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Not sure who these unnamed women are...I think Big Eric would be a superb choice!

Seems a really unlikely "silly season" story to me. I don't think Tory women MPs take a feminist/sisterly approach, at least not at the expense of a pragmatic approach. I agree Eric seems a good choice.

As DD will not be in the shadow cabinet immediately, I welcome the suggestion that Eric Pickles should become part chairman.
Unlike many, I do not argue against having a number of old Etonians in government per se - if they are the best people for the job!
I do think though that DC is in danger of having a small clique of like-minded people round him and I would argue in favour of introducing people from different backgrounds, especially those with experience of having done jobs carrying responsibility - like DD and John Redwood.

I completely agree with the idea that on grounds of diversity alone Eric trumps Caroline. He does much more to challenge the conventional stereotype of a Tory.

PS I also think he'd be a better Chairman on all conventional meritocratic criteria.

Is Eric whiter and maler than other white males in the party? It's ridiculous that his progression is being discussed in these terms.

I'm feeling very sorry for Caroline Spelman, although I like Eric Pickles. He was once the leader of Bradford Council (my borough).

What I'm happy about though is that we've still got a whopping 22pct lead - that's the big story. Lovely, long may it last! :)

I wasn't aware that there was a vacancy for the post. In what way is this kind of article at all helpful to the party?

Caroline Spelman has done a great job at CCHQ - helping sort out the party organisation and contributing to Conservative electoral results without equal since the 1980s. I would have thought that a recognition of this success would be a more worthwhile blog post than a snipe at CS, whic only helps our opponents.

It's a shame there aren't elections for the Party Chairman.

The members would then have a champion who would, for example, defend their interests in elections.

I disagree with elections.
The Chairman must have the leader's confidence.
A directly-elected Chairman would create a rival to the leader's authority.

I'd love to see Eric as Party Chairman.

I can see a Pickles Express Coach touring marginals during the General Election, targeting all the seats in Lancashire, Yorkshire and also the Midlands that we need for victory.

Pleeeeease make it happen Mr Cameron.

Votedave - quite right. I'm not sure why the 22 % lead isn't the main heading for this article, rather than a piece of sniping against the Party Chairman.

Eric Pickles is quite a guy. He is one of the most genuine people I have met in the Conservative Party. It would be great to see Cameron go for competence over PCism for a change.

Theresa May was a disastrous Party Chairman but may be the "defender" in the story above. It was May who tarnished our brand with the "nasty party" jibe - her Ratner moment.

It is clear that Spelperson is not up to the job. Her media appearances, especially Question Time, have been awful. Nannygate is just the latest example of her incompetence and it appears that, to say the least, she has been economical with the truth.

Eric Pickles has done a terrific job - in local elections as well as Parliamentary by-elections. He should be given the Party Chairman job, Eric should have full control over general election planning and candidates. Osborne is useless and Maples is too Europhile and a factional Wet.

Of course Eric Pickles should be Party Chairman - he's done a terrific job in the 2007 and 2008 elections, and he handles the media well. He addresses people's concerns and they like his cheery optimism. And of course, we will benefit from his organisational skills.

Caroline Spelman does have some very good ideas on housing - how to get more of the right kind of development aswell as protecting the green belt, and I always believed her talents were better suited there. Unfortunately, she has not been able to wrap up this Nannygate story with a clear explanation, and we're very lucky that the electorate hasn't so far held this (and other stories) against the party as a whole more.


This is a place for grassroots Tories to discuss and debate.

Discussing who should be Chairman is part of the fun.

If you only want to discuss what the party high ups want you to discuss why don't you just go to the official party site?

I would welcome the appointment of Eric Pickles as chairman of the party, as I think he is an excellent campaign strategist - but more importantly because it would get him away from areas of policy formation in the field of local government where I believe that, despite his apparent experience, he has been too focussed on areas which appeal to the tabloid newspapers and has not fought hard enough over important issues such as local government powers and planning.

I do take the point that Caroline Spelman may have achieved more behind the scenes - but it doesn't show much because the job is a dual role including handling the media.
She is better in a department or shadowing one.

Obviously David Cameron must select who he wants at the end of the day - the person should not be imposed by the party members - but Eric Pickles should definitely be the Chairman if it was my decision.

I have very high regard for Eric Pickles. However, the 22pct lead does not indicate to me that the Caroline Spelman story has made the blindest bit of difference. The voters out there have far more pressing matters on their minds - take the credit crunch. On a personal note I am having to go back to my old job in a couple of months time due to the fact that our client is going out of business.
People will shoot me down in flames for saying so - but although Eric Pickles would make a great chairman I am concerned that to axe Mrs Spelman, particularly if she is found to be innocent, may risk giving the impression that we are an opportunistic gentleman's club. This requires caution.

According to the Daily Mail: "In practice, [Andrew Feldman] is in the inner circle and [Caroline Spelman] is outside it."

Oh dear, it looks like David Cameron is starting to ape Blair's example of appointing friends and placemen to usurp the role of elected members.

Like everyone who believes in the primacy of elected members, I am aghast at this revelation and thank the Mail newspaper for its investigative role in bringing this to light.

When I voted for David Cameron to become leader of our party, I really believed he was a better, more honorable man, than Tony Blair ever could be. But, by allowing a whispering campaign to develop against one of the party's leading women politicians and apparently sanctioning the undermining of a Member of Parliament, he is giving us a foretaste of what his Government could be like.

Thank goodness the party still has some honorable people left; folk like David Davis who was prepared to risk all for something he believes in.

DC shouldn`t change anything. He as strong cabinet, the party is doing well why change. Its nonsense.How can we expect shadow ministers to get on top of there jobs and come forward with policies if they keep being moved or think that there not going to be in there job for too long. Lets have stability not all this nonsense that increasingly makes politics look like some sort of glorified soap!

Does the Chairman matter any more?

Ashcroft runs target seats.

Osborne runs the big political strategy.

Andrew Feldman is CEO.

The Party Board does the internal party management.

"How can we expect shadow ministers to get on top of there jobs and come forward with policies if they keep being moved or think that there not going to be in there job for too long....."

This is very true. In the past, departments such as Transport suffered because Ministers (and Shadows) just came through it on the way to something else. It shouldn't be like that - these jobs require long term plans.

Some changes are probably needed re Chairman etc, but it should be a limited reshuffle, even in opposition.

wonder if anyone can help me , i am not a member of the party but i do share a lot of your views, is it ok for me to comment on this site when i am not a member of the party.

Archie of course not. Haven`t you got what this sites all about yet. Its a site for those Conservatives who want the Conservative Party to lose the next election!!

You are very welcome Archie to comment here. Thanks for asking.

And please ignore Jack. Despite his criticism of the site he spends A LOT of time here!

Eric Pickles is the right candidate for Party Chairman as he has helped ensure our revival in local government and then there was that stunning result in Crewe & Nantwich . Caroline Spelman , Theresa May , Andrew Mitchell , Peter Duncan , Peter Ainsworth , Francis Maude and David Willetts are ripe for the axe . Justine Greening is ripe for promotion to the Business portfolio while a media friendly type like Alan Duncan is the best choice for the DEFRA role . Adam Ayfrie would be good as University & Skills Shadow Secretary and Shalesh Vara would represent a good choice for Shadow Commons Leader ( he is the deputy at present ) & Cabinet Office Spokesman . Eleanor Laing was fine as Shadow Scottish Secretary under Michael Howard - why not restore her to a job that she was fine at ? Could Maria Miller really be anymore invisible as International Development Spokesman than the present , hapless incumbent ? We are supposed to be majoring on global poverty & green issues why are messars Ainsworth & Mitchell not making any headway ?

For me although I like Pickles, George Osborne would be the best choie. This job suits his talents better than the role he currently holds. It looks like we will inherit a fairly wrecked economy if there's an election within two years and we nwill need our best financial brains at the Treasury. Redwood should obviously have a key role and I also believe Hague would more useful there than at the FO.

Archie, welcome; it will be interesting to hear your thoughts.

My view on Spelman etc is mixed actually - what's very clear is that the best person should do any given job. However, how to define the "best person" concept is tricky.

What if you have someone who is clearly not awfully articulate but who probably appeals to a certain section of the population.

We exist to win elections so there is, I suppose, an argument for saying that person should do that job.

However, once you accept that the "best person" is a grey area, it does mean that the leader must also accept that the less articulate person should not be exposed to those communication aspects of the role - it's not fair on him/her otherwise.

I can't wait to see david cameron in number 10 and let's hope when he is that we get a referendum on the eu, i would vote to come out.

For Local Government Spokesman if Eric Pickles gets the Chairmanship John Redwood could be the man to take Hazel Blears apart ! He could highlight how to dismantle the QUANGO state , empower councils and slash red tape while devising a credible long term funding structure for local government . John Redwood as Local Government Spokesman with a broader QUANGO slashing brief could deliver the savings needed to fund essential tax cuts for those like me who cannot afford to live in Labour Britain . Sounds like a vote winner to me !

I very much agree with Malcolm Dunn at 17.37.

Whenever the election comes, the first thing to mend is the economy and we need people with a real grasp of the brief (John Redwood, Micahael Fallon etc, possibly William Hague).

George Osborne has pulled some rabbits out of the hat as shadow chancellor but these were political acts (of some vital importance, admittedly, but they do nothing to prove that he has the necessary grasp of the detail required).

He would however make a very capable chairman (if the post arises), while Eric Pickles would be invaluable in overseeing local authorities, especially if our once much vaunted local democracy is to be implemented.

bit of a joke really. the only people who would support eric are those who do not understand the shallowness of his talents. his only and successful strength is grandstanding and taking the credit when it is not his to take.

I do not agree with Eric becoming Chaiman, Caroline is doing a fine job.

But I do wonder if Eric will follow Camerons suggestion that the fat should stop eating too much.

I would like to see Grieve removed as SHS and IDS take his place. IDS work on breakdown Britain has been fantastic and to put him as SHS would show we are serious about this issue.

"But I do wonder if Eric will follow Camerons suggestion that the fat should stop eating too much."


Is she really still there?

I don't think Eric has the brainpower to be Chairman. He seemed a bit thick on Question Time.

"I don't think Eric has the brainpower to be Chairman. He seemed a bit thick on Question Time."


Now I know your not a tory.

Dale, stop being silly.

Eric Pickles is a god, and I was singing his praises years ago, I'm not one of these recent converts.

He's like catnip to voters, they like to be told things in words they understand, especilly with a northern(not natural tory territory) accent.

And who cares if he is overweight? So was churchill.

Eric Pickles is probably te only europhile in the conservative party that isn't universally loathed by the grassroots.

You say you had "A ConservativeHome poll of 1,470 party members..."

How do you know they were members? You often imply here and in other media that your polls show what Tory members think.

Unless you have radically changed your methodology and employed a professional pollster, your polls cannot claim to know what members think as you have to ask respondents to say if they are members.

It is unlikely that all those Labour, Liberal or other party supporters who enjoy pulling your chain are not saying they are members. It is even more unlikely that you have a genuine random sample of members to be reliable as a reflection of party opinion.

Can I just point out to those who have commented on here, it was not Eric Pickles that won the Crewe and Nantwich By-Election, it was Stephen Gilbert who did all the work and laid the strategy for our fantastic victory.

I agree with Graham Smith. It looks like Cameron's govt will be business as usual.
As a young conservative, it makes me sick that the older ones in power seem to hold onto the old boy network. What has Caroline done wrong?

Mr Editor,
Anthony Wells of UK Polling Report has let it be known that the Sunday Times got the figures wrong!!!
It was in fact 47:25:16, so even better. Please do amend accordingly.

That a projected Conservative overall majority of 250.

Tim---Is Eric a Christian?

I'm sure Caroline is an honest M.P and thought that employing her nannie as secretary was O/k It was not O.K even though it was prpbably 'normal practice.' She should resign. Her image on T.V does the Conservative party no favours, she is such a typical conservative lady of the old school that she is better working hard but not seen in public

I like Eric Pickles - my era of Young Conservative, however, I have met and do like Caroline Spelman.

She should stay, unless she is found guilty! If she is moved it must not be on the presumption of guilt.

Editor, I must confess to being disappointed that the erroneous LibDem figure of 18% has not been amended to 16%. Take a look at UK Polling Report and you'll see what I mean.

Dan at 19.05 - who cares whether Eric is a Christian or not? You don't have to be a Christian to be a Conservative or Party Chairman. There are too many religious nutters in the party already.

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