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Sunday 30th October 2005

Sunday_73.30pm UPDATE

Michael Gove MP on the Platform Blog: It's the economy, stupid

Leadership blog: Tax remains central battleground on Sunday TV

BLOGS

Leadership blog: Many Cornerstone MPs likely to back David Cameron

CONSERVATIVE NEWS & COMMENTARY

BBCi: "Three-quarters of Conservative party members plan to vote for David Cameron in the party's leadership election, a new BBC poll suggests.  Mr Cameron had the support of 76% of party members questioned with 24% planning to back rival David Davis."  The survey is based on only 215 party members, however.

Johnson_borisIndependent on Sunday: "'Spectator' editor tells 'Desert Island Discs' he'll quit to spend more time with David Cameron."

The Business: "The leadership contest has reinvigorated the party and even caught the attention of the nation. The likely winner, David Cameron, will be the first Tory leader in a generation not to induce widespread nausea and cries of “pass the sick bag”. Of course, he is something of a blank canvas, on which Tories are doodling their own prejudices; that accounts for his popularity... At some stage in the next couple of years he will have to convince voters that he has substance as well as style; and he will need to surround himself with meritocratic brains rather than social exclusivity. If he does both, the Tories will head for the next election in better shape than any election since their landslide victory of 1987."

Sunday Times: "David Davis yesterday tried to grab back some support from David Cameron in the contest for the Tory leadership by outlining plans to create 20 new grammar schools in deprived city areas."

David Davis tells Scotland on Sunday that he favours a 3% tartan tax cut from Scotland's Tories.

McletchieAlso in Scotland on Sunday: "The Scottish Tories closed ranks yesterday behind party leader David McLetchie, giving him public backing in the long-running controversy over his parliamentary taxi expenses."

The Observer: "'Ken Clarke hasn't had a good year against the thirtysomethings, and you can quote me on that,' says Stefan Allesch-Taylor with a smirk. The 36-year-old City financier, three years younger than Tory leadership contender David Cameron, is leading a campaign to have Clarke removed from the chair of Savoy Asset Management which he has held since 2000. Allesch-Taylor will lay into Clarke's management record at an extraordinary general meeting on Tuesday."

THE END OF BLAIR...

First Cabinet disagreements over education policy erupted into the public domain... then disagreements over smoking... now welfare reform: "War has broken out between David Blunkett and Tony Blair over demands to toughen the government's crackdown on sickness benefit, causing a dramatic escalation of the power struggles ravaging the cabinet... Blunkett has repeatedly promised disabled people they would be helped, rather than forced, back to work, but Number 10 is understood to be arguing that his plans for welfare reform do not go far enough. " (The Observer)

Andrew Rawnsley: "Tony Blair consulted his closest allies about his plan to pre-announce his intention to retire. The great majority of the Prime Minister's friends told him that it was the most idiotic idea he had ever come up with... They warned him that he would turn himself into a self-lamed duck. He might think that declaring he would not fight another election would allow him to be his own man; everyone else would take it as an invitation to engage in a free-for-all."

OTHER COMMENTARY

Fraser Nelson in The Business: "Shouldn’t Iran be just a little nervous to have 120,000 American and British troops next door to them? Everything we have seen from Ahmadinejad suggests he thinks that the West is on the wane. He may be right. President Bush is facing a domestic crisis and his foreign policy is to pull troops out of Iraq as soon as is decent. Iraq has also hurt Blair, who can barely force his Cabinet to agree a smoking ban."

The Australian: "Evidence is accumulating that using illicit drugs, be it all-organic cannabis or fashionably edgy methamphetamines can mean madness, literally. In South Australia chief criminal psychiatrist Craig Raeside tracked 2000 prisoners over 10 years. He found 61 per cent of marijuana users among them, 71 per cent of amphetamine consumers and a staggering 95 per cent of people in prison who have used heroin had mental illnesses."

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