Ken Baker and Richard Ryder call for Cameron to appoint an MP as Tory Chairman
By Tim Montgomerie
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On Radio 4's World This Weekend four veteran Tory big beasts have been speaking to Shaun Ley about what Cameron should do next.
Two former Tory Chairmen kicked off the discussion.
- Lord (Norman) Fowler urged the party leadership to stop provoking his backbenchers with unnecessary reforms like a democratic House of Lords and focus instead on the big economic picture. He also warned against giving too much to the Tory Right, saying that the party had been down the Eurosceptic path before. Norman Fowler had been party chairman for John Major during the unhappy Maastricht period.
- Lord (Ken) Baker praised Sayeeda Warsi's media performances from Thursday night but said that Cameron needed a new Chairman in the House of Commons.
Lord (Richard) Ryder - John Major's chief whip - agreed with Baker on the need for a Party Chairman. Neither of the two existing Chairmen (Feldman and Warsi) have ever been elected, he said, and neither had access to the Commons. Cameron desperately needed a Party Chairman who was an MP and who could be both a lightning rod for him and also a firefighter. He urged the PM to stop being distracted by the 24 hour news cycle and focus on the horizon. Let junior ministers announce small initiatives, he advised. To this day voters don't know where Cameron really stands, what are his true convictions. As a consequence his government lacks coherence. The Chancellor, George Osborne doesn't understand the difference between tactics and strategy, Ryder continued. He said it was "comical" that the director of strategy in Number 10 was also an opinion pollster (Andrew Cooper).
David Davis also was interviewed for the programme. Previewing the Alternative Queen's Speech that will be published on ConHome tomorrow and which he and other Conservative MPs have contributed individual parts, he said we needed a Government programme that was more focused on growth and social mobility. The Coalition's programme needed, he said, to recognise, that five-sixths of the MPs on the government side were elected as Conservatives.