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« Fox: My forthcoming marriage will end rumours of gay past | Main | Editorial: My 4.59pm predictions »


James Maskell

The Tories didnt just go through this leadership rules ballot for nothing. That was about the right to vote. I havent decided what I would do if the membership is not allowed to vote for a leader but I can say for certain I would be furious. The membership should be balloted even if there is only one candidate to see what backing from the membership that candidate has.

Jonathan Sheppard

Surely it is essential as the new leader can claim the support of both MPs and the members. If it doesn't the members can always say in 5 10 years time, whenever - Well we didn't vote for them.

Tim Roll-Pickering

Hmm... I'd like an all member ballot, but only of the top two candidates today. If the third placed candidate wound up going to the full membership because a higher placed candidate withdrew (and if the old Conservative Future elections from the days when there was a two stage round are anything to go by, there may be provision for this) then that candidate would look a sore loser and the party would look ridiculous.


I would rather have a leader tomorrow than in December but only half finishing the vote would be a bit daft and make the party look like a bit of a laughing stock.

John Hustings

I want the members to vote, because six weeks might be enough to shake everyone out of their collective madness about Cameron.

Nice manners and one fluent speech! That's all!


Although I would love to see us get stuck into Labour tomorrow I do think the membership should have their say. Apart from anything else there has been mopre tory policy discussed in the media over the last month than any other time in the last 10 years! What might work is if Davis steps aside and they have a vote of confidence in Cameron instead, but I would prefer a propoer contest.

Ed R

It depends on the margins, but if Cameron got 90+, then I'd say a coronation is better. The run-off in the country is a very expensive six-week exercise in procrastination with two candidates forced into a potentially quite divisive race -- at the end of which Cameron is either annointed as expected, or the MPs are forced to work under a leader two-thirds of them rejected. Get on with it. We've waited long enough.


The party and final contenders would loose all credibility if after this evening's result there was a coronation. No matter what the margin is between the 1st and 2nd, the contest has then to go out to the membership. Not to do so would see the party shoot itself in the foot yet again. The last few weeks have been the most exciting for the party in a long while and the membership want to be part of it as well.

There is far more to David Cameron than "nice manners and one fluent speech" a visit to his website for instance will show that.

John Sheldon

Yes, the membership vote should go ahead. Hopefully it will to reinforce the position of the winner and unite the party behind him.

James Hellyer

There is far more to David Cameron than "nice manners and one fluent speech" a visit to his website for instance will show that...

... there are soundbites and non sequiturs too.


Blue Ipod - Is this the view from Michael Howards office? A coronation for Cameron?

Nicholas S

I think at this stage, we should stick to the rules and have a membership ballot. If the second placed candidate withdraws, the membership ballot should be between the remaining two.

However, if we are going to keep this election system in the long term, I believe there should be scope for anyone gaining over 50% of the parliamentary vote at any stage automatically winning.

Mark O'Brien

Even if David Cameron does very well in today's ballot, the noblest thing he can do is to insist (not just accept - INSIST) that there is a vote amongst grassroots. Cameron is getting plenty of support amongst activists, but part of me (don't barrack me for being a right-winger upset that Fox and Davis are behind!!) thinks that the support for Cameron is grudging, and only an acknowledgement of what feels like his power to win an election. I don't feel that grassroots support for Cameron is emphatic. But what I am certain about is this: if Cameron is brought to the leadership with a coronation, that will be the worst possible start to his leadership for grassroot feeling. It worked for Michael Howard, but it was urgent then. We've got a lot time to make sure we get the right man, and considering how hard so many courageous people have fought to keep the final say in activists' hands, that is not a right many of us will be eager to give up at the second time of asking.

Richard Allen

A coronation would be an outrage. I serious doubt that I would remain a party member if such a disgrace comes to pass.


If this happened I am finished with the Party, indeed finished with politics altogether. We need these six weeks to find out just how much of a gamble we would be taking with David Cameron. I just don't understand how opinions can change so much in such a short space of time. Has anyone thought of the utter mess we will be in if Cameron fails? of our last gambles only Thatcher was a success and she had loads more experience than Cameron.

Cllr Graham Smith

Given that the Parliamentary Party have now clearly and decisively indicated their choice of Leader, a man of honour and principle would put the interests of a united Party first and stand aside.

Although I would have unhesitantly voted for him six months ago, I do most sincerely hope that David Davis will now show considerable statesmanship and quietly stand aside. The last thing we need is a divisive contest that results in a leader who does not command the support of the majority of the Parliamentary Party.

However I have a very real fear that Mr Davis' "machine politician" instincts will be kick in and he will fight what may possibly become a bitter and personal battle to the last, no matter how destructive that is to the Conservative Party.

James Maskell

This contest neednt be divisive. The comments from some reports Im getting here is that this contest is going to tear the Party into two halves. Whats wrong with a proper debate about the future of the Party? We are all in this together. Those who try to open up divisions arent proper members. They dont care about the Party. We here on this forum all disagree over a range of issues, but we know deep down that we are supporters of the Conservative Party and that is what unites us. The claims of a split in the Party is way over-stating the point IMO.

Richard Carey

"The run-off in the country is a very expensive six-week exercise in procrastination with two candidates forced into a potentially quite divisive race".

As far as the expense goes, we have seen assurances from senior members of the voluntary Party that the financial appeal which accompanied the ballot papers in 2001 more than covered the cost by a significant margin. If, however, you were to ask whether I would rather see that money spent writing to key swing voters in target seats or our own members, the answer is very obviously a no-brainer for all concerned. My concerns about the "procrastination" has been expressed in other threads.

That said, there is the great opportunity of extensive media coverage of the remaining stage of the leadership race providing a degree of publicity that would be very expensive to buy - it is though surely incumbent upon all members as we do go through this to ensure that the countrywide contest and its coverage is kept resolutely positive.

I am yet again saddened by the people who say that they would immediately leave the Party if X or Y happened. Really, do you see somewhere else as a more natural political home, or would personal arrogance simply compel you to have a childish strop while some of us get on with the work of replacing this Labour government?

Selsdon Man

I think that most of the posters on this site will be delighted that Cornonation Chicken is off the menu.

James Maskell

As for leaving the Party, I would do it in extreme cases. The reforms of the leadership rules was one of those "red line issues". There are some issues which I would leave the Party, but I wouldnt leave because of a coronation, unless it was done deliberately to do one over the membership.

Selsdon Man

I believe that the contest will be keen but not divisive. In fact, after this evening's performances, it appears that DD is raising his game. It could be much closer than today's polls suggest. It is in the party's interest that both candidates perform at their peak with positive and imaginative campaigns. That would motivate the activists for the battles ahead.

Blue ipod

As far as I know no opinion has been expressed or discussed in Michael Howard's office regarding anyone's coronation. Contrary to what some cynics think, there is no corporate opinion in Michael Howard's office. Everyone is free to make up their own mind and vote accordingly.

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