Byline: BENEDICT BROGAN, JAMES CHAPMAN
GORDON Brown is reeling from a string of disasters, the economy is introuble and the Bad News Budget left a question mark over Governmentcompetence.
So why aren't the Tories doing better? Polls show the party consistently ahead,but David Cameron is under pressure to establish an election-winning lead.
Here, the Tory leader - ahead of his address to the party's spring conference -uses an exclusive interview with the Daily Mail's BENEDICT BROGAN and JAMESCHAPMAN to give his most candid assessment to date of the party's fortunes -and says why he won't change his strategy &
DAVID Cameron has barely sat down on his green sofa before he makes a startlingadmission about how much further his party has to go before it can win backpower.
The Tory leader is still buzzing from what he believes was an effective Torydemolition job on this week's Budget.
But in a searingly candid assessment of the challenges still facing the Tories,he admits it could take another year before the public is ready to give him anelection winning lead.
'We have got to work very hard to convince them we deserve their trust, andthat we'll make the right decision in the interests of the country, that wereally have changed from the party they rejected in 1997,' he says.
On the eve of a crucial address to activists, Mr Cameron admits voters arestill sizing him up as well.
With the family set as the theme for the Gateshead conference, he has taken agamble by allowing cameras into his London home to film his three childrenenjoying breakfast with their parents.
But his decision to allow such access to his young family, including his sonIvan, five, who was born with cerebral palsy, has raised questions about howmuch politicians should parade their families.
He is unapologetic, insisting that the country wants to know what makes himtick. 'At the next general election I'll be asking the public to vote for me astheir Prime Minister,' he says.
'In the world of modern politics they have a right to know more about me and inparticular my values and what drives my political decisions. And what drives meis my family. It's a personal decision and I'm very comfortable with it.' In awide-ranging interview in his Westminster office, the Tory leader can scarcelycontain his eagerness to set out the failings of Gordon Brown after atempestuous eight months in power.
'What's the point of having this weasel, lame, weak, PR-driven, feeble,spin-obsessed Government?' he asks. 'Their approach is to copy what theConservatives have done.
But if you look at the detail they haven't done it. They just pretend to do it.If you are going to drink Coca-Cola you might as well have the real thing.' Butwhen it comes to considering his own party's position his tone changes. …