Lord Blaker

6 May 2012 13:34:57

Ken Baker and Richard Ryder call for Cameron to appoint an MP as Tory Chairman

By Tim Montgomerie
Follow Tim on Twitter

On Radio 4's World This Weekend four veteran Tory big beasts have been speaking to Shaun Ley about what Cameron should do next.

Two former Tory Chairmen kicked off the discussion.

  • Lord (Norman) Fowler urged the party leadership to stop provoking his backbenchers with unnecessary reforms like a democratic House of Lords and focus instead on the big economic picture. He also warned against giving too much to the Tory Right, saying that the party had been down the Eurosceptic path before. Norman Fowler had been party chairman for John Major during the unhappy Maastricht period.
  • Lord (Ken) Baker praised Sayeeda Warsi's media performances from Thursday night but said that Cameron needed a new Chairman in the House of Commons.

27097.jpgLord (Richard) Ryder - John Major's chief whip - agreed with Baker on the need for a Party Chairman. Neither of the two existing Chairmen (Feldman and Warsi) have ever been elected, he said, and neither had access to the Commons. Cameron desperately needed a Party Chairman who was an MP and who could be both a lightning rod for him and also a firefighter. He urged the PM to stop being distracted by the 24 hour news cycle and focus on the horizon. Let junior ministers announce small initiatives, he advised. To this day voters don't know where Cameron really stands, what are his true convictions. As a consequence his government lacks coherence. The Chancellor, George Osborne doesn't understand the difference between tactics and strategy, Ryder continued. He said it was "comical" that the director of strategy in Number 10 was also an opinion pollster (Andrew Cooper).

David Davis also was interviewed for the programme. Previewing the Alternative Queen's Speech that will be published on ConHome tomorrow and which he and other Conservative MPs have contributed individual parts, he said we needed a Government programme that was more focused on growth and social mobility. The Coalition's programme needed, he said, to recognise, that five-sixths of the MPs on the government side were elected as Conservatives.

> Listen for yourself.

21 Jan 2009 12:48:23

Lord Blaker says Southern African Development Community is feeble on Zimbabwe

During questions in the House of Lords yesterday Conservative peer and former minister Lord Blaker asked about Zimbabwe:

"To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking towards a resolution of the situation in Zimbabwe.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): My Lords, we are working with our international partners to encourage a resolution of the crisis. Mugabe’s regime continues to stand in the way of political progress. Its failed policies have devastated Zimbabwe’s economy and infrastructure. As a result, nearly 6 million people are in need of food aid and cholera has killed some thousands. Our immediate priority is to provide humanitarian assistance to alleviate the suffering of the Zimbabwean people—the innocent victims of these failed policies.

Lord Blaker: My Lords, next week there will be another meeting on Zimbabwe. Considering the damage that the crisis is doing to the region, there was a disgracefully low turnout of Heads of Government at their last Zimbabwe summit in November. Instead of urging Mugabe to halt violent intimidation and accept the will of the people, SADC has so far adopted the feeble line of pressing Tsvangirai to make further concessions. Should we not remind SADC that after the violent June presidential run-off its own observer mission declared that:

“The elections did not represent the will of the people of Zimbabwe”?

Lord Malloch-Brown: My Lords, I think that the reason for the low SADC turnout was frustration among SADC leaders at the lack of progress. I believe that a number of leaders would entirely agree with the noble Lord’s last remark and share his frustration that there is no progress. Yesterday in Harare there was a long meeting between Morgan Tsvangirai and Robert Mugabe, but after 12 hours there was no progress because Mr Mugabe continues to refuse to make concessions."

SADC stands for "Southern African Development Community".