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« Who's backing who? (rolling update) | Main | Tebbit warns against "merchant of death" Clarke »



Wow, it's a busy day where to start...

Cameron: Lets not be too hasty, he has been overshadowed for one week, but has been running 2nd for weeks ahead of better known candidates. It is an important time for his campaign, but he is still a real contender.

Alan Duncan: Is an idiot. So is anyone who appoints him to a front bench position.

Clarke: I'm not surprised by the findings. Europe is largely yesterdays news. Clarke was right about Iraq that has been a bigger story and people are fed up of losing elections.

Fox: I'm pleased he is making some moves now. I'm not convinced I could see him as PM, but he is far more savoury a prospect as leader than David Davis.

Davis: Good to see he has some backers, but how many would vote for the leaderships 'more of the same candidate' from the marginals we lost in? I can never see David Davis as Prime Minister, nor would I want to.

Jack Stone

Ihave started to get the impression that the momentum is now running away from Davis to Ken Clarke.I think this is happening because people think they can win with Clarke whereas I suspect in there heart of hearts they don`t with Davis.
One thing that does attract me about Clarke is that I think he could do great damage to the Lib/Dems and there could I suspect easily be defections both inside and outside of Parliament as soon as Ken took over as leader.

James Hellyer

It was typical of the Davis campaign that his backers' letter to the Telegraph once more focussed on his biography, rather than on any vision or ideas he might have. Is this really all his campaign has to offer?

Was the likes of Nick Herbert, who are known to be on the Davis team, signing the letter, a sign that they couldn't get any more new MPs to sign up?

Selsdon Man

Sorry Jack but I have to disagree. The Davis juggernaut is speeding up. The swing to Clarke is mainly at Cameron's expense - Alan Duncan's comments are significant.

Clarke, contrary to common belief, has more chance in a members' ballot than in a MPs ballot - even with his anti-democracy comments that could affect his chances.

Selsdon Man


Davis is revealing his supporters in batches. If his campaign is stalling, it could be that Liam Fox has more support than previously thought. Liam may have taken support from Cameron too. This week's Fox launch could rock the Davis boat.


James: Unless Liam can start announcing any new supporters - in batches or otherwise - it won't be DD's campaign that looks 'stalled'.

James Hellyer

I'm not surprised by Dr Fox polling well among those MPs who actually replied to the Times straw poll. I suspect that the entry of Ken Clarke has dramatically altered the contest's dynamics.

Previously David Cameron looked the frontrunning "not David Davis candidate". Clarke's launch and subsequent publicity blitz have changed that. A lot of the "not David Davis" camp will go to whoever they think has the best chance of stopping him.

Cameron's actions over the last week pretty much confirm this is the case. He broke off his holiday, after all, to give a speech full of vision and barbed comments about age.

The complicating factor here, of course, that Ken Clarke himself attreacts a large degree of animosity. This can only serve to help a candidate like Fox who could appeal to members of the party's right who don't like Davis, and anyone else who doesn't like Clarke.

Obviously this will all depend on what Liam does on Tuesday. If he can produce some "name" endorsements it could quite easily turn him into a serious challenger.

James Hellyer

"Unless Liam can start announcing any new supporters - in batches or otherwise - it won't be DD's campaign that looks 'stalled'."

True, and I'd fully expect that to happen on Tuesday. Certainly Liam's last few media appearances this week have made him sound confident, while Cameron has sounded increasinly panicked (with even the BBC picking up that he and his supporters are bashing Clarke endlessly over his age). So of the two, I'd guess Liam's the one more likely to pull a rabbit from the hat next week.


I did wonder about Liam's "I am the only candidate who is going into this contest with a positive vision of the future" statement. Cameron has been talking about the future and Ken has all but declared himself the next prime minister :-)

This few days notice and big soundbite is the build up, if Fox fails to deliver on Tuesday he'll quickly be forgotten about.

Jack Stone

This election will end in disaster in exactly the same way the past two elections did when Hauge and IDS were elected because once again people are becoming obsessed with looking for ways to stop the candidate they most dislike from winning whereas they should be looking to support the candidate they think is the best person for the job ahead which is to get the Tories back into power!


"It was typical of the Davis campaign that his backers' letter to the Telegraph once more focussed on his biography, rather than on any vision or ideas he might have."

- a little unfair. 1) DD said quite a lot at his CPS speech: lower taxes, radical reform of public services - though admittedly not much since then

2) The biography is very important. The public judges the man, not just the policies. Probably the man more than the policies (especially in these consensual times). The biography says: not another privileged Tory. Without policies, that's not enough; but with them, it's cricial.

Steven Patrick

I thought Alan Duncan's comments about Cameron were very stupid and does not reflect well on him at all.

"Now go away and leave it to the big boys" - coming from you Alan, that is highly amusing.


I am surprised at the high showing for Ken Clarke among the party chairmen. I would not think that is reflective of the views of members as a whole. It would be amazing if people were convinced that Ken's views had radically altered when closer examination clearly shows they have not. I do not expect that most members will be fooled when his views are examined more closely along with other candidates when the contest proper gets underway.

I was asked my views by the Telegraph, and when I first said I was impressed by Liam Fox I was then asked to choose between Davis, Cameron and Clarke, so I wonder if they are assuming those three are to be the final candidates.

Obviously it is vital to be in the first three asap, so Liam must get some more names on the board, but that won't be easy as no one wants to be seen backing a potential loser at this stage. Career prospects are at stake!

Jenny Stoker

If I may as a female intrude into this very male orientated blog and dare to hope that Theresa May will put her hat into the ring and stand for the leadership. She has so far shown to be the only likely candidate to have grasped the real problems that face any new leader of the party and the true standing of the party outside the confines of the Westminster Village and is not afraid to stand up and say it as it really is. She has had lots of ministerial experience, including Party Chairman when the party was at a low ebb. She is known by the public, especially by women who we need to get on board. She also has one further quality which has been sadly lacking in very many of her male colleagues - loyalty to the Leaders of the Party. Whether she would get enough backing I don't know because unfortunately we still have a party image of being male dominated and sexist. Lets hope we have moved on from the way we treated our last female leader.

Jonathan Sheppard

Jenny, I hope you dont think you need a female to attract the "female" vote if such a thing exists.

Remember we are the one party to have had a female leader and prime minister - and all without all women shortlists.

I don't think you are right to suggest she is better known to women than the other candidates - and I think rightly or wrongly she wouldn't be that well known to the public compared to some of the other candidates.

Unfortunately despite all of her many attributes, her leadership bid isnt really going anywhere - as has been pointed out on this site before.

Davis has got a large lead in the MPs who publicly back him - the membership would support him if it was a direct Clarke Davis contest - and this is before he has even launched his campaign.


Jenny, I think you make a good case for Theresa, I too think she would make an excellent leader. From what we know at the moment it appears she doesn't have enough backing among MPs but, there are a lot who are yet to declare their support for anyone. I am sure Theresa would stand a very good chance in a vote amongst the membership. I think it would do that party good to have a female leader. So far she's been very quiet on the leadership..... although she has carried on in her shadow cabinet role rather better than some this summer.


I don't think Theresa should stand Jenny but as I've blogged many times before I think she's one of the party's best (and most under-rated) talents.

You're 100% right about the male-dominated nature of this blog. It's a bit like the Tory Parliamentary Party! Please visit more often and keep us guys in check...

Jonathan Sheppard

Ed - out of interest - do you think she shouldnt stand as the support isnt there - or that she would be best served acting as a powerbase for a section of the party under the new leader?


Yes on both counts Jonathan.

Daniel Vince-Archer

Jenny, I agree with your positive comments about Theresa. As I stated elsewhere on the blog, she is a sensible, credible politician and would be a breath of fresh air and it is a shame her campaign has failed to get off the ground. I think there is still quite a lot of resentment about her 'nasty party' speech (which was spot on in my opinion) and maybe it is that factor which has held her back?


'I think there is still quite a lot of resentment about her 'nasty party' speech (which was spot on in my opinion)'

I think this was Theresa May's Gerald Ratner moment and it did for the Tories what Gerald did for Ratners. I like Theresa May and Alan Duncan but dissing your own brand and people isn't clever.

Selsdon Man

Fox is claiming 40 supporters - quite feasible given that half the Parliamentary has yet to declare. If true, he has a chance to beat Davis.


Jenny: I just heard on Radio Five that men are responsible for 96% of music downloads. Blogging isn't the only male-dominated internet activity!

Jenny Stoker

I do not suggest Theresa May as leader just because she is female and I am female. I suggest her because I speak as I find. I agree, she would be a breath of fresh air. I also disagree that she dissed the party. What she did was be completely honest and tell it like it was and still is to a certain extent. As for being known to the public - she is one of the few Shadow Cabinet Ministers to have actively gone out and made an effort to get known. She has appeared on many of the usual political programmes like Question Time, Today etc but she has also been on Woman's Hour, Jeremy Vine, Steve Wright and many more.

Ed - If she is one of the best and underated ministers we have why should she not even think of standing. Is it because the male dominated party is still frightened stiff of electing another female leader?

Your comments re blogging and downloading music only prove what us women have thought for a long time, that more of the male than the female population tend to be anoraks. Its the Venus and Mars thing.

James Hellyer

I think Theresa May is generally seen as a relatively poor Commons performer, and she still attracts some ill feeling for her "nasty party" remarks.

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