Addressing a capacity audience in Dining Room A at the House of Commons, Oliver Letwin - new Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer - said that Gordon Brown's economic poloicy was simply not sustainable.
"Manufacturing industry is in decline, the balance of trade has got the biggest deficit for three hundred years, and the public finances are unbalanced. The 650,000 jobs lost in manufacturing have been replaced by roughly the same number in the public sector - but you can't run the economy like that and sustain it."
He criticised the Chancellor for raising the funds he needs by "invisible" taxes - on companies; "but this simply made the country less competitive in world markets".
He said that Conservatives would free professional people from the chains of command from Whitehall, and make them more accountable to local people who used public services.
Oliver Letwin was introduced by Sir David Mitchell, thanked by Sir George Young and the dinner was chaired by Sandy Copland.