The intervention by Dr Fox, who was forced to quit as Defence Secretary last October, will act as a rallying cry for Tory backbenchers who are already showing signs of frustration at the compromises of coalition.
Writing in The Daily Telegraph, the North Somerset MP argued that Lib Dem opposition to measures such as restrictions on workers’ rights were putting the Government’s deficit reduction plan “in jeopardy”.
He wrote: “Inside the coalition, resistance to deregulation largely comes from the Liberal Democrats. Two things need to be pointed out to them. First that they make up only one-sixth – not one-half – of the coalition and must expect that Conservative economic ideas will be dominant.
“Second, that if the economy does not improve, they can expect a very unhappy date in 2015 with the voters, and their antipathy to labour market reform makes this more likely.”