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John Bercow - equal seventh out of 22 with 15.2%? My life already.

Clark and Lidington are both very good choices. Intelligent and decent.

Tim, "intelligence and practical experience": with the addition of common sense, I agree with you wholeheartedly and ask again what role John Redwood will perform (OK, perhaps forget the common sense for a moment)?

Also what about IDS? He made such a hit with his Broken Society Report that he must surely have a part in transforming it into reality.

Gieve seems a very good man but isn't there some problem between him and Nick Herbert over the ECHR? That may stop him making it into the Shadow Cabinet.
Greg Clark may suffer because of the reaction to his 'Polly Toynbee' comments which so enraged so many Conservatives.
Equally Patrick Mercer's behaviour since being sacked does leave a lot to be desired and I would be suprised if Cameron chose to reward him anytime soon.
Personally I would like us to have a more balanced Cabinet in terms of age and experience. Redwood, Lilley or Sir Malc would be ideal in my opinion.


People who think of Dominic Grieve as a decent fellow (which he is, by the way) have little idea of the huge political downsides of the man. In two key areas of policy he is deeply, profoundly wrong.

First, and less important: Dominic is almost totally unable to distinguish between Muslims who are democrats and those who are jihadists. He appeared on the platform of an event organised by the Hamas-linked BMI and has argued in private that we can't pick our friends (!).

Second, he has used his position as one of the Conservative Party's senior legal figures to mount an almost fanatical defence of the European Convention on Human Rights. He was lukewarm about dumping Labour's discredited Human Rights Act and has insisted that there should be a successor act (the absurd 'British Bill of Rights') and that it must be ECHR-compliant.

Anyone who understands these matters will know that the interpretation put on the ECHR by Strasbourg judges (which the UK is bound by) is at the root of our problems. At an even more profound level, Grieve is happy for the democratic prerogatives of the British people to be limited and usurped by unelected judges acting as quasi-political senators, voting among themselves on the bench. Even such an obviously moral and political question as whether prisoners should have access to hard-core pornography is decided not by Parliament or by prison governors but by judges.

As a lawyer, Grieve has 'gone native'. He sees his role as defending the presumptions of the judiciary. The effect of Grieve's advancement will be the removal of key areas of policy from the orbit of democratic decision-making. This is the New Left agenda and that is why all democrats must resist him.

I was sorry that you made no mention of the very sound vote for Justine Greening, the top scorer among the females. Is ConHome showing male chauvinist tendencies? Justine's a consistently hard worker and, equally important, a hard hitter in the Commons and in the media. Just watch her progress.

We highlighted the top five MPs that members voted for Richard. I think Justine Greening is great but others were scored more highly. Over the next two days we'll be talking more about the women in Cameron's team.

Grieve Watch sounds a bit like Migration Watch - surely Grieve is not the same kind of problem ?

Anyway, the United Kingdom (Government, citzens, judges, the lot) has been bound by the European Convention on Human Rights (which the Brits mainly wrote anyway) as a Treaty Obligation since about 1949. It is not now and has never been Conservative Party policy to withdraw from that Treaty Obligation. When Grieve Watch talks blithely about dumping the ECtHR he, she or it is presumably intending that the Treaty should be dumped? Come on Grieve Watch, whoever you are, get real!

Grieve Watch: surely there is an argument that Greive understands these legal issues, and that he was given the brief for that reason?

There is also the argument that he is trying to lead his breif according to his judgement, which is creditable if a little electorally unsound.

I too think that the current female representation in the Shadow Cabinet is more of an issue. I would like to see far greater exposure in the coming year for Justine Greening, Naddine Dorries, and Sayeeda Warsi. I just wish Sayeeda had stuck it out for longer, and won a seat.

One of the great pleasures when we eventually win the Election will be giving red boxes to our decent, hard working shadow ministers. Green and Lidington most certainly fall into that category. I also hope that some of our less err...active members also get their just deserts with a stint on the back benches. A shock of very blond hair springs to mind.

David Lidington looks like the elder brother of the BBC's Evan Davis!

I am a great admirer of Grieve but a bit concerned by his support for the EU's Convention on Human Rights. The British don't need Europeans to lecture us about human rights. We, with the allies, gave them theirs back in 1945!

White Rose is talking nonsense. Britain was not bound by the European Convention of Human Rights until Parliament passed Blair's Human Rights Act. We were not signatories from 1949 until that point. There was no British Treaty obligation because Britain did not sign the Treaty.

The British drafted the Convention because the Europeans, rather than us, needed it. It was a response to European countries being ruled by dictators Hitler, Mussolini etc.

@Moral Minority

You are sounding like Bill Cash !

Moral Minority - Britain was bound by the Treaty which is the European Convention of Human Rights. Until the Human Rights Act 1998 came into force in 2000 British citizens had direct access to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg (which is not, repeat not, an institution of the European Union or anything to do with it). After the Human Rights Act was passed British citizens could enforce their already existing rights directly through the Courts of the relevant part of the United Kingdom without having to issue proceedings in Strasbourg which had been extremely expensive and time consuming until 2000. Unless the Government of the United Kingdom derogates from its international treaty obligation which is the European Convention of Human Rights British citizens will still be able to take cases to the ECtHR in Strasbourg just as they could and did before 2000 even if the Human Rights Act 1998 is repealed. The sooner people get their heads round this the better

Talking of reshuffles, I read that Shaun Woodward is to lose his Labour Cabinet job? Or is the post from the Daily Telegraph blog (below) from dopey Rosa Prince motivated by something other than her intimate Irish contact? She used to slave away under the Mirror's political editor Oonagh Blackman who now works as, you guessed it, a special adviser to Mr Woodward!

A sticky end for some ministers
Posted by Rosa Prince on 03 Jan 2008 at 13:47
Tags: Gordon Brown, Northern Ireland, Ruth Kelly, Shaun Woodward, James Purnell
My prediction for 2008
It used to be a tradition among cynical hacks to place bets on which celebrities would check into the big rehab clinic in the sky over the coming 12 months.

Will Shaun Woodward bite the dust?

Political journalists have their own form of the game - guessing which ministerial careers will come to a sticky end.

For a while, James Purnell was front runner - young, single, photogenic in a propensity to be photoshopped into events he wasn't present at kind of way.

Others tipped Ruth Kelly, guessing (hoping) she might flounce out of Cabinet in a religious rage over the upcoming Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill.

My own tip for the first member of Gordon Brown's Cabinet to bite the dust in 2008 - Shaun Woodward.

Appointing a former Tory might have seemed like a good idea back in the summer, when Mr Brown was feeling all inclusive and big tent, but my spies say the PM has come to regret his decision.

Deeply tribal, with a gut hatred of all things Conservative, I hear Gordo has become increasingly irritated with Woodward's "insights" into life under John Major - hardly relishing the comparison.

And Number 10 insiders are giggling up their sleeves at the millionaire's boasts that he has been asked to help run the General Election campaign.

Rumour is the PM will take advantage of the disquiet over Des Browne's dual role as Scotland and Defence Secretary to create a new Secretary of State for the Nations -thereby politely removing the Northern Ireland
post from the turncoat Woodward.

Posted by Rosa Prince on 03 Jan 2008 at 13:47

Post to: del.icio.usDiggNewsvineNowPublicReddit

"Moral Minority - Britain was bound by the Treaty which is the European Convention of Human Rights. Until the Human Rights Act 1998 came into force in 2000 British citizens had direct access to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg (which is not, repeat not, an institution of the European Union or anything to do with it)."

Before the Human Rights Act 1998, the Strasbourg court could not enforce its rulings in the British courts. The Human Rights Act was a disgraceful surrender of our sovereignty.

London Tory should note that Giles Chichester MEP, now leader of our delegation in Strasbourg and Brussels, explained to me in detail the UK's position on the EHRC, before the 1998 Act. He's hardly Bill Cash!

Moral Minority - I disgaree with your analysis of the ECHR. The treaty obligations were ratified in 1951 or 2 and since that time, UK citizens could petition the Court directly - they would now need to petition the Commission. Successive British Governments have accepted both the jurisdiction of the court in Strasbourg and the powers of that court to make orders and awards in favour of applicants. No British Government has ignored a ruling and so the question of enforcement does not arise ... any enforcement would be taken by the Council of Europe (nothing to do with the EU) in any event which could do many things including suspending membership in appropriate circumstances.

There are many difficulties with the Human Rights Act - some complain about the politisisation of the judicariy; others of the meddling by the judiciary in political matters; but I have to say that it is the first time that I have seen somone complain that 'the Human Rights Act was a disgraceful surrender of our sovereignty'. Given that the HRA permits our courts to adjudicate on matters directly; given that previously they could only take judicial notice of those same treaty obligations where ambiguity permitted a number of interpretations so as to interpret the law compatibly with those obligations if possible; and given that the remedy that the UK courts now have is to make a declaration of incompatibility; I have some doubts as to whether there is any surrender of sovereignty in the HRA at all. No doubt someone will let me know where and how I am wrong.

My own concern about the HRA is that it is used by this Government as a means, ironically, to restrict our freedom. Ever increasingly illiberal legislation is passed and each one is declared to be compatible by the Minister promoting it, with our ECHR obligations. In this way, our freedoms are being removed were they are said not to be protected by the Convention rights.

Having said all of that, I believe that Dominic Grieve has been one of our best Parliamentary performers in the last year - in Parliament and outside it ... and I tend to agree with his criticisms of those who appear to believe that the ECHR is at the root of all our difficulties. Personally, I suspect that it is rather peripheral to the daily lives of most Brits - and only of interest to those at the edges, whether lawyers, those interested in freedom or those interested in the minutiae of politics.

Sam - David Lidington already has shadow cabinet status, even though he is William Hague's number two

Christian, you're right in that he does attend shad cab meetings.

Now that Evan Price (who does sound as if he knows what he's talking about) has effectively shown up Grieve Watch's ignorance on the ECHR and Human Rights Act perhaps someone out there can do the same for Grieve Watch's (on its own admission) secondary allegations about Grieve fellow travelling with something called "the New Left" (what's that when it's at home?)and support for Hamas (pretty outrageous if untrue). So far as I can discover all that Grieve has ever done is work hard (and largely successfully) for years to promote Conservative Party principles and policies to and improve the Party's relations with all ethnic minorities throughout this country, including British Muslims, and to defend the fundamental liberties of all British citizens. Sounds Conservative to me and highly effective in undermining the inflated claims of the men currently in power in this country (although, God willing, not for much longer). Clearly a fairly substantial number of Conservative Home's December respondents agree

Dominic Grieve has done more than anyone in Parliament to promote the Conservative Party to become more inclusive.
His work in the Party has been exemplary when it comes to working with Muslims.
Muslims have been very sceptical of the Conservative Party but Dominic Grieve single handed has attended events (Hostile or Not)and got people like me to play a part in the Party's future.
Asking the question whether Dominic Grieve should be in the Shadow Cabinet is like asking the question"Does Mr Kipling know how to bake cakes"?

Patrick Mercer, was wildly insensitive and entirely indifferent when he described racial abuse as part and parcel of life in the Army, little wonder therefore, having undermined the Tory Party and caused an uproar Cameron was forced to give him his marching orders.

In an interview the embittered Newark MP was asked an important question "is David Cameron a man of principle?" the answer to which should have been a resounding loyal yes, however Mercer knowing that his reply could damage the Tory Party would only say "He is the leader" and when he was pressed to answer that question Patrick Mercer with finality sticks two fingers up and stands to leave.

Afterwards, he chose to advise Gordon Brown at a time of maximum difficulty for David Cameron, and after that uproar he said he did not regret working for the Gordon Brown government and that doing so had perhaps put him on the outer edge of the Tory Party, but that’s not important to him, because he was not in politics to be a member of the Conservative Party first and foremost.

First and foremost by hook or by crook Patrick Mercer’s allegiance is to the Army and by the grace of Cameron that perceivably disloyal Tory man has obtained the first half of his goal and if all the young men of this country would kindly join the Army to be sent to Iraq and Afghanistan to fight and die for the greed of corporate powers then perhaps the reserve of a multitude of young men in the Army will fulfill the second half of the mania that is Patrick Mercer, perhaps the biggest shyster in modern political history.

Patrick Mercer is a definite asset to a future Conservative Government. He comes with years of valuable miltary experience and he knows exactly what he is talking about. It would be a mistake and a great loss to the country not to include him in the future shadow cabinet/government.

It's just all those left wing, delicate, sensitive types that contributed to him being fired.

Interesting but somewhat insensitive point of view.

I take it by "delicate" and "sensitive types", you are referring to human beings, especially so those with a sense of morality and damn inconvenient principles that rightly contributed to Mercer receiving his marching orders.

I’m afraid the military experience of Mr Mercer is tainted by his apparent lack of humane concern and loyalty

Patrick Mercer, claimed that being called a "black bastard" is part-and-parcel of life for ethnic minorities in the Armed Forces and therefore the anti-racism trade union being set up by servicemen from former colonial countries was to his mind "complete and utter rot"

16 children and their teacher were shot dead in the Dunblane primary school gym, their little bodies riddled with bullets, the floor soaked with their blood and Mercer wanted the ban on handguns introduced after the Dunblane massacre to be revoked.

He said that gun crimes were like joy riding, people were killed by cars, but cars were not banned. Many believed they could see his real character for the first time, some believed he was showing his true colours those of an incredibly "insensitive bastard", which now would likely include the soldiers that needed to set up the anti-racism trade union.

Patrick Mercer, said that if we want peace we must vote for war, the toady voted for the unwarranted war on Iraq and look at the bloody outcome and threat of deadly and ruinous terrorist attack upon this nation for years to come.

His advise if we want peace we must vote for war was wildly off the mark but how very advantageous to him.

We should listen intensely to what he may say about matters of security but he rightly belongs on the backbenchers not on any future shadow cabinet/government.

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