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Is this forum to pretend that the man responsible for putting this team in place has today not been accused (in what was once known as the party's House Journal)of accepting a four hundred thousand pound bribe for granting the early release of two drugs dealers after 11 months when facing a sentence of 17 years?

Michael Howard, as my blog Teetering Tories reported concurrently, cleverly arranged the succession. If any of the Telegraph report stands up, and one must presume it will for surely it would otherwise not have been printed, then the Cameroon's are, thank heavens, finished!

Martin - looking at the actual report, it doesn't actually suggest Howard did anything wrong. On the contrary, I'm wondering why his photograph is on the article at all and why it is only mentioned that "a relative" - unnamed - accepted the money.

I too hope the "Cameroons" are soon for the chop, though for their own folly rather than the sins of the father, who got me into the party in the first place and whose manifesto correctly predicted the whole economic crisis in the first place.

Louise, it is mysterious although the BBC web page dated 30th October mentions the following:

"The court heard Haase said his nephew Mr Bennett had told him he knew a relation of Mr Howard, Simon Bakerman.

He said they later supplied £400,000 in a holdall, which was later delivered to Mr Bakerman.

In the affidavit, Haase said when he was freed from prison in 1996, he returned to Liverpool, met Mr Bakerman in a pub, and thanked him for his help, rewarding him with ten kilos of "brown" (heroin)."

There is no benefit to us speculating re Michael Howard, Martin although I'm personally sure he is innocent.

Please keep future comments on topic.

I agree with you Tim. Cameron handles these press conferences like a natural, but he needs to start bringing in other members of the Shadow Cabinet too.

I don't like the Cameroons or Michael Howard but I do not believe he is guilty of anything dishonest.

I like IDS and want his bald pate on the telly whenever there's a story about crime and social breakdown.

I agree with the need to show a core team. The public expectation got higher about a Govt-in-waiting when our polling increased over the last year. In some ways the issues we are dealing with result from the public liking what they see but wondering what it really entails. Then recently the onset of a stark economic downturn naturally led people to want to know more, more quickly about a Govt in waiting. Added to this Labour have been in desperate full spin mode ready to chuck mud and lies around.

We've been saying this for ages. We have some fine speakers like Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove and Nick Herbert who are chronically underused.Grieve has been far better in debate than I expected and Hague can destroy any Labour minister. We need to show that we have a strong team (which I think we do)not just a charismatic leader.

Yes, good idea as long as it is not a role call of public school boys and old etonians..
Get Hague, Pickles and some ladies up there to deflect this - jolly chaps line of attack

"Our party's frontbench is more than the equal of Brown's. Let's show it off."

Utterly deluded. Much though I loathe Labour, I am not alone in taking more confidence from the Mandleson/Brown/Darling team managing the crisis than Osborne who is a slimey, irksome and small man, part of the bred for power elite who lacks any visible trace of ever having worried about anything.

Reading through the comments it's interesting to see how you people seem to think this is some game you can win by fielding players. You are playing to the media gallery and that is why you continue to dance to the medias tune. That is why we never get real politics or policies and you are addressing an increasingly dwindling number who are still swayed by this theatre.

It is the main reason why most of us are so heartily sick of you and your creed.

Were the tories to actually come up with something the broader public actually wants, they would not need to play this silly presentation game. Come up with a package people can get passionate about (ie substantional tax cuts) and you will not only be swept to power but you will also reinvigorate politics.

The fact you are willing to dance to the medias tune is the very reason the media have any power and the medias role is part of the reason politics is so intert.

Stop talking to the journos and start talking to voters. Don't be afraid to be real tories. You have fielded half measures for the last few elections, pretty much maintaining the status quo. We are tired of consensus politics and the middle ground is not working.

Maintaining the middle ground ensures political parties are viewed as the same lump we can't get rid of whichever way we vote. Give us a clear choice and we might just bother to vote.

Malcolm Dunns comment says it all. He sounds like football manager.

I fully agree with Peter at 02:25.

I did not intend to start this thread off topic, rather assumed that it was a clever attempt to give some serious thought to the Michael Howard problem following the courtroom allegations.

This matter cannot be ignored, those seriously interested in governance should be deeply worried at the effect the suggestion of associating other, so far untainted members of their party, with the likes of Cameron and Osborne who will be clearly damaged if there is any truth in this media speculation. That is all this proposal presently seems likely to achieve.

Only David Davis has so far managed to remove his reputation from that of DC.

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