UK's Cameron puts economy centre-stage in re-election bid

UK's Cameron puts economy centre-stage in re-election bid

MANCHESTER, England - British Prime Minister David Cameron cast a national election in 2015 as a choice between his "pro-business" ruling Conservative party and what he called the anti-business opposition Labour party.

In a speech to his party's annual conference in the northern English city of Manchester on Wednesday that was heavy on party political rhetoric, Cameron placed Britain's economic recovery at the heart of his bid for re-election.

"Let us never forget the cast-iron law of British politics," Cameron told delegates. "It is Labour who wreck our economy and it's we Conservatives who clear it up."

Urging voters to give him and his party the chance to "finish the job" in fixing Britain's economy, he warned that its debt crisis was far from over, saying it still had one of the biggest budget deficits in the world.

"Our economy may be turning the corner, and of course that's great, but we still haven't finished paying for Labour's debt crisis."

Trailing Labour by 11 percentage points according to one recent survey, Cameron's team is trying to extract political capital from Britain's economic recovery, telling voters they alone can be trusted to keep the $2.5 trillion economy on track.

But stagnant wages and rising living costs have left his party vulnerable to a Labour charge that most people are not yet feeling the benefits of any economic upturn.

Championing private enterprise as the best way of improving living standards, Cameron responded directly to that charge.

"I see that Labour have stopped talking about the debt crisis and now they talk about the cost of living crisis. As if one wasn't directly related to the other," he said.

"If you want to know what happens if you don't deal with a debt crisis... and how it affects the cost of living... just go and ask the Greeks," he said, invoking Greece's economic crisis.

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