Unable to secure the support of a single parliamentary colleague Alan Duncan has abandoned his bid to be Tory leader. His bid has been generously covered by the media class and in an article for The Guardian Mr Duncan records his “popularity in the country” by referring to "fat box files" full of supportive letters and emails. The fact that this has not translated into parliamentary support has been fatal to his ambitions, he concedes:
”Active lieutenants are crucial if you are to create the impression of support. Who's in whose gang quickly supersedes who thinks what and why, and the papers invariably prefer two opposing camps to the unity in between.”
His “get real or die” message pervades the article and concludes with a strong attack on the Conservative Party’s social conservatives:
”Censorious judgmentalism from the moralising wing, which treats half our own countrymen as enemies, must be rooted out. We should take JS Mill as our lodestar, and allow people to live as they choose until they actually harm someone. If the Tory Taliban can't get that, they'll condemn us all to oblivion. Thank heavens for the new intake of MPs who do.”
Mr Duncan does not pinpoint what, in particular, he means by “censorious judgmentalism” or who belongs to this "Tory Taliban".
Mr Duncan’s leadership bid will be remembered for his strong media performances, his change or die message and the support he won from other Soho modernisers like Michael Portillo and former Treasury minister Philip Oppenheim.