British Prime Minister Theresa May has vowed to govern from the "center ground" of politics, a day after her government alarmed liberals by saying that businesses should prioritize hiring British workers over foreign ones.

May closed the Conservative Party's annual conference Wednesday with a speech that called the June 23 vote to leave the European Union "a quiet revolution" by millions who had not benefited from globalization and rapid economic change.

In a change of tone from predecessor David Cameron — who combined social liberalism with fiscal austerity and light-touch economic regulation — May attacked corporate bosses who dodge tax and raid employees' pension funds.

She signaled she would take a more interventionist economic approach than some of her Conservative predecessors, saying "government can and should be a force for good."