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« Have French voters helped Ken Clarke's leadership bid? | Main | The Clarke-Cameron 'dream ticket' »


James Hellyer

"Two MPs have told this blog that a grand anti-Davis coalition involving some sort of Clarke-Cameron-Rifkind ticket may be engineered."

Yes, let's become europhile and mimic New Labour just as both projects start to fall apart!

Talk of Clarke is just idiocy. He was disaster everywhere he worked before the Treasury. His tobacco dealings are just waiting to be dragged out by the media. And he's deeply out of touch with his own party.

His leadership would be the best way to splinter the centre-right vote forover. No wonder the BBC are so keen on him.

Mark O'Brien

The real 'problem' with the party is that they have a heck of a lot of raw talent on the parliamentary benches: some young, rising stars; some intelligent thinkers, some mature and capable performers. But nobody stands out as a great leader with all of the qualities needed.

I feel that David Davis doesn't have the charisma and power to do a good job, although he has his qualities. Clarke is an old man and I can not understand the love for him. He always comes across to me as a bumbling toff. Just because he's liberal doesn't mean he's good! Cameron is a younger toff. Rifkind looks like and therefore would probably be a lot like Michael Howard.

There is a lot of raw talent from all wings and with all the qualities, but no potential leader. I can't decide who to support yet, but leadership elections should be about unity, not division. The longer this pre-match tension rises, the worse off the Conservative Party will become.

Albion Blogger


Let me help you make your choice...

Work out what basic conservatism actually is, its view on people, society and the various institutions.

Examine the consequences of such a philosophy and recognise the basic policy types that it will entail.

Then decide whether the Conservative Party is even the Party for you. It certainly isn't the Party for the likes of Ken Clarke.

If you find that, happily, you are a (small 'c') conservative then you might be looking towards David Davis. Otherwise you're possibly looking to support non-conservatives.



Being a Europhile does not prevent you from being a conservative, because Europe is not a major issue.

What defines you political allegiance is your stance on the economy, social issues etc. Not foreign affairs.

Albion Blogger


With respect, the EU is not foreign affairs. It is very much a domestic issue as it is a construct that directly affects the way we live - particularly in the areas that you quote as being important to a conservative.

Further, full engagement with the EU as it stands involves allowing that body complete control over certain areas of legislation. In the future, full engagement would seem to signify the transfer of all our legislative powers to Brussels. The EU could not be more of a domestic matter if it tried. And it is a very, very big issue to those of us who consider national sovereignty to be an essential part of our political life.


James Hellyer

"Being a Europhile does not prevent you from being a conservative, because Europe is not a major issue."

I think it's hard to reconcile big govenment statism with Conservatism. It's even harder to reconcile the contempt for our country's institutions that subservience to the EU project shows.


I define major issues as ones that people vote for rather than ones that have key ideological resonance.

The NHS is Europe's biggest employer, and that is nothing to do with EU statism. Ultimately our ability to provide top notch public services is dependent on how we spend our tax revenues and whether or not we reform the NHS etc, not the role of the EU.

My problem with the EU is that I don't think British governments have made the most of it, by fuller participation and better alliances with other free market orientated states in the east Britain can get a much better deal from the EU especially if market liberalisation can be pushed through.

Euroscepticism is not a vote shifting issue and so its not one that an opposition party should concern itself with. The job for the next 4 years is to hit the government where it is strongest, the economy (because that is also where it is vulnerable).

Jack Stone

The question those who support David Davis need to ask themselves is why are there so many at the top of the party who are prepared to apparantly do virtually anything to try and stop Davis becoming leader. These people know the man better than we ordinary guys do. Do they know something we don`t about the man`s character!

Sean Fear

Perhaps they're jealous? I haven't made up my mind who to support, but simply saying someone shouldn't become Leader because of hostility from their colleagues is silly.

Simon C

Isn't the point that, if we need a leader who can inspire and unify, it becomes relevant if a candidate polarises his colleagues into those wildly for and those wildly against?

Dave J

"If they succeed in the restoration of the parliamentary party’s supremacy over the leadership election they still think that David Davis can be stopped."

And then what? Hope the party members they've just disenfranchised will keep passively turning over their dues and pounding the pavement for them? Any leader more Europhile than Howard is will drive people to UKIP, and rightly so. A Clarke leadership--which I think is impossible, but I mention for the sake of argument--would so split the party that it would effectively cease to exist. And why would the MP's be SO stupid as to do this when opportunity is finally starting to present itself again?

Sally Rideout Baker

"The Telegraph
26 July 2004:

David Davis, the shadow home secretary, has come close to being sacked by Mr Howard for failing to show up earlier this week in order to respond to David Blunkett's five-year plan on crime.

26 June 2004:
Some members of the shadow cabinet, especially David Davis, the shadow home secretary, are also perceived within Tory circles as operating below par. One source said: "When you consider how hard Michael Howard, a 62-year-old man, is working, I think it's pretty poor some of the shadow cabinet don't try harder."

The Sun
25 October 2004

Where was Dozy Davis? MPs scoff at Tory as he misses vital debate on asylum

Stayaway top Tory David Davis blundered again yesterday - by missing a crunch Commons showdown on asylum.

The Shadow Home Secretary turned up almost an hour late for a key debate on plans to surrender Britain's control over immigration to Eurocrats.

Mr Davis should have had ministers on the rack ovver their failure to stand up to the latest Brussels power grab. But he left the debate to an inexperienced junior spokesman who failed to deliver any killer blows.

It was the latest in a string of gaffs by Mr Davis."

I do not understand why this guy is even in the running for leadership!

Bring back IDS - We can all get odds of 500 to 1 if we time it right!

Wat Tyler

Sally- you seem to have a remarkable archive at your fingertips, but all these stories really prove is that certain MPs have been very active over the years in trying to smear Davis.

I think the whispers about "operating below par", "missing a crunch Commons showdown", and failing "to deliver any killer blows", must have ignored the fact that he was the ONLY shadow cabinet member to cause the government any real trouble during Howard's time. It was his determination and grit that forced both Blunkett and Hughes to resign.

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