David Cameron last night set out his blueprint for the future of the Conservatives, saying the party had to change.
The Tory leader said the party had the right values. But he said he was fed up of hearing it was out-of-touch, backward-looking and lacking compassion.
By choosing him as leader the party had voted for change. Now it had to show what that change meant, he said. Mr Cameron was speaking as he unveiled an official "statement of values" for the Tories.
He will ask Conservative members to endorse the values which include putting economic stability ahead of tax cuts and ensuring the party's make-up reflects modern Britain. The final version will be put to a ballot of the party's entire 250,000-plus member-ship, with the result known in time for the annual conference in October.
Mr Cameron has faced criticisms that he has failed to back his claims to be leading the Tories in a new direction with firm commitments.
In a speech in London last night he said "enduring" Tory values were right for the time and for the challenges Britain faced.
But he added: "We know we have to change. I stood for the leadership because I'm fed up with hearing that this party is out of touch, backward-looking and lacks compassion. That's not the Conservative Party I'm leading.
"This party voted for change. Now we have to show what that change means. Not just what we're changing from but what we're changing to.
"We have to show that the change is real, that it means something, that it's built to last. That's why today I'm setting out, in this statement of aims and values, what we stand for and what we're fighting for."
Mr Cameron said the party stood for modern compassionate Conservatism, fighting to improve the quality of life for everyone. He said the test for Tory policies would be how they helped the most disadvantaged in society.
The Tory leader said the challenges facing Britain were building a dynamic economy and a strong society and tackling climate change.
He said Labour could not meet the long-term challenges because it had the wrong values. Mr Cameron also insisted there were major differences between the Tories and Labour. Former Conservative chairman Lord Tebbit has dismissed Mr Cameron's new initiative as "clever marketing", saying it was difficult to see any differences with Labour.
Mr Cameron singled out Gordon Brown - the man he is almost certain to face at the next election - saying there was a clear choice between his approach and that of the Tories. He said Mr Brown would be a Labour Prime Minister who believed that only the state could deliver fairness and who wanted to take an ever bigger slice of people's income in tax and spending.
He said a Labour prime minister, in Mr Brown, would think public services could only be run by the state and would have said and done nothing on the environment.
Mr Brown would continue with Tony Blair's "ineffective authoritarianism".
Mr Cameron concluded: "If we don't change we will let millions of people down."