Those of you who submitted questions for us to ask Caroline Spelman will be pleased to know that the Conservative Party Chairman's responses to our "hot potatoes" can now be found in the new issue of The Difference. Questions include:
- President Bush has warned those who wish to pull troops out of Iraq that we risk creating another Vietnam. Is he right?
- In a multicultural society, should bishops be sitting in the House of Lords?
- Do you think potential victims of crime should have the right to use force to defend themselves and their property?
- Is pornography too easily available?
Have the Conservatives gone lukewarm on the EU Referendum?
"Not at all, and recent interviews with David Cameron, and the numerous interviews that William Hague has given, are a clear demonstration that this is something we feel very strongly about, that Brown has broken the manifesto pledge to hold a referendum on the European constitution and there needs to be a debate in parliament. If the government won’t give up its own time to debate this, then we certainly will."How can the Conservatives stay in the news headlines in the run-up to an election?
"With a lot of hard work and planning! There has to be substance, which means we have to do a lot of research. We have to think through the consequences of any announcements and then follow through. You can’t have piecemeal, gimmicky announcements, that don’t hang together as a coherent whole.
"Something we learned through the last election is the importance of being consistent in our language and message: the importance attached to trying to heal the brokenness in our society and trying to help people understand the concept of social responsibility, which means that the problems we see around us are not somebody else’s problems but that we’re all in it together."
See also Caroline's views on Michael Ancram's "simple political creed"