Speaking at a packed meeting of the Conservative Political Forum held in Steventon and chaired by Giffin Lorimer, Michael Gove, MP for Surrey Heath and a Times columnist, spoke about the current political scene.
Of Gordon Brown, he said that he would have less of a feel for Middle England than the current Prime Minister and would be less keen on the "choice" agenda. He was by instinct a centraliser rather than a delegator, and there would be more meddling and intervention. But it would be a mistake to think that under his leadership there would be a lurch to the left.
He said that, while immigration and Europe were important political issues, there was a risk that voters might think Conservatives over-emphasised their salience. We needed to focus on our message on the public services, and not give the impression that we wanted to help people escape from them. We should make the case for tax cuts; these were not something sordid, but part of an economic story that led to increased competitiveness and greater prosperity for all.
We needed to decentralise decision making, and restore confidence in professionals.
Finally he urged the Leadership contest to focus on the positive qualities of the candidates - rather than on their negative features.
Michael Gove answered questions on a range of issues from Iraq to flat taxes, and was thanked at the end of the evening by Sir George for a quality performance - symbolic of the energy and frsh-thinking of the new intake of MP's