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« Six senior voluntary party representatives protest at centralisation of leadership election | Main | »


Selsdon Man

It looks like Ken may be after, or even got, the support of Willetts. I have said before that I am concerned at the pro-Clarke comments of the CPS's Ruth Lea and her predecessor, Tessa Keswick (former adviser to Clarke). Thatcher will be dismayed.

Jonathan Sheppard

Do we have an up to date list of the Clarke backers so far?

Oberon Houston

You may not be surprised to hear this given my posts to date (am I the only centrist blogger?), anyway, you won’t be surprised to hear that on a personal level, I would like to see Ken Clarke as leader. However I do worry that Party unity will get even worse under Ken, or God forbid, split the Party (is that why Labour bods are keen to see him in?). Okay enough of the paranoia, but, lets face it, even at grass roots level its bad, the members plumbed for IDS (over Ken), a man that voted against his own party over 40 times under Major and did his best to disrupt his Government.

Meanwhile the Country festers under a morally bankrupt Labour Government that has squandered its inheritance, and fiddles tunes while the storm clouds gather over our economy.

So what do we do? Okay, vote in David Davis and end up with more of the same. Not much of a choice is it.

Guido Fawkes

Ask yourself, "Do you seriously want to win?"

Have you had enough of opposition?

Who is popular in the country?


I think you find out that Yeo and Cameron voted for Portillo last time and dear mad Ann voted for Ancram in the first two rounds, and finally Ed Vaisey(of channel five fame) wasn't a MP. While I'm not endorsing Ken in any way on a ballot of MPs the only way of stopping a final round contest between Ken Clarke and David Davis is probably a deal being done before the first round between the other candidates ie Cameron,Fox, Willets etc.

Wat Tyler

Ken's pitch is vote for me and we'll win: a) I don't believe it (his magic didn't work when he was in power, and he'll be 70 in 2010!!!); b) he won't pursue the desperately needed public services/localism agenda I want to see; c) he won't win back those UKIP votes that cost us 20 seats, and could well split the party; d) his arrogance means he doesn't listen to anyone and consequently makes stacks of poor judgements (see eg Ferdinand Mount's Telegraph article last week).

So I'm sad he's standing yet again. In doing so, he's stuffed David Cameron, who would have been a more interesting and forward looking alternative to DD.

EU Serf

Why anyone really thinks that the over age, over weight, lacklustre Clarke will win us an election is beyond me.

He will split the party, which does not believe that the leopard has changed its spots. He offers nothing different from New Labour and is consistently a man of Big Government.

If he becomes leader, expect the BBC to not go a week without mentioning his (former) BAT interests.

John G

I have to admit I do wonder whether Ken Clarke popularitiy with the country would remain after he became leader, or whether it is merely a result of his failure ever to attain the position (glorifying failure is very big in this country). I suspect the answer lies in the extent to which he accepts ideas from the likes of David Willetts, as his campaign has been disastrously short of ideas so far. It's all very well saying "vote for me because I can win" but that ignores how he would perform as an opposition leader before the election campaign.

That said, DD and DC are both pretty divisive figures too, and far more so than many regular posters here seem willing to admit.

I like Watlington's article (linked above). He's quite right. The problem is, I think that Liam Fox probably stands as good a chance - if not better - of winning a general election - and possibly even this leadership election than DD. Yet, sadly, I find it unlikely that DD will pull out and support a LF bid, which perhaps dooms either the right of the Conservative Party, or even the Conservative Party itself, to a somewhat bleak future. Plenty of people will disagree with this, I know, but there's nothing like having different views on here.


I have a few problems with the Watlington article. Firstly Leigh wouldn't be able to stand if he couldn't get 20 Mps voting for him(new rules). Secondly while I did say before that Clarke would beat Davis by 10 votes on the final ballot that was only if IDS supporters split their vote. Finally what support has Fox got. Tim figure of eight MPs goes roughly with the Telegraph figure which again with the new rules mean that Liam whatever people think about him will be knocked out before the first round?

Daniel Vince-Archer

"Why anyone really thinks that the over age, over weight, lacklustre Clarke will win us an election is beyond me." - EU Serf

How about the fact that he is more charismatic and has more popular appeal than any of the other contenders? Or his experience of key posts in government and laying the foundations on which Gordon Brown built his economic reputation?

The fact is the Conservative Party needs to elect a leader who the general public would like as Prime Minister and not merely someone who can serve as party leader until the next election defeat and despite his age and weight (which is an irrelevance, typical of the 'soap opera'-style comments which have characterised the contest), Clarke is undeniably the candidate with the highest level of public recognition and popular appeal.

I appreciate that those factors are not enough in themselves, and I recognise his age and business links will undoubtedly be used by political opponents and media enemies as weapons with which to beat him, but with a united, broad, intelligent team behind him (drawn from all sections of the party), I see no reason why a potential Clarke leadership would be any worse than a Davis leadership, and therefore the derision that Clarke has prompted from several people does seem, on the whole, unwarranted.


I'm not convinced about Ken either, but you have to love the way he answered the Daily Mail's questioning. We have a bit of character in the leadership race now and finally someone has thrown down the gauntlet and basically said "follow that!"

If it comes down to Ken v Davis, I'm almost certain to back Ken, but until that point I'm not convinced a younger fresher mordeniser wouldn't be a better bet, but I do think David Cameron needs a big backer from the Willets, May, Lansley ranks fairly soon to stay in contention.

Mark O'Brien

I've never been a fan of Ken Clarke's politics or - in recent years - the self-important streak I feel he has a tendency to show. Whilst I have respect for his successes as Chancellor in the last decade, I would not easily find myself supporting him.

I'm glad that the self-indulgent 'will he? won't he?' charade is over now and I hope that now he's in the contest proper, he'll actually start talking about the issues and explain fully why he is the best choice, because so far his only comments in the leadership election have been 'I might stand... I might not... But then again I might... Yes, I think I will'.

I'm interested at the prospect of a Clarke-Willetts alliance. It bears a resemblance to the Clarke-Redwood axis he tried to pull together in 1997, which was inevitable less successful. At the time, their combination was equated by some commentators to that engineered by Austen Chamberlain and Bonar Law in the early 20th century. With the field of play as it is now, with still a long way to go for the Conservatives to be back in power with a decisive mandate, and with admittedly little popular appetite for any radical overhaul of the public services, Clarke and Willetts together could make a powerful combination which is both appealing to the electorate and capable of actually doing something reasonably worthwhile if we get back into government.


Sorry about the spelling: maybe a Mordeniser is a bit south of the Notting Hill lot. Obviously it should have read moderniser.

Selsdon Man

Party conference could be a public bloodbath.

There is a real danger that the Party will splir, especially if it is close between Davis and Clarke in the final round (assuming the MPs have won back control).

There is also the real possibility that the loser's supporters could undermine the winner afterwards in the hope of mounting a challenge nearer the election.

David Mundell MP raises similar concerns in an article in The Herald. There is a need to for everyone to be careful and not undermine the unity of the Party.


A united and broad intelligent team behind any leader would be wise. The problem is whether Clarke can draw the talent pool together. I dont remember Clake being willing to serve any of the recent leaders.


That Billy is the biggist reason know I would put against Ken that he would only go into a Shadow cabinet as leader. If he doesn't change his mind on this before the conference the only thing people should say to him is not another big sulk like Heath from 75-01.

William Norton

"Sorry about the spelling: maybe a Mordeniser is a bit south of the Notting Hill lot. Obviously it should have read moderniser." (AnotherNick)

I disagree - I think the leadership bid has now really caught light with the invention of a new social category: the Mordenisers. I wonder what they believe in? Perhaps that's the point. A group of young trendies, with less money than the Notting Hill Billies (natch), so anxious that the Tory Party should change that they, er, want to head south on the Northern Line.

Any other suggestions as to what Mordenisers might stand for? Can we identify any of them?

Daniel Vince-Archer

The problem is that both Clarke and Davis are divisive figures and I do fear things will turn ugly yet again in the run-up to, and aftermath, the leadership election.

The sudden rush of people 'putting the boot in' on Clarke signifies the route that events are likely to follow in the weeks and months (and years, if Clarke comes out on top) ahead, but people would do well to remember that Davis isn't particularly well liked within the parliamentary party either (I imagine the primary motivation for many of the current Davis supporters is their career prospects), particularly as he has chosen such undesirable characters (no names mentioned, but you know who I mean) as his henchmen.

While we're on the subject of Clarke declining to serve any of the recent leaders, Davis hardly has a better record does he?

Wasn't it Davis that turned down a position in Hague's Shadow Cabinet in order to become profile-boosting Chair of a Parliamentary Committee?

Wasn't it Davis and his henchmen that consistently undermined Duncan Smith and were the main actors in his downfall?

Wasn't it Davis who spent the duration of the Howard leadership positioning himself and building support for a leadership challenge after the election?

At this point, I would like to reiterate that I am not anti-Davis (as mentioned elsewhere, he is one of the candidates who I would be content to see as leader), but I do think people should be more even-handed in their criticisms of the candidates. Sermon over.


According to the Guardian, Ken has already got his campaign website up and running. Any ideas what its address is?,9061,1559951,00.html


Sam Coates

Yeah, the website is

I'd go for Clarke if its between him and Davis, but he must have a good cabinet behind him, with Shadow Chancellor Willetts for example.

Clarkes best move now would be to quit BAT in a few days - it will keep the spotlight on him and show that he is serious.

Anyone see a role for IDS in a the next shadow cabinet? Or is he best being an influential backbencher?

Selsdon Man

Mordenisers? The Mitcham and Morden constituency association has been virtually moribund for years and has, in effect, been run by the Wimbledon association.

The election results show that Labour has averaged 58% of the vote in the last 3 elections even though we held it 1992!

A Mordeniser is therefore someone who wants the Party to carry on as it has for the last 8 years and end up in electoral oblivion.


I like his website - I wonder if we can submit questions and he would answer them? Has he got a jump on the others with his 'vote for me' website - very modern!

I too wonder who all the 'mice on the mouse organ' would be to fix all the problems we're getting into presently.

Mr Bercow and Mr Portillo aren't much of a cheerleading team either.

Are people thinking that just as Blair seems to voters like a Tory on many issues, Clarke will seem very liberal to waiverers? I didn't like his quote in the Daily Mail article that 'If the Conservative Party wants to doom itself to opposition for the indefinite future, should I bother?" a bit full of himself I thought, especially when there are so many intelligent people to choose from.

Sam Coates

Guido didn't seem impressed by his website.
I too dislike his ego, but then I suppose potential PM's need a lot of self-confidence!

Jonathan Sheppard

And Ken has even emailed his "dear colleagues" informing them aout his website. Is he launching his bid slightly early though? There's still a long way to go!

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