Letwin: Coalition has allowed us to be more radical

The creation of a power-sharing government has enabled Tory ministers to pursue a more radical agenda than they might have managed on their own, the man who helped negotiate the deal said yesterday.

Oliver Letwin told The Independent fringe meeting that the coalition was operating like a "dream" and that its ministers were intent on having as revolutionary an impact on public life as Baroness Thatcher achieved in the 1980s. Mr Letwin, a Cabinet Office minister, said there were "incredible strengths" in the partnership.

While the Tories had wanted to secure an overall victory in the May general election, he said, there were "a lot of compensating advantages" in coalition. He argued that the coalition partners' commanding Commons majority – and the establishment of a fixed-term parliament – made it possible to drive through a programme that would have been very difficult with a tiny majority. He told the meeting: "At the moment it's a dream... the trust between us I think is unshakeable."

Mr Letwin said the election of Nick Clegg as the Liberal Democrat leader had been essential for the Tories to be able to share power.

"The tendency in the Liberal Democrat party that had had a lot of overlap with us for a long time had a marked influence on their programme at the last election."

Independent Live in association with John Lewis Partnership Download a podcast of this interview in full at Independent.co.uk/live