Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The PM Moves on; It's the Start of a New Era

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The PM Moves on; It's the Start of a New Era

Article excerpt

David Cameron had his last day as Prime Minister today. This afternoon he took his final PMQs, giving his party and the Opposition the chance to pay tribute to his achievements and to wish him well.

He deserved the customary tributes. Mr Cameron has many things to his credit and one of them is as an effective House of Commons performer. He is ready-witted, fluent and articulate at the Dispatch box, a quality not every senior politician possesses. The Commons will miss that. And as Prime Minister, he occupied the role easily and with a good deal of grace both in Westminster and abroad. He conveyed an impression of good humour, humanity and tolerance during his time in office; that mattered. He has said many times that he loves his country and he has done his best for it.

His achievements are real and he has identified them himself, not least his role in putting the economy to rights after its battering in 2008. The willingness of Mr Cameron and Nick Clegg to form a coalition in the national interest at a time of economic uncertainty was a patriotic response to a national crisis. Britain is a more robust economy than it was in 2010, despite post-Brexit uncertainties, and that matters for everyone. And if he did not achieve all his objectives, he can take much of the credit for Britain remaining an attractive place in which to work and do business.

He has had radical reforms to his credit; he takes pride in his introduction of gay marriage. He has presided over the introduction of the national living wage to raise the life chances of the poorest paid workers; he also adopted enthusiastically the Lib-Dem policy of raising the threshold at which individuals pay tax, which takes some of the lowest paid out of tax. His reforms to benefits, meant to ensure that people will always be better off in work and out of hit, have faltered, but it remains a work in progress. As for the reforms in education, they ensured that state-school pupils get a far more rigorous academic education than they did before, in subjects that employers take seriously. …

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