David Cameron should not be rushed into publishing detailed policies, according to former Cabinet Member John Redwood.
He was speaking as he prepared to visit Warwick University today, as part of a review of Tory policies on manufacturing and economic competitiveness.
Lord Lamont, the former Chancellor, had warned that Mr Cameron needed "more policies, more quickly".
He was echoing the complaint of some Tory critics as well as Labour politicians, who accuse Mr Cameron of changing the image of the Conservative Party without explaining what he would do in Government.
But Mr Redwood said the Conservatives would publish their plans in the summer of 2007 - leaving plenty of time before a General Election, which he did not expect to take place until 2010.
The former Welsh Secretary, who twice stood for the party leadership, is visiting Warwick in his role as chairman of the Economic Competitiveness Policy Group, a body set up by Mr Cameron to help shape Conservative economic policy.
He will meet staff from Warwick's International Manufacturing Centre, one of the world's leading manufacturing research and study centres, including the director, Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya.
He said: "I'm very optimistic. I think David Cameron has done a very good job so far.
"We are now ahead of Labour in the polls. We are consistently in the upper 30s or 40 per cents. But there is much more to do.
"My personal view is that we will be lucky to get an election before 2010, because Labour is in such a mess.
"I can't see Labour going for an early defeat. That gives us a lot of time to prepare."
He disagreed with Lord Lamont's call for Mr Cameron to publish detailed policies more quickly.
"I think David Cameron is right, we can afford to take 18 months to exhaustively look at the difficulties and opportunities facing this country.
"We will complete that exercise by the summer of 2007. There will be no election before then. It will leave us plenty of time to explain and refine those policies in the run-up to the general election."
Mr Redwood said his visit to Warwick would help shape party policy.
"I want to hear the views of Lord Bhattacharyya and others about the state of UK manufacturing industry and the obstacles facing it. I also want to talk about how universities such as Warwick can have a productive relationship with industry."
He would also discuss ways that universities could attract more private funding, he said.
"A big area of interest will be the question of how Britain can help drive the knowledge revolution - the economy based on the internet, the high technology communications world, and how manufacturing can be modernised."