Conservative Diary

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One to Watch in 2010

STRATHCLYDE Jonathan Isaby's pick: My one to watch is a politician who has served uninterruptedly on the Conservative front bench since he was made a junior whip in the House of Lords by Margaret Thatcher in 1988. Chief Whip in the Lords in John Major's Government, Lord Strathclyde has now ably led the party in the Upper House since 1998. He has constantly been in the top third of the ConHome shadow cabinet league table. Whilst David Cameron may become Prime Minister next year with an overall Conservative majority in the Commons, any administration he forms will start its life as a minority government in the House of Lords. Mr Cameron will of course be entitled to appoint a fresh raft of working Conservative peers - hence ConHome's search for new nominations; but using his political and diplomatic skills, it is Lord Strathclyde who will be a key figure in delivering key votes from the red benches. Few members of Cameron's Cabinet will be more important to the success of any Conservative government.

6a00d83451b31c69e20120a61dd0a8970b-500wi Tim Montgomerie's pick: I have never been a fan of the A-list but I am a big fan of the female candidates who have been selected as Conservative candidates during David Cameron's leadership. Many female A-listers were of relatively poor quality but Conservative Associations have had the sense to ignore CCHQ's ambition for more than 50% of candidates to be women and have selected the best of the crop. I don't want to mention too many names but Karen Bradley (formerly of the Tory policy unit), Philippa Stroud (because of her lifelong commitment to social justice), Liz Truss (a radical thinker on public sector reform), Harriett Baldwin (because of her knowledge of the financial world) and Fiona Bruce (because of her legal and business background) are just five stars-in-the-waiting. There are many others. My hope is that David Cameron does not promote them too quickly. They deserve a chance to learn the ropes of being an MP - particularly those with marginal seats and the need to make good first impressions on their constituents. My one-to-watch for 2010 is therefore not a person but 'the female Tory MP'.

> Previous picks: The gaffe of 2009


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