David Cameron is the leader of the Conservative Party. Cameron studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford, gaining a first class honours degree. He then joined the Conservative Research Department and became Special Adviser to Norman Lamont, and then to Michael Howard. He was Director of Corporate Affairs at Carlton Communications for seven years. A first candidacy for Parliament at Stafford in 1997 ended in defeat but Cameron was elected in 2001 as the Member of Parliament for the Oxfordshire constituency of Witney. He was promoted to the Opposition front bench two years later, and rose rapidly to become head of policy co-ordination during the 2005 general election campaign. Cameron was viewed by some as a young, moderate candidate, who would appeal to young voters, and in 2005 he won the Conservative leadership election. His early leadership saw the Conservative Party establish an opinion poll lead over Tony Blair's Labour; the first in over ten years. Although they fell behind shortly thereafter when Gordon Brown became Prime Minister, under Cameron's leadership the Conservatives have been consistently ahead of Labour in the polls.