« David Cameron to launch new environmental policy this afternoon via a webcast | Main | David Cameron promises money saving environmentalism »


I still feel this whole vote was in slightly bad taste. I'm sure it wasn't designed to be devisive, but it does feel rather like a ConHome anti-Spelman, pro-Pickles campaign.

EP for Chairman. Jeremy is going places and is a nice guy but we need a heavy hitter, someone that calls a spade a spade and is able to take Labour on and smack them down. The media would love EP and as he doesn't suffer fools gladly, there will be a little blood-letting with some of the more left wing in our media.

Jeremy is too nice to handle this role and whilst I have agreed with many things that DC has done, this would be a mistake.

Caroline will be exonerated as she is one of the most honest people in the House. The full story will come out and I wish her the very best.

Eric has certainly the credentials to significantly broaden the Party's appeal to the working class people that we need to reach out to and connect with.

His approach is consistent with modern conservatism and he has my vote is there is to be such a change.

To Jenks;

By their nature all votes are divisive, general elections are divisive, but I'm grateful that this site gives me a voice.

I like Eric. He has done it out on the streets unlike many of them.

Top bloke, deserves the job and will be good at it.

Well done ConHome - Eric must be so proud of your campaign to undermine the Party Chairman in this way. Personally, I find someone like Spelman far easier to sell to swing voters because she doesn't look or sound like a stereotype Tory. When she came and did a visit in our constituency people who previously thought of the Tories and shuddered were genuinely charmed by her. Still, I guess ConHome knows best.

Marge, Eric is hardly a stereotype Tory.

I make no apology for holding this vote. If you don't think it's worthwhile to know members' views we simply aren't going to begin to agree.

Tim is entirely right...Chris is an excellent performer and rightly deserves high approval figures. I'm one of those who rate him highly.

This role isn't as well suited for him as other senior positions.

It's horses for courses. Cometh the hour, cometh EP.

.The Party Chairman needs to identify/work with the grass roots local member and Associations and if you've ever spoken to Eric he can be extremely condescending of the 'little people' back doing all leg work in Constituency and extremely full of his own importance. Caroline is the complete opposite and from the female point of view is easy to identify with and not at all 'supermom'. She should stay

One query. The poll was not limited to conservative party members and so why has this been the only stat that has been extrapolated from it? Isn't this the sort of behaviour we deplore newspaper editors for in their search for a headline?


Perhaps it would have been helpful to have had a job description before the poll. I can only guess at what is involved and, as I know little of the candidates and their abilities, I did not vote.

Having said that, I think Tim is perfectly entitled to run this poll; after all, we get the impression that the leadership doesn't pay much attention to what we say.

The latter is a pity. I put up an idea to ConHome on 23 November last about the possible creation of a toxic bank. This was ignored by ConHome and the party but, according to today's Telegraph, is to be discussed by the PM this weekend as a possible way forward. The conservatives could have had it first.

I too, agree that Pickles is probably the best man for the job, but I'm going to be brave and actually say this - the Chairman represents the party and as such he should lose some weight. Perhaps Nigel Lawson's diet book?

I think Eric Pickles is able but I think he has exactly the wrong image to persuade swing voters. ConHome needs to put aside its prejudices and see the bigger picture!

This is the first time I have contributed to this particular 'Blog' and I am moved to do so by the alleged result of the Poll for Chairman!!!
Of all people I could NOT envisage EP as Chairman. I know him well, and so do others, from his time in Yorkshire, and he is NOT the person to Chair this Party!!!!!

I personally dont think the party can afford to loose Eric Pickles from the current role he undertakes, he is one of the party's biggest hitters, and currently stands opposite the well known and firey Hazel Blears. I think any replacement in the area would loose ground to Ms Blears.

If anything I would like to see Eric Pickles become the partys election co-ordinator. Nothing against George Osbourne, but I dont think he can undertake such an important shadow cabinet role when he effectively holds two roles. It could be argued that it would be make sense for Osbourne to hold the two roles, when the next general election is going to fought over the economy, however I think Eric is far more effective in grass roots activism. Plus an outsider looking in, working with Osbourne, Cameron would be far effective as more heads are better than one.

Coming back to the party chairmans role, I dont think Spelman has done anything wrong to warrant being dismissed. Shes been cleared of any wrong doing, and has done a fantastic job in her time. I can understand that potential damage to her name has been done over scandals etc associated with her name, due sadly to the media spinning it, but I think the party needs to stand firmly behind her. I think she is going to be a future front bencher, and could be an effective replacement for Francis Maude. Currently I would leave her where she is.

What about Liam Fox? What other names did pollsters suggest as an alternative to the four you proposed?

I agree with Scott Carlton @ 11.10. Eric Pickles is perfect where he is. He is doing a first class job. Don't move him. He is needed where he is currently.

Con Home has had a systematic campaign to undermine Caroline Spelman and boost the image of Eric Pickles over the past few months. This has been a campaign of open disloyalty to the Party Chairman. Clearly the often posted appeals for loyalty from other political figures from the Editor have all the validity of the Seven Commandments in Animal Farm.

It would have been useful if Con Home had got behind our Party Chairman in recent months when she has been under unfair attack from our enemies. Instead the site has chosen to work to further undermine the Party Chairman.

Frankly, Caroline deserves so much better than this. She has put the Party in a position of electoral strength not seen since the 1980s (even allowing much of the credit to be, unfairly, taken by others). She has worked tirelessly to put the Party on a more professional footing.

There is no vacancy. Con Home would have done well to have remembered this fact rather than working hard to promote one of its favourites at the expense of our most successful Chairman since the 80s. A little bit of loyalty would have gone a long way.

Sam: These aren't ConHome's "prejudices" but the views of nearly fifteen hundred members. Caroline has some enthusiastic supporters on this thread and on Wednesday's. I'm pleased that she has but this survey shows that their views - that she could continue as Party Chairman - are those of a relatively small minority.

How many votes were cast?

Tim: to return to my earlier point.

What was the share in votes on all votes rather just party member votes?

1,495 Giles; as stated at the beginning of the post :-)

Thanks Paul; You'll get a answer on Sunday afternoon.

Jennifer Wells:

I agree entirely, and of course this site is fantastic for giving members like me a voice. But I also agree with a comment on yesterday's post - this vote would sit much better if there were "who should be the next Shadow Chancellor / Shadow Foreign Secretary / Shadow DCMS Secretary etc etc etc " votes running along side it. It just feels a bit like the Chairmanship (and Spelman?) is being singled out.

Isn't it the case that all the votes cast in this 'campaign' are those of a relatively small minority, even those in favour of Pickles? I'd like to think most supporters are out there cmapaigning for the important elections we have in a few months rather than on this website campaigning to undermine the Chairman, mainly on the basis of questionable accounts of Pickles' role in Crewe.

Result of shameless promotion by Tim Montgomerie and this site.

"but I agree with members that Eric Pickles is the best candidate to be Party Chairman. Jeremy Hunt is one of my three 'big beasts of the future'."

Tim Montgomerie as arbiter of talent in the conservative party?

Maybe he does have a sense of humour, it certainly makes me laugh

Well another reason why Pickes should not be Chairman..... he will have the ear of ConHome. What a lot of damage you do to our party.

To those attacking Conservativehome:

It was not 57pc of Conservativehome staff who want Eric Pickles as Party Chairman but 57pc of members.

Disreali, I'm curious to know what Caroline has done that has inspired such regard from you? I'm not a party insider so she may well have achieved things not in the public eye. Care to enlighten us?

Tim, thank you for giving odinary grass roots members a voice. It is all very well to say we shouldn't have polls like this as it undermines people, but surely what undermines them more is a feeling amongst the grass roots that the person doing a key job isn't up to it. I like Caroline, and she is a great politician, but for whatever reason, she hasn't been as effective as chairman as she was in previous roles. I voted for Grayling, but I would be more than happy with Pickles.

It is VITAL that we have these kind of polls, so that Cameron and the 'high-ups' know exactly what we the workers are thinking. Conhome is the only chance we get to make our voice heard. As with the Ken Clarke issue, if Tim and Jonathan weren't allowing us to have our say, the views of the workers would simply be ignored. Cameron might choose to appoint someone else as chairman, but he can't say we haven't made our preference known.

Tim, keep up the good work. Keep giving us a chance to have our say! Viva Conhome!

Does Disraeli really think the Tory electoral strength has that much to do with Caroline Spelman? The only thing people know about her is her nanny. Our electoral success is owed to David Cameron and even more to Gordon Brown.


Your comments are unfair. I do not think Caroline Spelman has been a good Chairman. That's a view that is almost universal throughout Westminster. But I haven't sought to undermine her. I have consistently defended her over nannygate. I did ten or so interviews at the time the nanny story broke - one of which was an on-the-sofa defence of her, sat next to Michael Crick on BBC1's Daily Politics.

This site exists to debate the issues and empower members. The position of Party Chairman can't be excepted from that.

"That'a view that is almost universal throughout Westminster" - you boys want to get out more! I remember the days when the Party Chairman was constantly on the news trying to defend some horror story that was emerging about the Party, Caroline has had to do so on only one occasion (Hastilow) and the reason for that is precisely because she has been bloody good at heading crises off.

"Result of shameless promotion by Tim Montgomerie and this site."

Truly shocking. Someone daring to express their opinion on their own blog. Whatever next?

Spelman is useless, invisible and unconvincing. Such lack of skills are allowed permitted for the Shadow Chancellor.

Could be one of your last chances to see Caroline as Chairman. Get your tickets for tonight's Birmingham social.


Sadly it seems that the job of Party Chairman is not really understood for while Pickles may be OK for dealing with the media and jollying up the voluntary party the serious part is an organisational role where Eric, for all his other attributes, does not command the respect or confidence of the senior managers within CCHQ who are tired of his posturing, undermining the current Chairman, and consistently taking credit for the work of others.

If Tim had created this poll as "Who Should Replace Caroline Spelman as Chair?" then that would have been a bit harsh. But he didn't. He asked "Who Should Be The Next Chair?" and included Caroline Spelman as an option, an option which only 14% chose to take. Considering the lack of support for her continuing as Chairman of our Party, Tim was undoubtedly right to carry out this poll.

This isn't the Blue Blog, this a chance for members to voice their opinions, everyone knows that a question mark hangs over the head of Caroline Spelman, frankly it would be irresponsible not to discuss it.

Tim, to be fair you have to acknowledge that this blog tends to attract more Conservatives of a certain type than of others - it's not as if every "faction" or shade of blue is equally represented here. So to say "x members voted" is not as helpful as one might think if they had to decide to visit the blog in the first place.

If you were able to randomly sample the views of members as pollsters do the general public, fair enough but that isn't the case here. Not that it invalidates the survey, but it shouldn't be relied upon as gospel truth either.

You also asked how/denied that Pickes is a stereotypical Tory. I think he's ok, but he is a white, English, balding and fat man - that's what non-members often think about the party.

Raj, I readily agree that the comments threads cannot be said to be representative of party opinion. I am, however, confident that the surveys are reasonably reliable. Every survey result is compared to the population that correctly predicted the outcome of the 2005 Tory leadership election.

To recap: ConHome put forward 2 candidates in the past for Vice President (two consecutive years) they both failed to get in.

IDS was backed strongly by Tim as leader what a failure that was. Now they want to have influence to elect chairman... what a joke.. Credit crunch around the corner Tim, you never know when funds dry out from your backers where then for ConHome...

I have never been a great Pickles fan since I saw him perform at conference 7 - 8 years ago and he really was not on top of his brief. However, if he is deemed to be doing a splendid job where he is, why don't we bring back David Davies, who at present hasn't anything better to do. Ms Spelman has been all but invisible and this particularly so at Conference. We need someone motivating all of our activists to get out and work their little (in some cases!) bottoms off for the 4th June elections. It is all very well sweating over the ConHome website, but how many of you Tories out their are actually members of the Party and doing something for the party? Get out and canvass and deliver leaflets and take June 4th off to help with the Euro and county council elections!

KJ; ConHome has never backed candidates for Vice President.

Lots of anger here today from people who don't like the members' views being heard.

And most of them Tim people who don't normally post on this site. Very strange isn't it?

No doubt if Pickles does become Party Chairman we shall see the cries that "it wos ConHome wot won it!"

These kak-handed attempts at power grabs are getting tiresome and pathetic (much like the still cringeworthy search for 100 peers).


Adam in london, Your disdain for my views doesn't worry me but your disdain for party members' views is more interesting.

Thanks Malcolm. Strange indeed.

The posts are getting muddled about the role of Party Chairman. The Party Chairman is responsible for Party Organisation. What most of the posts are looking at is a media spokesman. The media spokesman should be the Deputy Leader of the Party. What other organisation has the media spokesman and Chairman in the same role?.

Caroline Spelman was most unimpressive on the three occasions I have met her in the last twelve months. She was very condescending to members.

Nannygate also showed, at best, her lack of judgement.

Any of the other three candidates would be an improvement.

I think that they are all pretty good to be honest. I would be happy even if Caroline stays.

Ta-rra for now.

We should give top jobs to Ken Clarke ( Business Affairs), David Davis ( Home Affairs) and Eric Pickles ( Party Chairman)! The need for ordinary blokes who can relate well with Mr & Mrs Average in the marginal seats is I would have thought obvious. Jacqui Smith would hate to face her old nemesis David Davis again and Ken Clarke would give Mandy a run for his money over economic policy. Eric Pickles could do the hard graft needed to win shed loads of seats in the North & Midlands - just look at Crewe & Nantwich !

Come on Mr Cameron - time for common-sense !

I don't think this entire exercise is particularly useful for a number of reasons:

The very question 'who should be the NEXT party chairman' reduces the chance of people voting for Caroline Spelman.

Eric Pickles has managed to take more than his fair share of the credit for the Crewe by-election, while Caroline Spelman has had her reputation torn to shreds - something she'll struggle to recover for even when she is vindicated

Finally, and most importantly, there is now a pressure on David Cameron to choose an individual for a particular post or risk any other incumbent being seen as being unpopular.

Aside from that on Eric Pickles himself I find people's adoration for him particularly strange. There seems to be this idea that he can reach out and speak to sections of society that other Tories can't reach. What absolute rubbish - he's fat, white, middle aged & male - everything that people think that Conservatives are. Not to mention that he doesn't come across all that well on TV.

Finally, as others have said - did people really know what the job of Party Chairman is?

Well, we certainly need our own 'prezza figure' as I think the 'bloke on the street' is fed up with the oxbridge luvvies that the tories cant stop dishing out to represent the people. I am certain Eric will get a prominent party position to redress the balance and Cameron knows he has to.

Its still the activists who are the most valuble of our people. This One Nation will prosper only if we all work together.

Somebody said:

No doubt if Pickles does become Party Chairman we shall see the cries that "it wos ConHome wot won it!"

These kak-handed attempts at power grabs are getting tiresome and pathetic (much like the still cringeworthy search for 100 peers).

There are a lot of potential leaders out here in the big fishbowl of Britan.

"cringeworthy" Only becuse it is not at all likely to be fair, clean or democratic. Power grabs are an essential aspect of the game we call politics. It is only by taking a flag and putting it up on a flagpole, that we can attract attention. I will be clear that I belive in the exercise of my democratic rights. Everyman has the potential to be a Lord that much is demanded.

100% behind Eric Pickles, a big gun needed in time of battle. I am sure some sinecure could be found for Caroline Spelman, perhaps as one of the 100 New Tory Peers , freeing up the safe West Midlands seat of Meriden (Maj 7009 in 2005) for a suitable candidate.

Eric Pickles would appeal to the man and woman in the street, the ordinary voter that the Conservatives have to win back to be the next Government.

The comments to this entry are closed.



ConHome on Twitter

    follow me on Twitter

    Conservative blogs

    Today's public spending saving

    New on other blogs

    • Receive our daily email
      Enter your details below:

    • Tracker 2
    • Extreme Tracker