Former Cabinet minister Michael Portillo today warned that Britain has been through a phoney recession and that people should brace themselves for things to get worse.
He also told a member of the Shadow Cabinet that a new Tory government should aim to be as unpopular as possible after four years.
Speaking today at the British Property Federation annual conference in London the former minister said that when asked by a Shadow Cabinet member over lunch what they should look to have achieved after four years, he said:
"Be as unpopular as you can. That's the only way you know you'll have taken the difficult decisions.
"If Labour goes into Opposition they will loose the next election. There will be scores to settle and fights to be had and they could last a decade.
"Cameron will not make any changes to his central team of Osborne, Letwin and Gove. There's not a sheet a paper between them."
He said figures suggested that all departments would face cuts of 13.5% if spending on health and education was ring-fenced.
"We need the public finances to be sorted out before we can have economic recovery and sustainable growth."
"We've been through a phoney recession that's been the result of media comment and a fall in public confidence.
"Purchasing power has remained largely unchanged and in some cases has even gone up. But around the corner are large spending cuts and tax increases."
Portillo said that the prime minister and chancellor were very weak adding:
"There's an ugly mood of unfairness right now. The next problem will be inflation."
Speaking about his previous leadership ambitions, he said:
"Wanting to be prime minister takes a certain type of person - Blair, Brown and Cameron. I probably didn't want it enough, much like David Miliband."