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« Editorial: Making abortion rare | Main | The week it didn't happen for Ken Clarke »


Daniel Vince-Archer

Surely David Willetts is ahead of John Redwood in the queue to be Shadow Chancellor if/when David Davis becomes leader?

Daniel Vince-Archer

BBCi is reporting Keith Simpson as a declared Davis supporter by the way.

James Hellyer

I'm confident that Willetts won't be Davis's choice of Shadow Chancellor if he becomes leader. Besides Willetts cautious attitude towards tax cuts not being to Davis's tastes, Willetts has just taken additional work on with as a consultant in the pensionsn industry. He accepted that job just before doing a deal with Davis. If he thought he'd be in a top post he wouldn't have taken that job on.

Daniel Vince-Archer

Well David Davis (or any of the candidates for that matter) would be a fool to consider putting John Redwood in a senior position like Shadow Chancellor.

Daniel Vince-Archer

"I'm confident that Willetts won't be Davis's choice of Shadow Chancellor if he becomes leader... Willetts cautious attitude towards tax cuts not being to Davis's tastes..."

In his article in The Times in which he declared his support for Davis, Willetts said that the Conservatives should argue relentlessly for lower taxes, or words to that effect. Michael White in the Guardian also claimed that Davis is more likely to present Willetts with the Shadow Chancellorship than Ken would have been.

James Hellyer

"In his article in The Times in which he declared his support for Davis, Willetts said that the Conservatives should argue relentlessly for lower taxes..."

Sorry, but that was about his support for Davis. It does not reflect Willetts own attitudes...,,1072-1665233,00.html

... which are almost certainly too cautious, especially on income tax, to appeal to Davis.

Daniel Vince-Archer

James, did you miss the following paragraph in that article?

"I have been arguing that we can renew our Conservatism by standing for personal freedom in a stronger society. These are not just the usual principles enunciated by politicians, they are above all statements about what it is that enables people to lead fulfilled and satisfied lives. Conservatives have been quite good at the freedom bit — and of course the price we must pay for that freedom is eternal vigilance. That means deep scepticism about the Government’s proposals for ID cards and it means relentlessly pursuing the case for free trade, lower taxes and market reform."

If you think relentlessly purusing the case for lower taxes is too cautious, I'd be really interested to hear what you would consider to be an adventurous or aggressive approach.

Daniel Vince-Archer

Correction: I meant 'pursuing', not 'purusing'!

James Hellyer

Daniel, you are railing against a phantom argument. Willetts thinks we should argue for tax cuts. Davis and other Conservatives have indicated that we should cut taxes and specifically income taxes. Those are the very tax cuts Willetts pooh poohs.

Saying we should argue for tax cuts does not mean he shares the same attitude towards tax cuts. Willetts very much believes that we can't cut taxes soon, having first to reduce demand for services. Davis by contrast would cut taxes sooner, as his recent IPPR lecture showed.

James Hellyer

Basically the two men mean very differnet things when they talk about tax cuts, with specific differences over the timing, scope and types of cuts to be made.

Paul Leeman

If we regect Ken Clarke again we will confine ourselves to a right-wing rump for many years I am a euro-sceptic but i would rather have a Conservative Primeminister as opposed to a Labour one protecting my interests in europe. We must look to the bigger picture and that is the quality of life in the UK and elect a leader who the public want to elect


Exactly Paul - we need someone who can become a Conservative PM - which is why it has to be David Davis!

David Sanders

Stewart Jackson, MP for Peterborough, is quoted in today's (24/9/2005) "Peterborough Evening Telegraph" as backing David Davis for the Leadership.


Thank you for the spot David. I'll add SJ to DD's list.

Ronald Collinson

Very interesting, and very useful. And, if we cannot have Liam Fox (which, in truth, we can't – and, besides he is rather too close to that idiot in the White House), we must undoubtedly have David Davis.

Incidentally, how did you find out that Mark Pritchard (a local MP) is supporting David Davis? Neither (an admittedly quick) search on Google nor his website gleaned that information.


Mark Pritchard declared his support for Mr Davis in a joint letter to The Sunday Telegraph on 4/9.

James Hellyer

Why's Dr Fox gone down one since this morning?


The Rugby MP (sorry don't recall his name) was attributed as a Fox supporter in the press, but then that was denied or at least not confirmed.

John Coulson

Why has Dr. Fox lost Jeremy Wrights' support? It WAS made public in his column in his local paper. As it is HIS column (and we assume, and hope, it was written by him) couldn't we reasonably add his name to the list?

James Hellyer

What did he say, John?

John Coulson

He talked about the leadership race alienating a lot of the electorate but that a decision must be made. While he is only a new MP he said, that on performances alone, he will be backing Fox. Praising him for his unity with America and his courage in opposing the Constitution.

James Hellyer

That sounds pretty unambiguous to me!

Thanks, John.


With Davis know on 56 out of the 67 needed to get on the final ballot now I think in terms of Clarke and Cameron their be saying lets hope the present rules stay. Also with know 17 out of 41 Portillo first round(confirmed) supporters backing him Davis has only know to be worried about the 18 or so IDS supporters who have yet to pledge support?


I understand that Jeremy Wright has not endorsed anyone yet and until I see proof to the contrary I cannot accept Mr Coulson's interpretation of an article I have not seen and cannot be sure even exists.

Coffee Monster

You can add Sir George Young, Quentin Davies, John Horam and Michael Mates to Kenneth Clarke's backers according to this letter in The Times:,,59-1800532,00.html

No surprises there, all of them are backers from 4 years ago so it's not a big boost. Ken needs to get some supporters from the 2001 and 2005 intakes. The fact that he can't find a single one so far speaks volumes.

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