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Davis, Redwood and Howard more trusted than any frontbencher to spearhead renegotiations

WhoShouldConduct2,056 Tory members voted yesterday in ConHome's special survey on the Conservative leadership's changing policy on Europe.

Although we won't know the detail of the new policy until 4pm when David Cameron holds an emergency press conference we do know that there will be no referendum on the now ratified Lisbon Treaty. The leadership enjoys the support of members in this judgment call but only narrowly, by 51% to 46%.

There is much more support (66%) for some sort of referendum but there is no appetite for a big internal debate on Europe.  71% of party members say Eurosceptic MPs should focus on helping Cameron win the General Election.

Perhaps the most interesting finding in the poll is the high level of support given to David Davis, John Redwood and Michael Howard as the MPs best-placed to lead any round-Europe renegotiations. Their Eurosceptic credentials probably are probably reassuring to a very Eurosceptic grassroots at a time when trust in the credentials of David Cameron, William Hague and every other frontbencher is somewhat strained.

Tim Montgomerie

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