you also protect pensioners because it’s more difficult for them to change their circumstances.

Q: Does that add up to £450 per household?

A: Well as I said, that is half the level

Q:  Does that get you  12 billion? But you don’t know it gets you 12 billion because if you knew it got you 12 billion you’d be able to tell us where they’re coming.

A: I’m confident, with a track record of five years

Q: Ah you’re confident.

A: where we cut welfare by 21 billion we can now find 12 billion of savings. I’m confident that having made a £120 billion of adjustment in the last parliament we can find that further 30 billion. We we’re saying here, in order to put it in context, is we’ve got to save one out of every hundred pounds for what the government spends for two more years. That is the scale of what we’ve got to do. It’s not easy. 

Q: I need to stop on that one, cos it sounds very little when you say £1 for every hundred and over two years, but for the bits of government that are under your control, the bits of spending, it turns out to be a great deal bigger than that, doesn’t it? For working age welfare 12 billion is a huge sum. For unprotected departments that £1 in a hundred turns out to be 15% over the parliament.

A: But with respect this is what the Labour Party, and a lot of commentators warned about in 2010. They said if you go ahead with spending reductions and inefficiencies you will destroy public services in our country and it’s turned out to be nonsense. We’ve got a million more children in good or outstanding schools, a health service carrying out more operations and more scans and helping more people –

Q: and people will judge the record  for themselves.

A:  Yes also let’s look at areas –

Q: No but people will judge the record. We need to move on and people will judge the record, they’ve heard what you say and they’ll judge the record for themselves.

A: You know we should look at the outputs of these services. Take the police. Crime is down 20% even though they’ve had to do it -

A: People will just the record. They’ll have their own view and it won’t be on the basis of statistical brit bats I’m sure. Look, I want to move on and I want to give you a chance really to rebut what is, I think, one of the central objections people have to the Conservative Party and it’s that it’s a party for the rich.  You’ve heard this before, there’s polling evidence that shows this. I can quote it to you but let’s not

A: This makes me more angry than almost anything else.

Q: I want to give you the chance to rebut it, because I think it is what puts a lot of people off the party. Let me just ask you, do you agree that there are – there are lots of deserving rich people, right, there are lots of people who’ve been enterprising, successful, they’ve created wealth and they’ve earned it. Do you agree that there are lot of rich  people who are undeserving?

A: Well I believe there are rich people who should pay their taxes and should make a big contribution in terms of taxes to our country. But what infuriates me so much about this is I think of what we’ve done. We’ve taken three million of the lowest paid people out of tax. We’ve got two million more people –

Q: That’s the bottom end done but I’m focusing on the top end. I want to focus on the top end.

A: Well actually it’s the people at the bottom end that I care about. That’s what this government has been about. Is more good schools for children from low income backgrounds getting people into work who’ve been unemployed.  And also the other thing

Q: Quite a lot of people, quite a lot of people think yes, there’s a policy there for the bottom but they find it very distasteful that some of the people at the top, frankly, they think, are taking the mick. Now I just wonder whether you share that view?

A: Yes.

Q: You do?

A: Yeah. There are people who don’t pay their taxes who damn well should.

Q: Is it just about taxes?

A: Well I think there’s a very important point which is, you know, we’ve got businesses in Britain that have arranged their affairs so they don’t pay taxes in Britain and we’ve gone after them. The first government to introduce a Diverted Profit tax to make sure they pay their money.

Q: But you’re reducing it to taxes and I’m wondering whether there isn’t more to  people’s distaste for some of the rich than just whether they pay taxes. Let  me – let me ask you this. You once said, ‘I feel physically sick when I think about giving votes to prisoners as being asked by the European Human Rights Court. I feel physically sick.’ Do you feel physically sick when you see rapacious capitalists – for example care companies telling their staff on  minimum wage that they’re not going to be paid for the hours they spend driving –

A: Yes. That I find totally offensive.

Q: You find that offensive?

A: where companies –

Q: Property developers.

A: No if you’re going to ask me questions like

Q: Right, go on yeah.

A: We have put more investigative power into the authorities to get after these companies that don’t pay the minimum wage, and there are many in the care sector, and  we’re actually seeing more companies pay higher penalties because of that and I’m proud of that because that does make me very angry when I see that.

Q: Right. Property developers who are building luxury flats rather than affordable homes, bamboozling local authorities into getting planning permission for things that are not suitable for lower paid people.

A: property developers should be building –

Q: Do they make you angry?

A: They should be building a range. Look,  they’ve got to do what they’ve said they’re going to do.  If they get planning permission for one thing and build something else that’s wrong, but property developers should be building houses. Now that means market houses, it means affordable houses, it means starter homes and there’s a very good track record there now of homes being built, and helping more people onto the housing ladder. Again –

Q: What about contractors overcharging government? You know big contractors, big companies, lots of government contracts

A: yes, infuriating, maddening. I mean yes.

Q: What is it interesting, prime minister, is that I don’t think people feel they get that.

A: Well I’m very glad you’re giving me this opportunity. Look when

Q: So do you feel physically sick?

A: I feel as prime minister I feel directly responsible for not wasting people’s money and when I find companies –

Q: Slum landlords, does that make you really annoyed?

A: Yes, of course, of course. You know go back to the last one before you jump onto the next one. You know I get – I’m infuriated when businesses overcharge government say for IT programmes for large projects. And again this government’s taken action.

Q: You’ve given us .. what I want to do now is I want to play you clip, okay, it’s  a clip, it’s a piece of political history. It’s 23 years old, it’s back at the Conservative Party Conference in 1992 when you were a junior in the Party. Peter Lily, the Social Secretary gave a sort of parody of a Gilbert and Sullivan song there talking about the people that he wanted to deal with. Let’s just have a look at that clip.

‘I’ve got a little list of benefit offenders who I’ll  soon be rooting out and who never would be missed. They never would be missed.  There’s those who make up bogus claims in half a dozen names, there’s young ladies who get pregnant just to jump the housing queue and dads who don’t support the kids of the ladies they have kissed.’

Q: Can you imagine any Conservative minister making a speech like that about people at the upper end of the income scale?

A: Yes. I can.

Q: Can you?

A: I mean look, well I think we’ve acted. More people are paying penalty notices for underpaying their staff. We’re cracking down on businesses that overcharge government. The richest – back to tax – but the richest one percent in our country pay 27% of total income tax which is a higher percentage than was the case under Labour.

Q: Partly reflecting of course how rich they are and how much they earn.

A: Also we charge foreigners stamp duty on expensive properties in London for the first time. We’ve made sure they’ve paid capital gains tax which they didn’t do before. I’ve led an entire world effort through the G8 to make sure we crack down on tax evasion and aggressive tax avoiding by getting people – countries to share tax information. 

Q: Okay, we’re seeing some real passion from you. One of the things, every since that speech, that Peter Lily speech there has been this image of the Conservative Party as the ‘nasty party,’ hasn’t there?  Picking on the poor. Focusing on welfare recipients. Do you think that has been a problem? Would someone be able to make that speech now, has your party changed?

A: Well it’s not – that is not what I see as the Conservative Party. I see as the Conservative Party a group of people who are passionately patriotic about your country, who believe that Conservative policies can actually help the poorest and those with least in our country because we want education and schools that give people the chance to make the most of their talents. We want to create an economy that creates well paid jobs and careers –

Q: So that speech wouldn’t be made now?

A: I think someone would make a speech today, rightly, about how we need to  make sure welfare isn’t wasted.

Q: But not like that. It’s the tone I’m talking about here.

A: Yeah, look tone is important like you said, but look there will be people watching this programme who go out, who work damn hard every day, they pay their taxes. They don’t pay their taxes so that people who can work choose not to. You know, the reward sometimes for irresponsible behaviour can drive people mad – can drive me mad and that’s one of the reasons to reform welfare.

Q: Last question. Since 1992, in fact since that speech, the Conservative Party hasn’t properly won an election. Hasn’t won a majority in the House of Commons. Why do you think that is the case?

A: I think you have to take each election in turn. I think at the last election when we came close I think frankly people were very worried about the state of the economy, we were teetering on the brink and they weren’t fully sure we had all the ideas and plans. What I would say is this time people can see a track record. An economy turned round, more people in work, the deficit paid down, Britain on the brink of something special turning that good economic news into good news and a good future for you can your family and this time I believe they can put their trust in me and in the Conservative Party to deliver that better future for the country.

Q: And if  you win in having the most seats and you don’t have a majority would you feel that’s a failure or a success?

A: Oh, I’m going for a majority.

Q: So a big failure?

A: We are only 23 seats short and if I fall short of those 23 seats I will feel I have not succeeded in what I want to achieve. And it’s not about me. This is actually about people’s jobs, people’s livelihoods, the chance of a better future and I think the country frankly right now wants a majority government. A decisive government. A government that’s fully accountable. And there is this fear, rightly, that if we don’t get that we could end up with Ed Miliband propped up by the SNP really wrecking this country and that frightens me.

Q: Prime Minister, thank you very much indeed.

A: Thank you.