This month marks 10 years since David Cameron became Tory leader. What’s so special about these 10 years?
David Cameron ascended to the top post in the Conservative Party in December 2005, becoming the party’s youngest leader for over one hundred years.
After spending 4 years as the leader of the opposition, Mr Cameron led the Conservatives to victory in the 2010 general election. He called for a fresh election in May 2015, and was returned as Prime Minister, with an increased mandate.
Mr Cameron’s lengthy leadership has been eventful. Here are some of the major developments, during his decade at the top.
1.) Despite Mr Cameron’s electoral success for the Conservatives, party membership has fallen
ConservativeHome claimed that the Conservative Party has a membership base of approximately 134,000 people. Tory party membership has halved since 2005, as reported by the Daily Telegraph in 2013.
This trend is not exclusive to the Conservative Party; Labour and the Liberal Democrats have also seen declines in their membership bases. Party membership in general has fallen to a “historic low”, according to a report by the official UK Parliament website.
2.) The economy has gone full-circle – boom to bust, bust to boom
The end of an economic boom under Labour in 2008 facilitated Mr Cameron’s rise in popularity in the polls, and Mr Cameron was elected Prime Minister in 2010, and in one speech promised to set out a “strategy for growth”.
The economy has experienced a return to economic growth under Mr Cameron’s leadership, with growth centred largely around “London and the South East”, according to a report by PwC in 2015.
3.) Immigration has become a major political issue
In the UK, net migration hit 336,000 in the year to June 2015, according to the ONS. The level of net migration in the years 2005 to 2015 represents a period of record net migration to the UK. In the previous decade, it had been half as much.
This rise in net migration has been noticed. The general public listed net migration as “the most important issue facing Britain’, pollster Ipsos Mori claimed, as part of a recent poll of top issues in November 2015.
4.) Britain’s membership of the EU is now in question
In 2013, Mr Cameron announced he would allow an EU referendum to take place, stating that “people must have their say”, in a speech made in 2013.
He promised that, if he formed a new government following the 2015 election, he would allow an in/out EU referendum to take place, sometime around late 2017.
5.) Mr Cameron is on track to be the 2nd longest-serving leader of the Conservatives, in the postwar era
During the 2015 election campaign, David Cameron announced he did not intend to run for a third term, if he led a new majority government, after the election.
If he resigns as Prime Minister before the 2020 election, he will become the 2nd longest serving leader of the Conservatives, since 1945. To date, Mr Cameron has not experienced any overt challenges to his leadership, as his predecessors did.