Theresa May ally David Lidington urges her to make 'first principles' case for conservatism
Theresa May’s de facto deputy has called on her to make the case for conservatism "from first principles" at this year’s party conference.
David Lidington, the Cabinet Office minister charged with overseeing Britain’s domestic agenda and Brexit, called on the PM not to forget “left behind” parts of the country - as he suggested she could serve a full term as leader.
In an interview with the Guardian, he said: "Yes, I do think we’re going to get through to 2022.
"I think people underestimate the degree to which most Conservative MPs, and certainly most Conservative members in the country, want to get behind the government and the PM and get things done."
Asked if he thought Mrs May should lead the Tories into the next election, he said: "If I were to say no, which I’m certainly not going to say, that then becomes dagger-wielding. If I say yes, that’s turned into a great plot of some kind. So as long as she’s got the energy to continue, she’ll have my support to do it."
And asked if his leader needed to remake the case for conservatism in Britain, he said: "As a party, I think we have to make again, from first principles and telling stories to illustrate it, the reasons why we believe that a free-enterprise economy is the best way to deliver both high living standards in the face of global competition and digital technology, and at the same time enable individual men and women to have greater freedom for themselves and their family."
His comments come ahead of the Conservative party conference in Birmingham.
The PM is expected to unveil a raft of policy proposals to "refocus" her party’s work on domestic issues outside of Brexit.