Tory supporters were urged today to turn away from the "yah-boo" politics of the past and unite in creating a 21st century party capable of winning power.
In a rallying speech on the opening day of the Conservative conference, party chairman Mrs Theresa May, warned there was no such thing as "a natural party of government".
The Tories were the only alternative Government, but if they were to prove that and win, they would have to fight hard and earn every vote.
Demonstrating the depth of support the Conservatives must attract, she said: "Rich or poor. Straight or gay. Black or white. Whoever you are, wherever you are from, the Conservative party is for you."
Mrs May also tackled criticism of Iain Duncan Smith's leadership of the party head on, insisting that with him at the helm, the party was "on the right path .. moving in the right direction".
Hailing the conference as the "most important ... in a decade," she said people were starting to look for a new government and wanted to know if the Tories were up to the job.
"The battleground for the next election is already set. The people of Britain are fed up with failing public services. They're fed up with paying more and more tax.
"They're fed up with a Prime Minister who covers up his government's failures with spin and deceit."
The task was not to show how Labour wasn't working but how a Conservative Government will succeed.
"Because for the people of Britain, we are the only alternative government of this country. We are the only party that can bring an end to Labour's years of failure.
"But people need to know if we are ready and this week we must give them a resounding answer yes, we are.
"Everything we say and do must show we are united in purpose."
Urging every party member to have the drive and determination to win, Mrs May said no political party had the right to hold power.
"So if we are to win, we will have to earn it.
"People want an end to the sniping, the point scoring, the ranting and raving that often passes for political debate in Britain today.
"They want a different kind of government. As Conservatives we should take the lead. We should leave the yah-boo stuff to others and instead behave in a way that gives credibility to our promises."
Earlier, at a fringe meeting, the shadow deputy prime minister David Davis urged that the former Chancellor Kenneth Clarke should be recruited to the Tories' frontbench team.
Mr Davis - who along with Mr Clarke contested the last party leadership election - suggested that Mr Clarke's return would strengthen the shadow cabinet.
The Europhile Mr Clarke, speaking at the same event, reacted cautiously to the idea, saying he had not been asked to join Eurosceptic Iain Duncan Smith's team and would "probably" decline any invitation.
Both men said it was important that the party support Mr Duncan Smith's leadership.
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