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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 October 2006, 15:19 GMT 16:19 UK
Tory team to set sights on power
The Conservative logo - A New Direction
David Cameron has promised Tory policies "for the long-term"
The Tories are to begin preparing for power by creating a "dedicated" team to assess how policies would be introduced after a general election victory.

The project is likely to begin at the start of 2008, as attention turns to the publication of a party manifesto.

A 40,000-word book of plans, similar to Lady Thatcher's 1976 publication The Right Approach - will also be produced, a senior party source has confirmed.

A spokesman said it showed "a serious policy process and long-term thinking".

"The policy groups will report next summer," he told the BBC News website.

"From that menu of options and proposals, the shadow cabinet will put together a policy programme, a platform.

"Then they're going to establish this, roughly from January 2008," he said, to work out "how we implement these ideas".

He said the work would be done by party staff consulting with experts and that there would be no "Implementation Office" as such.

'Long-term' plans

The Right Approach, which was written by Chris Patten and Angus Maude, formed the basis of the Tory manifesto in 1979, when Lady Thatcher came to power.

When the Tories publish their next policy document, at the end of 2007, it is expected to be a similar length to this.

On Wednesday, David Cameron used his main speech to the Conservative conference to insist he would make no "pie in the sky" promises on policies but would be developing ideas "for the long-term" instead.

There is no indication yet as to when a general election may be staged.

Tony Blair has said he will step down as Labour leader by September 2007 but his successor will have until 3 June 2010 to hold a nationwide poll.

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