David Cameron will promise to foster “aspiration” and give school sport a £150m cash boost when he addresses the Conservative party’s spring conference after a bruising couple of weeks.

Following the disastrous Eastleigh by-election, which saw the Tories beaten into third by UKIP, and just days before a Budget, the Prime Minister’s speech is being viewed as a key test of his leadership.

Mr Cameron will tell activists his approach chimes with the Tory values of highly-popular figures such as Margaret Thatcher and Winston Churchill as he attempts to calm restive activists.

“The global race is not just about GDP,” he will say.

“It’s about saying to the mum who’s worried about her children’s future, we are building a country where there is a future, so your kids won’t have to get on a plane to get on in life, they can make it right here in Britain.

“It’s what this party’s always been about – aspiration.”

In a swipe at Labour opposition to tough benefit cuts being rolled out as part of the deficit reduction, he will paint them as “patronising people, patting them on the head and putting a benefit cheque in their hands”.

Instead the Government was “giving people the tools to succeed”.

Mr Cameron – who has come under fire from backbenchers over his “posh, male and white” inner circle – will acknowledge the “leg-ups” he enjoyed in life.

“I know the leg-ups I got in life. A loving family, wonderful parents, a great school and university.

“We want people to climb up through their own efforts, yes, but in order to climb up they need the ladder to be there in the first place, the family that nurtures them, the school that inspires them, the opportunities there for them.

Home Secretary Theresa May
Home Secretary Theresa May will also give a speech later today

“Great Conservatives down the generations have put those ladders in place. When Churchill invented the labour exchanges that helped people into work.

“When Macmillan built new homes. When Thatcher fired up enterprise so people could start their own businesses. That’s what we’re doing in the Conservative Party right now.”

Mr Cameron will say the £150m a year cash injection for school sport will help bolster coaching for pupils in England.

A primary school with 250 pupils would receive £9,250 per year – this is around two days a week of a primary teacher or a coach’s time, he will say.

At the conference today, Home Secretary Theresa May – who last week fuelled leadership ambition speculation with a speech which ranged far beyond her policy brief – will also give a speech.

She is reported to have been the target of Education Secretary Michael Gove’s private warning to Tory Cabinet ministers earlier this week not to undermine David Cameron’s position as PM.

But her speech is expected to be restricted to home affairs issues.

London Mayor Boris Johnson on Friday told Conservative Cabinet ministers accused of positioning themselves for the post-Cameron leadership to “put a sock in it and back the Prime Minister”.

Mr Johnson, regarded as front-runner in the succession race if he can find a seat in Parliament, said speculation over a challenge to Mr Cameron’s leadership was “complete nonsense”.

David Cameron To Give Tory Conference Speech – Sky News
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