Cities across the country need to capture the spirit of Birmingham, according to Conservative leader David Cameron.
But the Tory leader was talking about Birmingham during the Victorian era, when it was led by Joseph Chamberlain.
In a speech to the annual conference of the Local Government Association in Bournemouth, he revealed Tory policy was inspired by the achievements of the city's former mayor.
Mr Cameron said his party would give councils more power, allowing them to fight poverty and improve local services.
He said: "I want to talk about the importance of local democracy and the potential of local government.
"About what Joseph Chamberlain, in 19th century Birmingham, called the 'municipal gospel' - the good news of reform, improvement and rebuilding. If ever a city needed a gospel, 19th century Birmingham was it."
He added: "But Chamberlain had a bolder vision for Birmingham. The centre of Birmingham became an economic powerhouse, and a place of beautiful urban design. I want us to recover his spirit. The spirit of civic pride. For there are great things which local government can do."