Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith today promised to get politics out of people's lives, in a major speech setting out the principles on which he aims to reshape Conservative policy.
Policy announcements in the coming years would be built on the "backbone" of five key Tory principles of independence, freedom, choice, security and enterprise, he said.
Labour had stifled individual initiative by interfering in all corners of citizens' and businesses' lives, and by imposing Whitehall directives on doctors, nurses and other public sector workers, said Mr Duncan Smith.
He told an audience of businesspeople in Birmingham: "People don't want grand schemes and elegant theories. What people want, in fact expect, from our democracy is something much more simple and yet far more difficult to achieve.
"They want us to give them the freedom to make life better, to help them when required and to get out of the way when we are not.
"So our policies will result in less politics in people's lives, whereas the Government wants more."
Mr Duncan Smith's speech was intended to set the tone for his leadership and steer the party away from the agenda of tax-cuts, opposition to the euro and hostility to asylum-seekers developed under William Hague.
While stopping well short of repudiating any of his predecessor's policies, the new leader made no mention of tax cuts and insisted that Tories must focus on "the issues that make most difference to people's lives" - health, education and transport.
At the heart of "the most far-reaching renewal of our policies for a generation" was the need to trust the instincts and values of the British people, rather than impose Government plans on them from above, said Mr Duncan Smith.
He said: "'Trust the people' has always been a powerful Conservative rallying cry. It has never let us down in the past, and it will not now."
As Mr Duncan Smith spoke, the Tories sought to play down the importance of a leaked letter in which a member of his front-bench team warned that the party was "grossly unrepresentative of the country at large".
Shadow chief secretary to the Treasury John Bercow wrote: "We are seen by many voters as racist, sexist, homophobic and anti-youth. In short if we are to stand a chance of winning, we have to change our ways."
Party chairman David Davis said that Mr Bercow had been "looking ... at the two worst election results in modern history for our party".
"That's what he was talking about, saying we were in a terrible state. We have had terrible outcomes and what we have to do therefore is review what we are doing and come back and deal with it properly," he said.Reuse content