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« New Tory MPs join campaign to protect grassroots members’ voting rights | Main | Liam Fox asks Gary Streeter to run new Tory human rights group »


James Hellyer

That's very interesting. It only serves to confirm that the Davis/Cameron race is something of a fiction. Both have narrow but loud support. As the contest goes on either could easily fall by the wayside (personally I think Cameron will simply because Davis has more support).

It's also heartening to hear Dr Fox being talked up a bit. He's begun to look increasingly credible as the contest has gone on. Certainly his candidacy weakens Davis's claim over the right.

Certainly of all the contenders so far, Fox has also been the one seemingly getting on with his job rather than openly campaigning and cajoling.

James Hellyer

The other thing that's very interesting is this:

'It was generally agreed that David Davis “went backwards”. '

Does this mean that the contents of his CPS speech owe rather more to Nick Herbert than to David Davis?


Some of the audience felt afterwards that Fox seemed more impressive because he knows he will not win and was therefore able to be more forthcoming. Cameron was the most pleasant, one hears, but also the 'lightweight' of the three.

What is worrying is that some people are starting to say that the DD campaign now has a slight whiff of the 2002 Portillo campaign. That his team just can't reach out, raise their game, do the work. That seems unfair to me, but there are some warning signs!


I wouldn't worry too much Buxtehude... yet.All the candidates have been talking about philosophical generalities to date,it may give us an idea in the most general terms of what sort of leader they will be but that's about it.
It's only when they start to debate specific policies will we really know whether they are really leadership material,there really is all to play for.
What worries me more is the quality of people DD surrounds himself with.
Iain Dale is a good chap but Eric Forth &Derek Conway?
I'm not so sure


I would much prefer Liam Fox to David Davis.

Either Liam Fox or David Cameron would be a move forward for the Conservatives.

Jack Stone

I think David Cameron as a better image than Liam Fox. He is married, as children and is very good on t.v and in the commons.
The general public will like and respect him once they got to know him.
Liam Fox is not married, as no children and is only fair both in the commons and on t.v. Also the added worry about Mr Fox is like Charlie Kennedy he is known to be a bit of a party animal which could lead to some embarassing stories in the papers I am sure.

Graeme Archer

This was the meeting I was worried about a few weeks ago, thinking it was going to herald some right wing daily mail type (I don't know why I use that "daily mail" shorthand since I do read it and like it but you know what I mean) teeth gnashing about how ghastly britain is and how much better it would be if we could only unpick all those 1960s reforms and return to a 1950s world where no-one had deodarant and everyone was happy in their place. Do you ever think that about the 50s by the way? That it must have been a horrid smell since hardly anyone showered every day. So at least it seems we were spared that.

Am not surprised that David Davis performed poorly, since it's only confirming that nascent feeling I've had about him since the start, ie basically a good bloke but not an intellectual giant and not a brilliant communicator. (I do want to point out that I like him, this is a subtle shade of differing opinion type thing).

What does "lightweight" mean re David Cameron? That he is smiling and optimistic about life? We could do with some of that Reagan type optimism.

Finally - I guess we should remember that we're hearing the views of only 3 MPs so we might not be getting an unbiased view of the meeting!


Graeme, I like Reagan optimism - that's not what I mean by 'lightweight'.

Let's just remember what we're supposed to be choosing: someone who may eventually lead one of the world's most poweful economies, a country which is still a big player in the world - and home to 50 million people. It needs someone who can command respect, someone not just with talent but also with experience of life, someone with an internal compass.

Such a person can by of a sunny disposition, no problem. But Cameron just won't do. If we think the next leader of the Conservative Party will be there for just a few years, until a better one comes along, then Cameron will do just fine. But Prime Minister? It's just not credible.

That's what I mean by 'lightweight' - someone you look at and say, instinctively, 'No, he's not up there with the big boys'. (or girls).

The idea of Cameron and Osborne and Blair and Brown just won't wash. No-one outside their own small circle can possibly believe it.

The Political Thinker

Buxtehude, you claim that DC isn't the man for leading the Conservative Party – But then I ask, who is? DD certainly doesn't have the qualities needed, and unfortunately nor does LF. Nice and friendly men they all may be, but none of them are born-to-be leaders.

I do though think that it's somewhat disappointing that only DC, DD and LF were interviewed – Terrible shame.


Let's face it, the Tory party is not over-brimming with people who have a combination of talent and experience.


And this from this morning's Times: "Liam Fox “stole the show” at the first hustings of the Conservative leadership contest, MPs said. More than 20 MPs from the Right held the gathering to hear the views of Dr Fox, David Davis — another rightwinger — and David Cameron before the real battle starts. Dr Fox was said to have done particularly well on the issue of Europe."


Editor - it was also mentioned in more depth in the Daily Mail

James Hellyer

Jack Stone says:

"Liam Fox is not married, as no children and is only fair both in the commons and on t.v."

Liam Fox is engaged to be married and is a good Commons and media performer in my opinion. Certainly he's one of the best performing frontbenchers who was on the Today programme in the run up to the election.


"Liam Fox is engaged to be married and is a good Commons and media performer in my opinion. Certainly he's one of the best performing frontbenchers who was on the Today programme in the run up to the election."

I agree with James Hellyer.

Wat Tyler

Ed- who are the other members of this inquisitorial committee? We know Leigh and Hayes were among the original supporters of IDS- who presumably still hold to the line that DD spent his time as Party Chairman trying to shaft their man. And who presumably worry that DD as leader might involve a certain degree of discomfort for them personally.

But what of the other members? I think we should be told. Then we can compare the list with those on the IDS roll.

(Sorry if I sound a little jaundiced. I should probably get out more)

Michael McGowan

I am astonished that in Britain in 2005, there are those who think it really matters whether or not the Party leader is married and has children. Ted Heath was neither married nor had children. Are we really suggesting that Alan Duncan should be ruled out of court just because, for obvious reasons, he is neither married nor has children?

AS for the "family man" aura, I suspect that many voters have tired of the stage-managed pantomime surrounding the Von Blair Family, not to mention the unseemly rush to invoke privacy laws whenever it doesn't suit Tony and Cherie for the media to have access to the Holy Family.

This article appeared in today's Daily Mail:

Davis is targeted in Battle of the Briefings

By James Chapman
Political Correspondent

Enemies of the Tory leader-ship contender David Davis are claiming he was a flop at a secret campaign meeting with MPs.
They said he had gone ‘back-wards’ in an encounter with 20 socially conservative MPs, some of whom ought to be his natural supporters.
Mr. Davis and two of his main rivals- David Cameron and Liam Fox- were grilled for 50 minutes by a group of MPs who have formed a 25-strong grouping called Cornerstone.
It is made up of Eurosceptics, supporters of Iain Duncan Smith’s ‘social justice’ agenda and Right-wing Christian MPs.
All three said the Tories had made ‘very limited progress’ at the last election. They all supported low taxation, strict controls on abortion and support for the institution of marriage. But yesterday several MPs said Mr Davis had come across as ‘thin –skinned’, reacting ‘angrily’ to criticisms of his time as party chairman.
The reports are the first real setback for Mr. Davis who has been seen as the favourite to succeed Michael Howard.
They will infuriate his supporters, who believe Duncan Smith supporters are briefing against him.
One MP said: ‘David Davis was very brittle and prickly. He doesn’t appear to understand the social justice agenda. The view was he had slipped back.’
Shadow Education Secretary Mr Cameron, 38, who is seen as Mr. Davis’ main rival, was said to come across as ‘courteous’ and ‘likeable’.
‘He understood the mood of the meeting and appears to fully understand the social justice agenda,’ said one MP.
Dr. Fox, Shadow Foreign Secretary, had come across ‘the most intellectually coherent,’ the MP said.
Mr. Davis’s office refused to respond to the reports.


I wouldn't worry too much about what Jack Stone says gentlemen.He makes rridiculous assertions as he has above and some users of this Blog take him seriously.He's just a boring troll.

Jack Stone

When people are losing the arguments and see that the chances of there idiotic choice of leader is slipping away it is of course expected that some people will resort to insults.
The reason why David Davis will not win the leadership is because he and those who support him are far too intolerant of those who disagree with them and have got there minds close to new ideas.
They are simply stuck in the politics of yesteryear.

"The reason why David Davis will not win the leadership is because he and those who support him are far too intolerant of those who disagree with them and have got there minds close to new ideas"

This is a bit rich coming from a Butskellite like you!


Wat - I don't know the full list of members but you and DD would be wrong to write off the group's experience of DD at Tuesday night's meeting on the basis that they have a historic agenda. I think the three I spoke to (and one additional conversation has confirmed it) wanted to be impressed with DD... but weren't. They might still vote for him and they are NOT committed to Liam Fox but the evening titled things towards LF.


Exactly what arguements am I losing Jack?
When will you back ANYTHING you say with any evidence at all?
If you want to be a troll fine.But why not say something a bit thought provoking for a change.


Editor, were they all unimpressed with DC then?


Becker, I don't know. I originally spoke to three (now four) of those at the meeting and they weren't wowed by DC but did warm to him. Others may have been more impressed but 'Fox up/ Davis down' was the general reaction.


Cheers Editor. Have you any idea who IDS would back?

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