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Eric Pickles is my pick for new Transport secretary

Brady, Mercer and Dorries are excellent suggestions.

Michael Gove is a neocon and in my opinion a warmonger.

We can do without him.

Is Ken Clarke likely to fight another election?

Vaizey is good on TV but a typicaL example of a professional politician through and through. There is a lot on his website about his previous career but I am not sure how substantive it is. I know he didn't practice as a barrister for very long - and much of the rest of it is fairly politics oriented (ie. lobbying/PR and research department).

Gove too has been associated with the political world all of his working life.

Please can we have some politicians who can show some real success in the world outside politics - otherwise why should we trust them to run our lives when so few of them have demonstrated they can run anything else. (Jeff Randal on Cameron at Carlton is worrying on this point.)

I am a candidate with considerable outside experience at a high level and very relevant to government.
But then people like me don't get shortlisted for places like Gillingham, which are looking for long term political hacks who have been PPCs before.

If I were you, candidate, I wouldn't describe PPCs as "political hacks", since that is what you aspire to become.

Michael Gove is one of our foremost voices against Middle Eastern terror and should be promoted to the Shadow Cabinet. He is media-savvy, has a voice and a presence, and is quite brilliant.

Gove has written a Neocon book advocating 'regime change'

That's not acceptable.

I voted for Grant Shapps as I have seen him at work - and he is a master - and the research he has produced is also excellent.
But I also think Michael Gove has a powerful intellect and should be in the Shadow Cabinet.

I hope that Boris Johnson will continue to be in the Shadow Cabinet. His Daily Telegraph column this morning was particularly full of good sense.

Thank you, Traditional Tory, but it is highly acceptable and widely read amongst Lab official at Downing St as well as top Tory circles. Gove is already punching well above his weight and he will augment the shad cab brilliantly. More like him.

It's one of those curious delusions, largely restricted to the conference-going sector of the Tory grassroots, that Boris Johnson is regarded by the general public as a lovable Clown Prince who makes the Tory party accessible and (by some mysterious process of osmosis)'human'

Most people I know think he's a prat.

Brady, Mercer & Dorries all excellent. All three are examples of integrity and political beliefs. All three are good communicators as opposed to spin doctors. Bring them on.

I voted for Nadine Dorries; she is a formidable voice and I could imagine her as a brilliant Deputy Prime Minister under Cameron, always providing that reasonable voice in Cabinet.

I maintain that Graham Brady is made for the job of Shadow Education Secretary. Michael Gove would certainly be a good addition too.

I voted for Nadine Dorries but I can't belive Kenneth Clarke is not in the cabinet. That seems a waste of talent.

Ken Clarke, a very talented man but I think his time has gone. If he were in Cabinet he would have to be given a position which kept him away from any European matters whatsoever. Does such a position exist?
I can't really think of anything.
Gove, I am sure is a future cabinet minister but I would love to see him prove himself at housing first. He hasn't yet done that. I would also not like to have him in a role which had much to do with foreign affairs. The time of the neocons is passing in the USA I can't believe it would be prudent to revive it in Britain.
Nadine is a breath of fresh air, love her blog but is that enough to warrant a place in cabinet? Not in my opinion yet. She needs to prove herself as being a competent minister in a lower profile role first.
I think it highly unlikely that Mercer or Brady will be brought back anytime soon. That may be a shame but the Conservative front bench must be united and to bring them back now would lead to accusations of splits etc.
A couple of men who would add gravitas and experience to the front bench are Rifkind and Trimble. I very much hope these to could yet play a part in shaping a Conservative led Britain.

Just a thought, but does anyone really think any of these five will ever make it into the Shadow Cabinet? I expect Gove will, and maybe one day Mercer and Brady will crawl back, though not any time soon after the damage they've done. Dorries I doubt very much- I like her, but there's a reason Private Eye call her 'Mad Nad'.

acandidate at 18.25. You're obviously a newbie. Haven't you got the picture yet? On the one hand, if you're a white male heterosexual professional you can forget it. On the other hand, if you didn't go to public school and Oxbridge and don't live in K&C, you can also forget it. CCHQ are very much the enemy.

My top 5 tips for new members of the Shadow Cabinet:

Edward Garnier

Dominic Grieve

Eleanor Laing

Sir Malcolm Rifkind

John Hayes

I like a lot of the suggested names. Not Vaizey please.

I don't think they strike a chord with the general public, except for Ken Clarke. I'm sure they're all great people and very intelligent but we need the sort of person that mixes a gritty common sense with forward looking'ness as well. Ken has that normal air about him. I've never agreed with Ken on Europe but otherwise a very impressive bloke who can connect with people. I agree with Malcolm that Trimble also has that quality of the genuine item that I've tried to explain above and I would like to see him with a bigger role. To get across our message we need a special sort of person and we haven't a lot of that type. Unbelivably, and possibly for the first time ever, I am also in agreement with Trad Tory about Boris although I would not use the same words. I personally see why he is has appeal to some but he doesn't connect with the people we need to win over especially in the North,


Gove comes across like an annoying sixth form school prefect. Anyone but him !

Graham Brady, Nadine Dorries and Patrick Mercer would be my choice. It just shows how out of touch Cameron is with his grass roots to have got rid of Brady and Mercer.

Would anybody have a clue who Brady was if it wasn't for him quitting over grammar schools? It your best card is that you disgaree vehemently with Cameron you hardly seem perfect Shadow Cabinet material.

No, people should be promoted on the basis of their actual ability to Shadow a Minister and get to grips with a brief.

That said it would be madness to move Boris Johnson - he's the best thing to happen to Higher Education in years.

I must admit that some of these names are quite new to me. A few weeks ago I would never have heard of Graham Brady although we all now know what an excellent man he is.

But as for the Eurofanatic Clarke. No! No! No!

There's only one place for people like Clarke and I for one would be prepared to pull the trap,

The Neocons are a busted flush and rightly so.

Therefore if Michale Gove or any other Tories are connected with these gung-ho fascismo Yank thugs they should be asked to reconsider their position.

Well-paid jobs will no doubt await them in Wshington.

Traditional Tory,

I agree with you about Gove, but everybody loves Boris!

If any backbencher rightly deserves to receive an award it must surely be Graham Brady, who in conscience resigned from the Conservative front bench to do what he thought was right for his constituents.

However, Patrick Mercer is only on the backbenchers because his indifference to the news that soldiers from the Commonwealth are forming a trade union to tackle racism and abuse. Apparently Mr Mercer believed that the very idea of such a union was "Absolute nonsense complete and utter rot." Shadow trade and industry secretary Alan Duncan, said that Patrick Mercer "appeared to be indifferent to the fact that someone was taunted for being black, you cannot be indifferent to that."

Mercer was sacked for claiming that being called a "black bastard" was part and parcel of life for ethnic minorities in the armed forces however David Cameron said of Mercer’s remarks "you can't make excuses for it" and promptly and rightly sent Mercer to the backbenchers, where Mercer then proclaimed that his dismissal was "nothing" just "sticks and stones". Asked if Mercer believed David Cameron to be a man of principle Mercer replied "He is the leader" and when pressed for a more truthful reply Patrick Mercer OBE sticks two fingers up and marches out.

I’m afraid that Patrick Mercer MP should rightly be struck off any list for an award until the day he is capable of understanding that regard for others is incumbent upon him as a principle of action and a cry for help should never ever be regarded to be absolute nonsense complete and utter rot. Certainly not a Graham Brady type of MP.

One junior minister who consistently impresses me is Paul Goodman. His House of Commons speech on Islamism was one of the most intelligent and thoughtful contributions I've come across on the subject. In addition, his articles on Conservative Home are always worth reading. Goodman seems to be one of those rare MPs who understands politics without being consumed by it.

Cameron does need a balance of youth and experience. There are some very youthful candidates who have only been in Parliament for two years. On the other hand we have Ken Clarke - he has huge experience and has been an MP for 37 years.

Sorry. That should be 'shadow junior minister', obviously. With any luck, Mr Goodman and the rest of them will actually be ministers in a couple of years' time.

Patrick Mercer would make an excellant member of the shadow fron bench team! He is very experienced and would bring that to the position, mabye shadow defence?

There is no evidence whatsoever that Patrick Mercer was indifferent to racism in his regiment. Quite the opposite: hence the black NCO, promoted by Mercer, who stepped forward very quickly to support him. The statement above is yet another example of Alan Duncan's highly erratic judgment. Mercer's main crime seems to have been a failure to mouth the approved politically correct mantras which are tres a la mode in Blue Labour. As an OE, Boris Johnson of course has an official court jester licence to offend whoever he likes.

I would be delighted for Kenneth Clarke to be brought back to the Shadow Cabinet as an elder statesman figure. I think I am correct in saying that of the existing Shadow Cabinet only Hague, Davis and Fox have ever served in Government previously and the final two in rather junior roles. We need to have a Government in waiting of all the talents and surely Ken still has a role to play in this. As what however may be more problematic.

In terms of rising stars, I agree with those advocating Grant Shapps, Ed Vaizey, Dominic Grieve and Michael Gove for elevation to the top tier.

Dominic Grieve? No way! It would be an irony indeed if thick rightwingers clamoured for his promotion because he argued that grammar schools in his constituency should be allowed to expand.

Why an irony? Because Grieve has been a key ally of the Left on two crucial issues: 1) Protecting the vile and undemocratic Human Rights Act from Tories who want to scrap it; 2) Supporting Islamist extremists like the Muslim Council of Britain and the Muslim Association of Britain, which are, of course, the UK front groups for Jamaat Islamiya and the Muslim Brotherhood respectively - as Grieve has been repeatedly warned.

Nadine Dorries is a great choice, but the fact she never went to a leading public school could go against her in the new look, 'inclusive' Tory party.

Her refreshing style, approachable manner and ability to engage with the voters would make her a real asset to the Tory frontbench

Grieve Watch. I have also noticed that Dominic Grieve is a bit naive regarding Islamic factions. He was being very pro-sufi (dervish orders) at the last party conference, saying that we should back them in Britain to help reduce the fundamentalist threat. But the dervishes/sufis have been the principal method
of conversion to Islam of christians since the 10th century.
For example they converted chechnya in the 18th century (the chechens were animist/christians), they also executed for Saladin many captured christian knights (eg after Hattin). They were also the centre of the turkish devshirme system.
We shouldn't be encouraging them.
He is indeed being naive

It worries me that David Cameron and George Osborne might seem (unfairly) lightweight and inexperienced compared to Gordon Brown and whoever succeeds him as Chancellor. It's an obvious line of attack and you don't need to be a PR expert to imagine how Cameron and Osborne might be portrayed.

My suggestion would be to move Osborne to a position like Party Chairman and perhaps bring back Malcolm Rifkind as Shadow Foreign Secretary and persuade William Hague to become Shadow Chancellor.

With David Davis continuing as Shadow Home Secretary you would have a pretty credible team.

He could also use the position of Deputy Leader to some effect too.

I would like to see Ken Clarke back but suspect that is unrealistic although he could perform a similar role to that of Willie Whitelaw in Mrs Thatcher's governments.

Rifkind and Hague should also be able to offset the impression that the Party is too much in the image of the Home Counties.

The downside is that the Party may lose some of the freshness and image that it has changed and moved forward. But I think Cameron himself is probably able to carry that off without a similar supporting cast around him in the senior positions. It's noticeable that when first elected Mrs Thatcher was surrounded by very senior and experienced colleagues.

So Grieve Watch is concerned because Mr Grieve has been supporting the Muslim Council of Britain and the Muslim Association of Britain.

That's a crime?

Perhaps Tories should be more concerned about those MPs who give open and fanatical support to certain other influential religious groups.


Cabinet posts held

July 1988 to November 1990 Secretary of State for Health
December1990 to April 1992 Secretary of State for Education
!May 1992 to May 1993 Secretary of State for the Home Office!
May 1993 to May 1997 Chancellor of Exchequer

Events during his time in Cabinet May 1992 to May 1993

10th July 1992, Bank Base rate 10%
16th September 1992 11.00am. Bank base rate raised to 12%
16th September 1992 2.15pm. Bank Base Rate raised to 15%
16th September 1992 5.00pm, UK leaves the Exchange Rate Mechanism.

Happenings During this Time Scale?








CLARKE IS THE REASON WHY WE ALL PAY 5% VAT ON OUR FUEL BILLS TODAY. (Labour reduced Vat from 8% to 5% and could not remove it due to EU Directive)

Clarke for Cabinet? A joke surely.

I can think of one very good reason for promoting Clarke

He opposed the evil and murderous Bush-Blair war of aggression in Iraq.

Gove is a fantastic intellect, but I think he'd be best used in areas which aren't his natural territory. He's been brilliant at housing where he's been trying to turn the party away from its visceral and indefensible nimby tendencies.

Btw, UK Patriot - "Perhaps Tories should be more concerned about those MPs who give open and fanatical support to certain other influential religious groups." Any clues as to who those groups are?

And as for the MCB, it may not be criminal to support them, but given their views, it is indeed rather worrying that Grieve gives them airtime.

Much as I admire Wm Hague's wit - he has cocked up the Tory position in Strasbourg; he supports Turkey's admission into the EU; he supports the White House on every conceivable issue. We need a new tougher
Shadow Foreign Secretary prepared to speak out, in support of British interests. On virtually every important issue relating to foreign affairs Hague is wrong.

So Harry, you would choose to blame the Home Secretary for economic mismanagement perpetrated by the (former Chancellor) Prime Minister and the Chancellor?

Ken Clarke was one of the few Tories to come out of 1997 with any credit. He oversaw the economic recovery that Labour are able to claim credit for today.

Admit it, Harry, you just can't accept that someone who is a pragmatist on Europe has the ability to be a good Tory leader or Shadow Cabinet member. If Ken had been elected in 1997, you lot might be back in power by now....

Admit it, Harry, you just can't accept that someone who is a pragmatist on Europe

He's not a pragmatist he's a Eurofanatic.

What's pragmatic about caving in to the EU?

The fact that Ken was so keen on Europe is what stopped people from even considering him, let alone voting for him. Ken was an excellent chancellor, but no matter what he says now I still can't trust him regarding Europe.

If there is ever a Conservative leader advocating the euro I'll be leaving the party, smearing my face with mud and preparing to lead the resistance!

Three of these I fundamentally disagree with - Brady and Mercer for obvious reasons, the only reason that poeople voted for them is to create friction and not on actual ability, Clarke because, although able, he is the past and is also too europhilic.

Dorries in a year or two maybe, Gove as long as you keep him away from foreign affairs.

My vote was for Grant Shapps.

Yes Grant Shapps has that something that could work. Would be good to have him at a more senior level and see how he develops,


But this is the trouble, isn't it? If you aren't fighting every word the EU says, you must be caving in...

Thatcher installed that attitude in you all. You think its a patriotic defence of a great nation, whereas it was actually xenophobic rambling based on prejudice.

And yet she was the last PM to sign away anything of significance to Europe. Major performed heroics on your behalf at Maastricht - shame that the 1992 intake didnt understand...

Looking above I see this gullible drivel "There is no evidence whatsoever that Patrick Mercer was indifferent to racism in his regiment. Quite the opposite."

So you think the statement that Patrick Mercer was indifferent is simply "erratic judgment"

It is saturated stupidity to believe that Patrick Mercer is all sunshine and lollipops and that there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest indifference on the part of Patrick Mercer. The entire concern was set in motion with the news that soldiers from the Commonwealth were forming a trade union to tackle racism and abuse. Patrick Mercer’s indifferent response to the great need to do something about racism and abuse was "Absolute nonsense complete and utter rot." if you do not see that statement by Mercer, to be evidence of Mercer’s indifference towards racism and abuse inflicted upon servicemen from former colonial countries, then you are every bit the "industrial-grade idiot" that Andrew Rawnsley said he found Patrick Mercer to be.

The entire concern was set in motion with the news that soldiers from the Commonwealth were forming a trade union to tackle racism and abuse.

The army does not need Trades Unions of any description. Racial discrimination was adaquately tackled by the last Conservative administration, following which Blair's mob have proceeded to fill the military with the oh-so-familiar PC 'anti-racist' bureaucracy.

Patrick Mercer is a blunt-speaking former professional soldier, obviously loved by all his men, of whatever race colour or creed.

The fiews of the socialist hack Rawnsley or the socialist coward Seymore are of no consequence alongside the shining decency and honesty of this outstanding MP.

Traditional Tory - I agree with your comments concerning Patrick Mercer and am sure that he will make a well-deserved return to the shadow cabinet before long.

It is a great pity, however, that in this as well as other threads you believe it is in order to make unpleasant remarks about those who have the temerity to disagree with you.

It is a great pity, however, that in this as well as other threads you believe it is in order to make unpleasant remarks about those who have the temerity to disagree with you.

I think you'll find I'm rarely the initiator of exchanges of 'unpleasant remarks', although that fact does rather tend to go unnoticed.

If you're talking about 'Seymore' who makes a vicious and uncalled-for attack on Patrick Mercer, he asked for it.

It's a change to be able to take a pop at an obvious out-and-out socialist. No Tory, not even a rampant Cameroon, would quote the insults of Andrew Rawnsley against a Tory MP.

I found the results of this survey a bit depressing really as it suggests most of the people contributing either have little knowledge of frontbenchers outside the shadow cabinet or would rather cause trouble and don't have the best interests of the Conservative Party at heart.

Brady, Clarke and Mercer are all non-starters Brady and Mercer would be politically disastrous appointments for obvious reasons and Clarke is too old and has made it clear he dosen't want a Shadow Cabinet post anyway.

Nadine Dorries is still a backbencher isn't she so I would hope she might get promoted to the front bench but the Shadow Cabinet in one leap - probably not.

Gove is a likely promotion - maybe doing Caroline Spellman's present job?

I'd say Jeremy Hunt, Maria Miller, Shailesh Vara and David Jones have all got a good chance of promotion.

However for every promotion you would need to sack somone and the aren't many obvious people to be moved on. (Unless your anti-Cameron per se in which I guess you could reel of a load of names.)

Finally Cheryl Gillan for Party Chairman anyone?

Gove should definitely be in the shadow cabinet but he probably won't be given an international role for the reasons he causes controversy in the thread above. I also understand that he is frightened of flying so it would be tricky for him to become shadow international development of foreign minister!!!!

I voted for Nadine for many reasons, when we voted her as our candidate for the election to replace a rather dubious sitting MP, she I believe polled 3 times as many as the other 3 interviewees put together.
She is a breath of fresh air not only to Party but to the constituency.
I'm never ceased to be amazed by her blog, she says what she means and doesn't hide if she's wrong.
She's sacrificed a lot in her personal life for the Party.
If it takes "Mad Nad" to sort the naughty boys out so be it, just remember the spirit of Lady T lies slumbering

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