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Meet the candidates for prime minister

David Cameron, Conservative

Photo: Andrew Parsons

David Cameron, Conservative

Leader since: 2005
Age: 43
Career before politics: P.R. executive
Family: Samantha (wife), two sons (one deceased), one daughter
Education: Eton College, Oxford College
Facebook Fans: 31,246

Obama-like qualities: Cameron has transformed the Tories from the “Nasty Party” of the Thatcher era by espousing progressive policies. He has defended the UK’s National Health Service, embraced full equality for gays and bicycled to work to promote environmental conservation. Cameron is young, charismatic and a rising star in British politics, but his attempt to emulate Obama’s campaign style has been undercut by his relatively privileged upbringing. He has attempted to paint himself as an advocate for change — even adopting Obama-like slogans — but a wide-ranging scandal involving members of parliament who claimed extravagant, taxpayer-funded expenses has tarnished Cameron’s sheen along with the rest of the political class. Some opinion polls now have the surging Liberal Democrats, led by the charismatic Nick Clegg, running closely behind Cameron and the Conservatives

Famous gaffe: Cameron is well known for riding a bicycle to work rather than driving, a move that has won him praise from environmental activists and helped the Conservatives appeal to younger voters. But the Tory leader was accused of hypocrisy in 2006 when it was revealed that he had arranged for a security car to follow him every morning carrying his briefcase and shoes. The Tories insisted the arrangement was necessary, but the British press pounced. Cameron was also spotted riding without a helmet, ignoring red lights and cycling the wrong way up a one-way street, mistakes for which he has since apologized.

Youthful indiscretion: As a student at Oxford, Cameron was a member of the exclusive Bullingdon Club, whose members were notorious for excessive drinking and rowdy behavior. Club members were known to indulge in lavish meals with seven courses (and five-course wine lists) and don extravagant suits with brown tail coats and yellow lapels. One notorious party ended with a potted plant thrown through a restaurant window; police chased down and arrested dozens of the club’s members. Cameron has denied he was present at the incident, but has admitted“deep embarrassment” over his membership in the club.

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