Conservative Diary

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Who gets up every morning thinking about a Tory victory at the next General Election?

Timesclipping Interesting story in this morning's Times (£). Nick Clegg is apparently setting up a system of "policy figureheads to speak up for the party’s interests";

"These figures would be chairmen of policy groups, not “spokesmen” whose function it is to oppose government policy. They will have special access to departmental information, a source said. But some Tories see this as giving an institutional basis for the two halves of the coalition to disagree publicly."

I can't be sure what Nick Clegg is up to but I have no quarrel with him wanting to protect his party's capacity for independent thinking. My hope is that Conservatives will do the same. That's why, last week, I urged Graham Brady and the whole executive of the 1922 backbench committee to be ambitious. I suggested they raise funds for three big roles. The two most important roles being policy formation and campaign excellence. They should be providing the raw materials that the party leadership can eventually use for future victories. It doesn't have to be the Parliamentary Conservative Party (PCP). Yesterday Paul Goodman recommended that CCHQ set up its own policy unit.

There is a real danger that the identity and interests of the Conservative Party will be submerged in the Coalition if CCHQ and, in particular, the PCP don't think differently.

David Cameron gets up every morning with the mission to govern Britain and clear up Labour's mess. I should imagine his second priority (at the moment) is to protect the Coalition. His third priority (it might become his No.2 priority later in the Parliament) is the interests of the Conservative Party. We need someone (or some organisation) to have the interests of the Conservative Party as their over-riding concern. Who is that?

Tim Montgomerie


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