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« Bottomley, Lait and Pelling join Rifkind | Main | Editorial: An anti-Iraq war Ken Clarke is credible... but an anti-Iraq war Conservative Party is incredible »


Sam Coates

Ed: the link at the top of Conservative News and Commentary, starting with "Times suggests" has a faulty link. (http:// is put in twice)

EU Serf

The Media like Clarke, he's interesting. That is the sole basis of all the column inches his every word gains.

Given the chance, they will do the same to him in a negative way.

Wat Tyler

You've got to love him, haven't you.

But as Anthony Wells points out, opinion polls suggest that Ken's roguish lovability won't translate into actual votes ( ). The public thinks he's too old and too Europhiliac- possibly even post-recantation.

Jonathan Sheppard

And Roger Helmer MEP in the East Midlands (which covers the Rushcliffe constituency) is equally damning in todays Telegraph:-

Sir - So it's official - Ken Clarke is standing for the Tory leadership.

Most of the Conservative activists I know simply will not work for a Clarke-led party. They will defect to Ukip. Or they will work for a non-party, anti-EU organisation, like the Democracy Movement. Or they will sit on their hands.

Neil Kinnock is right. A Clarke leadership would split the party from top to bottom, leaving it unelectable for a generation.

Roger Helmer MEP (Con), Lutterworth, Leics

Oberon Houston

So Roger Helmer is willing to leave the Party rather than serve under Clarke? Even if the rest of the Party (one way or another) decide they want him to be Leader and he was elected under that Conservative banner?

I'm sorry, but I have no time for these people, we would be much better off without them and I hope Roger is true to his word should Ken be elected.

Jonathan Sheppard

I think you will find Roger has already had the whip withdrawn for certain critical comments he has made about the EU.

Selsdon Man

Jonathan is right. Helmer had the Whip withdrawn for his role in a motion and debate in relation to the EU President's involvement with the` Latsis family.

The leader of the EPP publicly expelled Helmer during the debate. The Conservative Whip was then withdrawn. Helmer later supported his own expulsion when it was debated among the EPP-ED Group.

Helmer is no longer`listed as a Tory MEP on the Party web site.


I find people thinking that they can effectively hold a democratic election to ransom by threatening to quit if a certain candidate wins to be a pretty to curling spectacle. Helmer's threat is pretty similar to those made by a number of rich Hollywood stars to leave the US if Bush won in 2004 or those made by the likes of Phil Collins and Andrew Lloyd Webber that they would leave the country if Labour won in 1997. This kind of absurd fanaticism from the likes of Helmer has held the Tory Party back for too long.

Derek Buxton

Clarke claims that the EU constitution is dead, on what evidence? The things contained in it are still going ahead although not sanctioned. We have little enough liberty or sovereignty left as it is, with Clarke in charge we would be the N. Region of Europe, and fast. The trough beckons him.

Simon C

I don't think that you can read a personal threat to join UKIP into Roger Helmer's letter. He is simply making a prediction about how other people will respond to a Clarke leadership.

Roger has always been adamantly opposed to UKIP, & I don't see that changing. Personally I share his view that the party should never have been part of the EPP grouping. It is clear from his website that he still considers himself a Conservative & I would hope that our new leader will reinstate him in the party as soon as possible. He is immensely popular in the East Midlands, and is a great example of a politician who says precisely what he thinks without a care for personal advancement.

Simon C

Clarke's article in the Telegraph was as entirely about personality as it was devoid of policy ideas. "Vote ME because I love jazz". As to vision: it was all about Ken and nothing about Britain.


Simon C - If there was a shortage of policy detail in his Telegraph interview, I think he made up for it in his speech to the Foreign Press Association. It was fifty minutes of pretty detailed analysis of Iraq and the threat of Islamic terrorism. I look forward to similarly detailed speeches on other policy areas in the coming weeks!

James Hellyer

That's nice. I now know almost as much about Ken's hobbies as I do about David Davis's childhood.

Who said our leadership debate was shallow?

Jonathan Sheppard

I managed to find the link to my broadcast in which Michael Howard lists what he thinks he achieved under his premiership (on my blog).

I think it makes interesting listening. The new leader clearly needs to build on these foundations.

Simon C

Thanks Rob. I have read the speech & a link is at the end of this post. It's certainly a lot meatier than some of the speeches we have had from other leadership candidates. It was a pity that he had nothing to say about the democratisation of the Middle East, and Islamic States in particular - that ducks an important question as The Telegraph pointed out this morning.

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