David Cameron has said the Conservative Party has made real changes which have helped it win the political momentum from Labour.
David Cameron has been out on the campaign trail
In an interview with ITV Sunday's edition he rejected suggestions he had only given the party a "makeover".
He said he had made "real changes", including more women candidates and putting the environment centre stage.
Chancellor Gordon Brown told the same programme that different factions of the Tories were still arguing.
Mr Cameron conceded that the party had a "fight on its hands" to significantly improve its representation in the north of England. But he said the Conservatives were putting up more candidates there than any other party.
Of his changes to the party, he said: "I don't think it's a makeover, I think these changes are real."
He said nine per cent of Conservative MPs were women and one third of candidates were women.
He said most of the party shared his ideas about green issues, saying the environmental instinct was part of Conservatism.
"The campaign on the environment hasn't been a "spray paint", the reason we got a Climate Change Bill in the Queen's Speech is because we lead the campaign for it," he said.
He said while the Labour Party had had to overthrow "central tenets" - like the commitment to unilateral nuclear disarmament - that was not the case with the Conservatives.
But he said the changes had helped put the party "squarely on the middle ground" and that the momentum was with them.
Opinion polls over the past few months have suggested that Labour are trailing the Conservatives in the run-up to the 3 May local elections.
But the Conservatives would need to achieve one of their biggest swings in votes since 1931 to get an overall majority in the House of Commons.
Mr Cameron said: "I think we have made big progress over the last year and we will keep making progress. We are halfway up the mountain... the last bit can be very challenging, but I think we are going to do it."
He said the party would be ready for a snap election if necessary and would be able to convince people that "the Conservative Party is ready for government."
But Mr Brown said: "They can't come forward with any significant new policies now, because as a political party they are still stuck in this right wing agenda between different factions of the Conservative Party that prevents them reaching agreements."