Civil warring at The Telegraph prevented the editorial team endorsing David Cameron until today. The newspaper hid its hesitancy behind a desire to see certain policy questions answered. It is far from clear that those questions have been answered but the newspaper has finally decided that the clear frontrunning candidate "can lead a revived Tory party":
"In two months, David Cameron has risen almost from nowhere to assume an apparently unassailable lead in the Tory leadership race. Yet in this short time he has been tested formidably. In maintaining what might be called an honest discretion about his past use of drugs, in resisting the often heavy pressure to come out with details of the next election manifesto four years before it is due, and simply in keeping up his enthusiasm over a gruelling campaign, Mr Cameron has shown he has a tenacity which belies his fresh face."
The newspaper recommends that Mr Cameron forms a shadow cabinet of all the talents - Liam Fox, Malcolm Rifkind, David Willetts, William Hague and IDS. It also notes that it will be "essential" to find a place for David Davis in his team:
"He deserved his early lead, and did not entirely deserve the drubbing he received from the media at Blackpool. He, too, is responsible for the resurgence of Tory fortunes, not least by advocating a clear and coherent set of policy principles based on freedom and enterprise. He would make an excellent senior member of Mr Cameron's team, capable (in his own words) of reaching parts of the country the other cannot, and useful in keeping the young leader on the right side of the centre ground."
The Sun also opts for Mr Cameron this morning. It does so after echoing The Telegraph's concern about his policy vagueness. The Sun focuses on tax policy - "Nobody is entirely sure where he stands on issues like taxation". The Telegraph agrees - "Many are concerned, for example, by his formulation on the economy, that he will "share the proceeds of growth between public spending and tax cuts". Mr Cameron should realise that unless a major transfer of resources is made from the unproductive public sector to the productive private sector, by large-scale tax reductions, there will be no "growth" to "share" at all."
But is the belief that Mr Cameron is "articulate, lucid and self-confident" that secures The Sun's backing for Mr Cameron:
"He has handled questions about his experience with drugs — and his privileged Eton schooling — with maturity. He looks good on TV and he has the rare gift as a Tory of making voters feel good about life. These may seem superficial qualities. But they are essential in an age when the medium is the message. They have already persuaded many voters he is a match for Tony Blair - and eventually, Gordon Brown. Cameron is bright. He will learn fast. The choice now is between a veteran who, despite genuine qualities, has never really made the premier league — and a raw beginner with a sprinkle of stardust. After eight years in power, Labour is tired and in many ways discredited. Britain desperately needs a real Opposition leader to take them on. We hope David Cameron is the man to do it."
That completes a clean sweep of newspaper endorsements for Mr Cameron. But newspapers have not played a leading role in this contest - they have tended to follow the lead of opinion polls and the political editors of BBCtv and ITN. This will be one of the conclusions of this site's definitive review of this leadership contest that will be published on 5th December. The review is based on interviews with insiders from every major campaign team. Like the candidates' answers to the ConservativeHome.com questionnaire, stages of the review will be posted on the hour, throughout that day. If you would like a full copy at the start of that day you should join ConservativeHome's free emailing list.
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