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It's definitely Davis' race to lose - and he definitely is capable of losing it! You don't go to the centre of it - 2 points: A) The disregard people have for DD's team. Yes, you mention people's dislike of their plotting, but it's more than that - the number of time I've heard people say lately, 'know the man by the quality of his friends'... Conway and Mitchell are just not seen as suitable lieutenants for someone who wants to be leader of the Conservative Party, let alone Prime Minister. B) The hatred for DD in the highest reaches of the party. It's more than general disapproval of sniping. It is real, deep-seated hatred. If you get this, you start to realise why Howard plumped for such a poor exit strategy.

I think Davis is no better than 55-45 to win. Personally, I'd like him to win, because in the outside world he looks like a winner, and the Tories have no-one else who does. But he's going to have improve substantially his performance in the smaller world of Westminster.

Mark Higgins

The Tories have nobody else who looks like a winner? according to the sunday Telegraph (1st May 2005) floating voters were very much taken with Dr Liam Fox. So I wouldn't agree that the Tories don't have any other winner. I haven't seen David Cameron much yet but will come to a judgment when I do.

As for David davis I like him, but it's the people with whom he surrounds himself about whom I have my doubts. Eric forth and Andrew Mitchel are by no means the most capable or respectable lieutenants in the Conservative party. I shall wait and see before I nail my colours to the mast in this contest-to-be, but I personally would prefer Liam Fox to win rather than David davis as things stand. maybe the position will be clearer on reading Mr Davis' piece in today's sunday telegraph.

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