New Right piles the pressure on Cameron and Osborne

They want Tories to crush Lib Dems at polls

One of the opening lines of the most talked-about book of this year's conference season reads: "It is unlikely that the Conservative Party will fight for a further five years of coalition government in 2015." The authors cannot, with confidence, use the word "impossible", which reveals a growing tension within the party that will hang over this week's conference in Manchester: on the one side are the arch-coalitionists, some in the Cabinet, who would prefer to carry on with the Liberal Democrats after 2015 and, on the other, a growing band of MPs who want David Cameron to set out a distinctive right-wing manifesto to crush Nick Clegg's party on polling day. We can call this group the New Right and it includes, though not exclusively, MPs elected in 2010.

The book in question is After the Coalition, a collection of essays by five of their number, including Kwasi Kwarteng and Liz Truss, both tipped as future cabinet ministers. The authors claim Downing Street is "relaxed" about what they call their "grid map" to 2015 – but this is, in effect, the New Right's Bible. They call for a balanced budget over an economic cycle, the reining in of spending when there is a deficit, reform of public services, allowing free schools to make profits and a more robust Euroscepticism.

In the past week, there are signs that No10 has already conceded some ground, although there are more populist measures that have delighted the Daily Mail, including the return of weekly bin collections and a crackdown on gangs.

But on the economy and Europe, two of the biggest issues preoccupying Tories, Mr Cameron and his Cabinet are under pressure from the New Right to go further. The Chancellor, George Osborne, yesterday warned that he could not promise "tax cuts for Christmas" and insisted that the overriding priority was to reduce the deficit. But the authors of After the Coalition, and many other MPs in the New Right, are demanding that Mr Osborne get rid of the 50p top rate of income tax, a pressure that the Chancellor is, for now, resisting. On Monday, more than 20 Tory MPs, mainly from the 2010 intake but also including the Treasury select committee chairman Andrew Tyrie, will launch the Free Enterprise Group, which will call for a more competitive economy and less state control than even Mr Cameron has envisaged.

Ms Truss said that the group was "really about trying to change the attitude in Britain towards free enterprise", because countries such as China, the US and Germany are more positive about it. Mr Tyrie yesterday criticised Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne for failing to set out a consistent and radical plan for economic growth. The Chichester MP told The Times: "A coherent and credible plan for the long-term economic growth rate of the UK economy is needed. The Big Society, localism, the green strategy – whether right or wrong – these and other initiatives have seemed at best irrelevant to the task in hand, if not downright contradictory to it; likewise, the huge spending hike on overseas aid and the cost of the Libyan expedition."

The New Right is more economically liberal than Tories in government, but its members are also less socially conservative than many in the Cabinet, specifically the Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, who is driving welfare reform, and even the Prime Minister himself.

The MPs argue that Tories should "reclaim the idea of social mobility and meritocracy". In a more liberal twist to one of Mr Cameron's promises, they say the married couples' tax allowance should apply equally to one-earner and two-earner families with children under 16.

Euroscepticism has also changed. No longer is it just about sovereignty and the political aspirations of those on the continent. The New Right's antipathy towards Brussels is driven by a belief that the euro project is "economic madness". While Turkey sits just beyond the EU's borders with its economy growing by 7 per cent, Greece and Italy are in crisis.

The New Right has formed the European Reform Group under George Eustice, Mr Cameron's former press secretary. It has a more international outlook and calls for a greater focus on Britain becoming competitive with China, India and Brazil, instead of being tethered to an increasingly outdated political construct in Europe.

The agenda for the week in Manchester is packed with red meat for Tory traditionalists. Expect get-tough messages on immigration, gangs and welfare. There will be more on Mr Cameron's idea of making jobseekers sign on once a week instead of every fortnight. In response to the August riots, there will be a heavy emphasis on the National Citizen Service for 16-year-olds, which starts next year.

But in response to the growing influence of the New Right, the coalitionists are hitting back. The uber-moderniser Nicholas Boles, policy chief to Mr Cameron in opposition and an MP since 2010, has called on the party to "put away our favourite ideological hobby horses". In the Cabinet, Oliver Letwin, the policy chief, is seen as an arch-coalitionist. And in an interview with The Independent on Sunday today, the Cabinet Office minister, Francis Maude, hails coalition harmony, saying relations are "better tempered and more courteous than they would normally be".

So where does Mr Cameron stand on all this? His speech on Wednesday will play heavily on the theme of social recovery, including more community sentences to ensure criminals are seen to contribute to society. Sources say he will offer an optimistic message to the country beyond the conference hall, expanding on the conference slogan "Leadership for a Better Future".

There will be no "sunlit uplands" redolent of Mr Cameron's 2006 speech, when he called for sunshine to "win the day", but one key phrase in the current latest draft is "there will be better times ahead". The Conservative Party will take Britain on the "right track to get us there".

The big questions this week are: what will this Conservative Party look like by 2015, and can the coalitionists hold back the seemingly unstoppable rise of the New Right?

The Tory new right

Who are they?

The majority are MPs from the 147-strong 2010 intake, 21 of whom are now on the first rung of the ministerial ladder as aides to ministers. Leading lights are Kwasi Kwarteng, Liz Truss, Matthew Hancock, Chris Skidmore, Dominic Raab and Harriett Baldwin.

What do they believe?

Socially and economically liberal, they want a clear Tory mandate for 2015. Eurosceptic, but on an economic, rather than sovereignty-obsessed, basis. Less enthusiastic than David Cameron about prioritising climate change and international aid.

Policy wishlist?

More runways and roads to speed up growth, free schools to make profit, strip the BBC to a bare minimum.

Who do they idolise?

Margaret Thatcher; Michael Gove; Tony Blair without the spending.

What do they wear?

Tieless shirt and jumper under suit jacket for the men, big necklaces and bright jackets for the women.

Life in coalition: What they want from conference

"The best policy for confidence in these difficult times is to show resolution. With the world facing a debt crisis we have a credible plan and should stick to it."

Matthew Hancock, MP West Suffolk

"I would like to see a strong message about the economy and some news about how we are going to try to get it moving again. A serious economic plan for growth."

Kwasi Kwarteng, MP Spelthorne

"We are thinking about the huge challenges Britain faces. We are less competitive compared to the East. On regulation, taxation, education in maths and science, none of those basic economic indicators are very good."

Liz Truss, MP South West Norfolk

"I'm hoping the leadership will make announcements on regenerating economic growth. We need to try harder amid this euro crisis to get Britain back on its feet. We also need to renegotiate our relationship with the EU."

Andrea Leadsom, MP South Northamptonshire

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
News
A poster by Durham Constabulary
news
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine