DAVID Cameron’s former speechwriter has been criticised for using a column in the Times to praise some of the world’s most brutal authoritarian regimes for “getting things done”.

Clare Foges, who worked in Number 10 for seven years, wrote in praise of “strongmen who promise ‘action this day’ – and deliver it.”

It follows a speech last week, on the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth, by former US President Barack Obama where he warned of the rise of “strongman politics” and its threat to democracy.

“Strongman politics are ascendant suddenly, whereby elections and some pretense of democracy are maintained – the form of it – but those in power seek to undermine every institution or norm that gives democracy meaning,” Obama said.

But Foges argued that the strongman way of working was effective, regardless of their “disdain for etiquette”.

She praised president Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, who since his election in 2016, killed thousands of alleged drug dealers and users across the country without any form of judicial process or legal hearing.

Foges also praises Turkish President Recep Erdogan, Chinese dictator Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“The common denominator of all these strongmen is ambition,” she writes. “Unfettered by the need to compromise, unburdened by self-doubt, their ambitions are grand and they frequently achieve them.”

Foges adds: “Strongmen may be tyrannical and unpleasant, yet on the credit side of the ledger they truly believe they can transform their nations.”

Pete Starkings, director of Global Future was one of a number of critics, he said: “Strongmen get things done, but those things tend to be abhorrent.”