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 took his last Prime Minister's Questions today, his last parliamentary duty as premier, and it was characteristic of the man, being witty, fluent and combative. Mr Cameron has many things to his credit as PM and one of them is as an effective House of Commons performer. The Commons will miss that. He left the Chamber with the good wishes of the House but also his reputation enhanced as a good parliamentarian, one who took the Commons seriously. He deserved his tributes.

As Prime Minister, too, 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 matters. 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 affects all of us. And if Mr Cameron did not achieve all of 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, to ensure that people will always be better off in work than out of it, have faltered, but it remains a work in progress. As for the reforms in education, they ensured that stateschool pupils get a far more rigorous academic education than they did before, in subjects that employers take seriously. …

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