Page last updated at 17:46 GMT, Thursday, 8 June 2006 18:46 UK

Tories 'not creatures from space'

Oliver Letwin
Mr Letwin believes Labour voters are willing to listen to the Tories again

The man leading a review of Tory policy has said party members must convince voters in Labour heartlands they are not "creatures from outer space".

Oliver Letwin said there could not be any "no-go areas" if Conservatives were serious about forming a government.

The West Dorset MP claimed one of the biggest challenges would be to persuade people that their lives could be improved by voting Conservative.

He said he was in no rush to publish suggestions about the way forward.

"I'm totally relaxed about that. I have no feeling of compulsion at all to hurry. We have a programme. We are following it."

Mr Letwin said the Tories had failed to use what he described as the "luxury of opposition" before David Cameron became leader last December.

However, he insisted that non-Conservatives were now willing to listen to his party because they were unhappy with the Labour government.

"People can see that there is a problem and that's part of the reason they are willing to talk to us," he said.

"Not because they have suddenly become in huge numbers conservative, but because they can see there is a problem with a one-party state."

Mr Letwin's report into the future direction of the party is unlikely to be published before the end of next year.

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