By politics.co.uk staff
There are growing signs the Tories may not renew the Trident nuclear defence if they attain power.
In a comment piece for the Financial Times today, former shadow home secretary and chairman of the public accounts committee David Davis said it was time the Tories looked at their own 'sacred cows'.
"There is no firmer advocate of nuclear deterrence than me, but even I have some difficulty seeing the justification for a wholesale upgrade of Trident," he wrote.
"Our system was designed to maintain retaliatory capacity after a full-scale Soviet nuclear onslaught. Now our likeliest nuclear adversary will be a much smaller, less-sophisticated state. Should not the costs reflect that?"
During his monthly press conference today, party leader David Cameron refused to rule out the possibility.
"I'm not going to start ruling things in and out," he said when repeatedly asked about the deterrent.
In his article, Mr Davis suggests several ways in which a Tory administration might make savings, given the dire state of the public purse.
Many of the suggestions are already party policy, such as abolishing ID cards.
"The choice we face is not between Labour growth in public services and Tory 'cuts'," he said.
"It is between taking a grip of the public finances and watching our people's economic prospects, and our ability to afford decent public services, slowly dribble away."
Among Mr Davies suggestions are: a pay and recruitment freeze for the entire public sector, cancelling bonuses for civil servants, cutbacks in MPs' pay, closing public sector pension schemes to new entrants, targeting child benefits to only the less well-off and renegotiating PFI contracts.