Oct 1, 2014 9:54 AM
UK's Cameron promises tax cuts, EU battle
The Associated Press
LONDON (AP) British Prime Minister David Cameron promised a tough stance on Europe and tax cuts for millions in a speech designed to rally the Conservative faithful and sway other voters ahead of a national election next year.
Cameron closed the Conservatives' fall conference Wednesday by arguing that four years of austerity under his government had restored Britain to economic health after the Great Recession.
He said that if re-elected he would reduce income taxes for middle-income earners and eliminate them for minimum-wage workers.
He said his government would continue to cut public spending, trimming 25 billion pounds ($40 billion) in the two years after the election.
"We want to cut more of your taxes, but we can only do that if we keep on cutting the deficit," Cameron said. "This is common sense."
Polls suggest Cameron's Conservatives trail the Labour opposition ahead of the election in May.
The Conservatives have also lost supporters and two lawmakers to the populist U.K. Independence Party, which wants Britain to leave the European Union.
Cameron vowed to wrest powers back from the EU before holding a national referendum on whether to quit the 28-nation bloc.
Cameron, 47, was chosen as a modernizing leader in 2005 by a party in decline after its 1980s glory days under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. He was elected prime minister in 2010.
But his support for liberal causes such as gay marriage has left him mistrusted by traditionalists.
He appealed to small-c conservatives by promising to repeal the Human Rights Act introduced by a previous government, replacing it with a British bill of rights.
And he warned that a vote for UKIP and its leader, Nigel Farage, could hand victory to Ed Miliband's Labour Party.
"On the 7th of May you could go to bed with Nigel Farage and wake up with Ed Miliband," Cameron said.