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This is the sort of thing that always happens before reshuffles! Let's hope DC makes his decisions sooner rather than later.

Possible payback for his "part-time wise rather than full-time ignorant" remark?

He has always seemed competent, if somewhat relaxed, on the times I have seen him. His Dept is crucial to finding solutions through the recession, and will become more high-profile through the coming months.
I have time for Ken Clarke too, but striving for symmetry in promoting him to this position to face-off with Mandelsohn strikes me as not fully thought through. There may be a case but I don't know what it is.
It will depend on how much work has gone on behind the scenes: After all if you have done your work, why hang around the office for the sake of the slackers who haven't? And if you haven't done the work, we will soon know.

This makes me angry! What good does it do the party to have private briefings against anybody. I'm not a particular fan of Alan Duncan but CCHQ should be striving to build a united Cabinet and not briefing against any member of it ever. If he's not up to the job or his outside interests get in the way (I 'm not suggesting that they do or not) then let him go at the reshuffle. But for God's sake don't put snide little stories in the media. Have we really learned nothing in the last 15 years or am I being naive?

What has Alan Duncan done in his role as Minister for the North East?
While Cameron and Hague are in the North East where is Alan - on the 'piste'. So on the day Nissan announces 1200 jobs to go - Alan is skiing.
Do you really think his hearts in the job?

Troll Alert!

So he is on holiday. Big Deal

I think thats the crux of it with Duncan- he made a few quid in business and now thinks that political high office will fall in his lap.

He wants to be it, but he does not want to do it.


He is a competent man, an accomplished man and a confident man, sometimes confidence does not translate well. That seems where he gets in trouble, and rubs people the wrong way. But if he is doing his job well, then what’s the problem!

Just shuffle him into another role. We need to put an incredibly smart and articulate Lord up against Mandy.

He went on holiday before the announcement that the 'recession tour' was going to happen. So they expected him to fly back from his vacation mid-way, in order to participate in a PR stunt?

If there had been a national emergency which required his services (by which I mean a sudden new one, not the grinding on of the one that's going to last all year and longer) then I'd understand.

Do we really expect our MPs to never ever take a holiday? We're in a very nasty recession, but we're not at war!

Cut the guy some slack. He'll do much better work after the break than forcing him to march around the country smiling.

And next time something is being organised, try and let the MPs you want involved have some notice. Particularly if their vacation is an all-party organised trip that is common knowledge.


Briefing against a Shadow Cabinet member by party officials should be a sacking offence under any circumstances. Briefing against an able and effective operator like Alan Duncan is beyond idiotic. And now we have the massed ranks of Con Home backstabbers joining in too. Get a grip, people.

Alan Duncan is one of the few shadow cabinet members that we DO see regularly, and it seems a little silly to be having a go at MPs for daring to take a holiday-especially when as everyone has recognised, they were holding the shop when everyone ELSE were taking their holidays!

Don't worry Alan, being out of favour with the Cameroonys will do you absolutely no harm with the membership on the ground who are the backbone of the party. Your time will come.

I would hope that Cameron resists doing anything to sack or demote Alan Duncan as some people seem to be advising. Lets remember, if all political careers fell because the MP was out of the country instead of at the scene of a particular catastrophe, then David Cameron himself would have found his leadership cut short in the Summer of 2007! Quite rightly, we all defended him for not being in his constituency on the day of the great floods, is he now going to hang a member of his team for a similarly trivial offence???

I suspect that the hoo-ha is less opinions of Duncan but more the media picking up on the well know Tory way of being unable to grasp what interests voters and putting themselves before party and, for that matter, country. That Tories put a higher priority on personel, or domestic life, than Labour may be a good thing but it provides too much tempting targets for the media to not have a giggle at.

But at least he refers to "Gordon Brown's recession".

Why doesn't CCHQ follow that line rather more and support shadow ministers until they are moved or sacked?

I suspect Charles Alex is not the only troll is he Dixie?

This is not really relevant. We have the same problem with other party figures like Boris Johnson. Duncan, Johnson and others may be somewhat popular with members but the members don't really know them. Everyone who actually knows Duncan knows that he is not respected by his colleagues. There is a similar "popularity" chasm re: Johnson between his colleagues and the members who don't know him and have never had to work alongside him. Most people in Westminster will find it entirely unsurprising that he is sitting in some ski chalet in Switzerland when this is going on. It's very much par for the course.

The longer the reshuffle takes to happen the more these stories will appear against different people, all part of the cloak and dagger world of politics.

Of course when the Cameroons demand that people "get behind Cameron" they can just be reminded how the Roons publicly knife and humiliate MP's on their *own* side who have fallen out of favour.

Disgraceful behaviour. So much for 'change'...

I am not entirely sure if he is best suited to his present post, but accusing him of complacency because he goes on holiday is PATHETIC. Even politicians need time away, and completely away from it all. The poor so can't even get away half way up a mountain. People need to get a grip.

Just imagine if a Labour minister had acted like Alan Duncan, Conservative Home would be red hot with criticism !

Ahhh the revolting hypocrisy of it all. the Cameroonies anonymously briefing against a Shadow Cabinet member whilst constantly whining on about how the party at large shouldn't criticise their golden boy.

Never realised what a troll was until recently. Do Now! He or she is someone who disagrees with the extremist views of most Conservative party members.
It seems then the party must have a troll as its leader!!

All I know is Alan is an incredibly sexy man, he looks tremendous for a sixty two old. I think we should nominate him as Mr Gay Uk for 2009.

A troll is someone who pretends to be someone they are not to post ludicrous policies.

People can usually spell THEIR OWN name properly.

Superbore. Is that the best you can come up with?

Troll am I? Very droll but a bit far from the mark. Just answer the question - what has he done for the North East? A troll indeed - how juvenile people. Oh I forgot Alan introduced the Tyneside Test didn't he? Think he's just failed it eh. Francis Maude/Eric Pickles/William Hague and David Cameron all in the North East over the last month but no sign of Alan. The writing is on the piste I think.

Well Alan certainly doesn't have the looks of a troll, he is like an older man's Jude Law. He must have been a male model in his youth.

Not happy to hear about anyone from CCHQ briefing about any member of the Shadow Cabinet team, and I hope that they are flushed out.

Alan Duncan is a very able media performer, and should certainly be used much more, just as some of Blair's better media performers in his cabinet were as media troubleshooters when the government was under fire on various issues.

I always tend to mark Duncan highly in the ConHom polls, I found him an impressive performer who did really well a while ago on Question Time in Glasgow. No mean feat!

I bet Alan is an impressive performer in the bedroom as well as on TV!

If AD gets the boot in the reshuffle, we'd be losing a good man.

Not my type of Tory I have to say, and I do not like his built in sneer. He comes across as a know it all. If Cameron drops him that will be fine by me.

I agree with Malcolm Dunn's post at 15:35. Very well put; I think we should all be concerned at 'briefings' from unaccountable CCHQ staffers. Like them or loathe them MPs have been democratically elected, are subjected to public and media scrutiny and for the most part try to do a decent job. They (and we) don't need snide attacks from faceless types who haven't had the bottle to stand for office themselves. As for Alan Duncan... well he worked through Christmas while others were sitting in front of the telly with a box of Quality Street. When he finally takes his leave he's subjected to a CCHQ inspired whispering campaign...NICE!

Surely he was spending Christmas with his wife and five children

I hope next year he does one of those naked calenders, he could be posing all around his constituency. I would certainly buy one!

Briefings such as this, while you are in the lead in the polls and in opposition, along with all the other CCHQ incompetence you've reported makes me worry what it might be like if the Tories are in power, not in the lead, and in trouble. This is unbelievably self-indulgent.


*Sigh* Alan Duncan is one of our best performers. He's excellent on tv and radio, and by the sounds of it does well on the rubber chicken circuit as well. Add to that he's currently occupying a poisoned chalice in Business & Enterprise where he's having to wrestle with Redwood's policy reports and Labour largesse. Sadly his real forte (Energy) is now another brief for someone else (Greg Clark I think), but he's still the best man for the job.

Why was my comment overwritten, all I said was Alan would whip Central Office into shape. It is clear the evil forces of anti-Alanism are moving against me; however nothing will keep a good man like Alan Duncan down. He is truly wonderful.

AD is certainly a major asset to the Party and should be used as such. Of course, Ken should also be brought back in to the Shadow Cabinet if at all possible.

I agree that private briefings against members of the Shadow Cabinet are unacceptable. I also feel that public campaigns by Conservative Home to try to undermine the position of the Party Chairman are utterly unacceptable.

Duncan needs to go. Lightweight. No judgement. Disliked. What was it Matthew D'Ancona said about him, "bumptious twerp?"


If you really want to know what a troll is, look at your own reflection.

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