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« Watlington: Liam Fox has the best staff team | Main | Will Cameron or Clarke be frontrunner Davis' main opponent? »


Simon C

Interesting though that D'Ancona doesn't mention Fox at all - even if only to dismiss him (which it is becoming increasingly difficult to do) - or any other candidates. Another example of the media and Labour trying to impoose their own construct.

Jonathan Sheppard

Tony Blair is unpopular - Brown is going to be the next leader for Labour. Brown fears Davis. Conclusion?

Selsdon Man

I don't care what Brown and Blair think. MPs and party members should ignore this silly season nonsense.

James Hellyer

Does it matter what unnamed sources "close" to Blair and Brown claim is thought by those people?


I agree with both Selsdon Man and James.Would friends of either Blair or Brown really tell a journalist from a Conservative newspaper who they most feared? I am rather suprised that they were not claiming that John Bercow would make the most formidable opponent from the Tory benches!
It really is a silly season story that is not worth commenting on.

The Mole

It's very good of Sarah Sands to let her hard working deputy have the time to write his new Telegraph column. It impresses her so much that she's soon going to allow him a lot more time to write it.


I think Malcolm etc are being too dismissive of this piece. Brown, Blair etc - whatever else we may think of them - are formidable political operators. New Labour has dominated politics for at least a decade. What the Labour chiefs think of the potential Tory candidates is of interest. I don't think Matthew d'Ancona is one to be easily duped. Furthermore I think what has been revealed to him has the ring of truth. Tim Hames has already written about the power of David Davis' biography and the fact that Team Brown shares that belief is confirmation of one of DD's strengths.

James Hellyer

We'd be rather more conviced, Tim, if these articles named sources and there wasn't the prevaling opinion that advice from the other side doesn't always have our best interests at heart.

I know some people who work for the Labour party, and their view is that David Davis would be the best leader, because they see him as easiest to beat.

So who should we listen to?


Why do they think that, James? We should listen to those with the best arguments.

James Hellyer

I've heard him variously described as a "one more heave" merchant par excellence... who would disgrace a sixth form debating society".

The big thing though are his ties to Nick Herbert. Reform's education and health policies are though to be particularly half-baked (a point on which I agree, though for different reasons), and seemingly specifically designed to give Labour and the Lib Dems material to scare the electorate with.

Of course, they also noted that they may not be happy with Davis as leader, because there was the always the risk he could win and implement said policies!

I've also heard large numbers of people who either stopped voting Conservative after 1992, or who are just disillusuined with Labour, say that they'd vote Conservative if Ken Clarke was leader (these were people who knew his background and policies).

The thing is that it's all hearsay. Just because Matthew D'Ancona got his printed, that doesn't mean it necessarily has any more credence.


I agree with you Editor,Blair&Brown are very formidable indeed.That's why I remain extremely sceptical as to why either would allow 'friends' to brief a Tory journalist as to who they felt would make the most formidable Conservative leader.
Davis or Cameron will only prove to be an able leader through the ideas each espouse not because one of them grew up in a council estate and the other has a handicapped child.
If I remember correctly they both used to tell us that they feared Ken Clarke as leader.Had Ken succeeded in 1997 or 2001 I imagined Blair would have put Europe at the top of the agenda every week and smile as the Conservative party tore itself apart.

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