Tory leader David Cameron has cited civil partnerships for gay couples as a good thing that was achieved by Labour.

Addressing delegates at the Conservative Party Conference, he listed civil partnerships along with the minimum wage and devolution as good things.

However, he praised Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith and said he would be put in charge of mending “broken” society.

Duncan Smith is the head of the Centre for Social Justice, which recommended in July that some rights of same-sex partners who are not biological parents should be downgraded.

Responsibility was a key theme of the speech, with the line “If you take responsibility, we will reward you. If you cannot, we will take care of you”. Cameron also repeatedly mentioned “family, community, country”.

“Recognising that what holds society together is responsibility and that the good society is a responsible society,” he said.

“That’s what I’m about. That’s what any government I lead will be about.”
In contrast to Gordon Brown’s address to the Labour faithful in Brighton last week, Cameron’s speech appeared to be directed far more at the country rather than the party itself.

Rather than listing policies, the speech focused more on a Conservative philosophy based on ideas such as responsibility and community.

Cameron attacked the layers of bureaucracy and red tape that Labour had imposed on the country.

Alluding to the recent scandal of Baroness Scotland’s illegal cleaner, he said that laws were so complicated, even the Attorney General cannot keep them.

The deeply personal speech also mentioned his disabled son Ivan, who died earlier this year. Samantha Cameron was shown smiling but looking tearful as her husband paid tribute to her.

“Tough choices” was an inevitable part of the speech and Cameron cited the “frankly enormous” national debt.

Moving back to responsibility, he said the only responsible thing for politicians to do was to make unpopular moves such as raising the retirement age, freezing public sector pay and cutting spending.

“If we cut big government back, if we move society forward and if we rebuild responsibility, then we can put Britain back on her feet,” Cameron said.

“I know that today there aren’t many reasons to be cheerful. But there are reasons to believe.

“Yes, it will be a steep climb. But the view from the summit will be worth it.”

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