Conservative Diary

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Dannatt and Dyson sign up to David Cameron's government-in-waiting of all the talents

In a major coup for the Conservatives, news has leaked that General Sir Richard Dannatt will become a defence adviser to the party.

Sir Richard ended his time as Chief of the General Staff in August after a tumultuous relationship with the Labour government.

Earlier this week he attacked Labour for ignoring military advice on the need to send more troops and equipment to Afghanistan.  It is very unusual for an ex-Chief of the General Staff to join a political party in this way.  Sir Richard's predecessors have tended to serve as crossbenchers in the Lords.

At a time when politicians are so distrusted, the inexperienced Tory leadership see appointments of serious figures like Sir Richard as a reassurance to the electorate that a Conservative government will have the capacity to deliver competence and effectiveness.  Earlier this week in another sign of this phenomenon Sir James Dyson, the vacuum cleaner entrepreneur, became a 'technology tsar' for the party.

Tim Montgomerie

4.15pm: Chris Grayling admits to being embarrassed over his misunderstanding of the Dannatt appointment (he had said he hoped it was not a political gimmick after thinking it was a Labour appointment) but in this BBC interview welcomes what Sir Richard can bring to the Conservatives:


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