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« Fox attempts to shake off right-wing label | Main | New declarations for Cameron and Clarke »


Selsdon Man

Any shadow cabinet must reflect its broad church, make the most of the talent available and look like a government in waiting. Cronyism is not an option.


Good post Editor.You would probably know better than I whether DD,Fox or Clarke or their supporters have tried to make capital out of Camerons difficulties with the media.If they have it has been foolish as it's backfired,this spat has strengthened Cameron rather than weakened him.
Whoever the last 2 are they will have to explain how they can unite the party and the one with the more plausible ideas on how this will be achieved will deserve to win.

Ben O

In an instersting development, DD has decided to focus on his brief today and has given an interview to the Evening Standard endorsing Sir Ian Blair's stand on, ahem, affluent cocaine users.

Davis really isn't doing himself any favours in my opinion.

Jonathan Sheppard

I agree Editor. You will know from my posts that I am a Davis supporter, but whoever is leader needs to be able to unleash our big guns - and that means all of them - from both wings of the party, to focus our fire power on New Labour.

Jonathan Sheppard

Ben - Davis is surely damned if he does damned if he doesn't. AS Shadow Home Secretary is he meant to have no views on drugs policy?

I would also be focussing on the Governments complete failing over the prison system which is near capacity - asking them exactly what their plans are - once capacity is reached? More early release??

Cllr Graham Smith

Tim Montgomerie wrote "David Davis doesn’t deserve this and Mr Cameron should distance himself from these criticisms. If Mr Davis’ critics have evidence that Mr Davis has fuelled this row let’s see it."

Strange. I was sure that Daviud Davis had published a Press Release on CCOOnline that called on David Cameron to "answer the question" as to whether he had ever taken drugs. Yet, searching again, I cannot seem to locate it.

Was it all in my imagination?


DD was perfectly reasonable on Morgan/Platell. The problem could easily be resolved if DC said he had never done Class A drugs - its not DD's fault that DC does not seem able to do this.

Howard Flight was sacked for something he said, despite years of good Tory service.

Other PPCs were sacked for a range of misdemeanours, every single one of which was, to my knowledge, perfectly legal.

So what is the punishment for a shadow Education secretary for refusing to deny taking cocaine?

Surely not double-standards in the Tory party?

Jonathan Sheppard

Ed - I think the question all contributors to your website need to ask themselves is who would they rather see in Number 10?

Davis or Blair/Brown?
Cameron or Blair/Brown?
Fox or Blair/Brown?
Clarke or Blair/Brown?

I would love to see Davis become leader and the PM however I for one would rather have any of our side in No. 10 than their lot. I do sometimes wonder whether others feel the same.

Graham D'Amiral

I suspect there are supporters of both DD and DC, who are being a little over enthusiastic and probably need to be reigned in.

Once this election is over whatever the result, we will have to be fully supportive of the leader and turn our collective fire on labour.


I do Jonathan absolutely.

Jonathan Sheppard

Graham - I think you are right, and its great to see people enthusiastic and interested as to where the Conseravtive party is oing. Its when you start getting very destructive comments that I get frustrated.

Henry Cook

I think Davis has just shot himself in the foot in his interview with the Evening Standard. Defences such as the one you have put up for him Editor will be much harder to sustain when he seems to deliberately target Cameron once more. It may well be that his policy is to be tough on affluent cocaine users, but does he really have to discuss it when we are in the middle of this furore? He also says he does not wish to be the 'heir to Blair', clearly a dig at Cameron. This kind of thing makes it much more difficult to have sympathy for him, and in fact makes you think Soames' attack is entirely justified. In addition, I don't think Soames is one to be silenced or tow the line - he'll say what he wants and thinks regardless of attempts to calm him by DC.

Michael Smith

[Davis] also says he does not wish to be the 'heir to Blair', clearly a dig at Cameron.

It's only a 'dig' at Cameron in that it distinguishes him, Davis, from something that Cameron, after all, claimed for himself. In other words it is hardly smearing Cameron by making some sort of untrue claim about him. If Cameron doesn't want attention drawn to this remark, he should have had the wit not to have made it in the first place. And if Davis wants to distance himself from the sentiments expressed in it, why not?

And on a related note, why should Davis not comment on prosecutions of middle-class drug users? It's a point of fact that middle-class drug use is sometimes treated both by law enforcement officials and by the media as less significant than working-class drug use, if only because middle-class people are marginally more able to pay for their habit without recourse to other types of crime. Again, if Cameron has somehow managed to create a situation in which these comments seem to refer particularly to his own case, whose fault is that?

Alternatively, are you arguing that no leadership candidate should now comment on anything relating to drugs, 'personal life' issues, Blair and his legacy, or anything else that Cameron's managed to get himself tangled up in over the past fortnight?

Henry Cook

DC is not on record as saying he is the 'heir to Blair' and it depends on what context you take the phrase in. If the 'heir to Blair' means the next person who wins three elections in a row, then I'm sure DD would want that description. The point of this is that it is deliberately negative, something which contradicts his "11th commandment".

As far as the drugs policy is concerned, it is not the policy I have a problem with, but the way in which he brings it up to deliberately exploit the Cameron situation. Had he left it till the storm had blown over, it would be fine. And I'm sure DC would support the policy as well.

Michael Smith

DC is not on record as saying he is the 'heir to Blair' and it depends on what context you take the phrase in.

Your choice of words made me smile, Henry - and you're right, in the sense that since Cameron made the 'heir to Blair' remark at an off-the-record press dinner, he was indeed not 'on record' when he said it - just at a table full of journalists!

Andy Cooke

Direct quote from the interview:
“On the drugs question, Mr Davis backed Mr Cameron’s refusal to discuss his experiences at university, saying: “I think there should be a kind of moral statute of limitations when it comes to adolescence or student days.

“If something is a long way in your past, you can reasonably expect it to be forgotten.”

When asked if breaking the law could be regarded as a private matter, he said: “That’s a difficult one. But we also have a principle of British justice that you don’t have to incriminate yourself.”

I do not know whether Davis raised the issue of affluent cocaine users or whether he responded to a direct question such as “As Shadow Home Secretary, do you support the drive by the Met police commissioner, Sir Ian Blair, to target affluent cocaine users”

Martin Curtis

I am now in the Cameron camp (after weeks of mulling it over). The final straw has been Davis' comments in recent days, timing otherwise legitimate statements on drugs policy so that they cause damage to Cameron. This, IMHO, is a reflection of Davis tactics over the last few years - dividing and undermining others in order to put himself in a position where he can stand for leader, insgtead of demonstrating his potential as a leader - the one chance he got to demonstrate such qualities he failed.

It would not surprise me if Cameron now came out on top of Thursday's poll, because I believe there are now quite a few MPs listed under Davis' name who have misgivings about committing themselves early.


Well done Tim for saying what you said its a shame that some Cameron supporters in the newspapers as well as here been attacking Davis for no reason and would love one person here to name one of the Davis 66 supporters who will not vote for him or them not only take back their comments but stop putting them onto this blog?

John Sheldon

I don't think that DD dealt with drugs question particularly well on the Morgan/Platell programme on Saturday. The only way for him to have properly responded to their cheap, tabloid questions was to challenge the whole basis of their questioning. Platell said that the drugs question, and DC's possible use of them, was a crucial question to answer. DD accepted this premise and then answered the questions that followed from it without qualification.

Instead he should have clearly stated that this line of questioning is an irrelevant distraction from the Tory leadership contest. DD has only moved to this position late yesterday and today, as the pressure is already abating on the subject.

It seems to me that DD tried to benefit from the pressure when it was on Cameron by suggesting that no-one could be PM who had recently taken a Class A drug. Today, he has seen that he himself may be damaged by theses attacks on DC and so, in opportunist fashion, is distancing himself from his earlier position.

As a former DD supporter, I've continued to be unimpressed by his comments since Blackpool. On central policy questions there isn't much difference between DD and DC. DC is more in tune with the current mood and as such, in a better position to rescue conservatism.

If this means, like in 1951 with the likes of Iain Macleod, we have to adapt and steer left a little first, to win back trust, then so be it. Realistically we can only do this with Cameron.


I think Michael Spencer must be so saddenned to have just one vote he did a Victor Kiam and 'bought the company'.

I was hoping Roman Abramovitch would buy his own political party and sponsor a few politicians openly; and then we could have varous City Slickers and Offshore-Trust Businessmen sponsoring their own political parties and logos.

It is not the right climate for growing bananas and I doubt either Dole or the USMC want to come here, but in all other respects men like Kalms, Spencer, Ashcroft, Sykes, Wheeler give the place the air of a banana republic


How in earth does anyone think Cameron is the right person to to reach across the class divide? He's a toff. He speaks like a toff. He behaves like a toff. Labour and swing voters will not be attracted by someone from a privileged background with no policy platform. The main impression of the media coverage this week is of someone who could afford good quality drugs and smoke/inject whatever in nice classy surroundings.

If that is meant to be the best Conservative MP's can do when there are serious issues to be dealt with, a country to run and a world to build, then the party is really in trouble. Cameron's getting the Murdoch nice guy treatment for now, but if MP's fall for it, or others, they need their heads examining.


Are you saying then John that David Davis was wrong to say that a policy of someone who had taken a class A drug recently should not be PM. To me if you are I don't think many members or likely supporters in the future would support you on that point?
I don't think any leader elected has gone a little left to win an election in the past can you?

malcolm thomas

In Stafford in 1997 Cameron failed to reach across the class divide in quite spectacular fashion with David Kidney (labour) running away with a huge swing. Cameron did not even visit the Labour Wards, only campaigning in the safe Conservative areas.

He might get the velvet glove treatment in the media, but which ex-Labour/floating voters really want to see a privileged Tory toff backed by Lord this and that - lording it over them? It's completely barmy.

Daniel Vince-Archer

Thank you Malcolm T, I'm glad somebody else has finally picked up on this point.


Yeah some of DC's supporters have criticized Davis openly. But it should be remembered that it was a DD supporter that asked the drugs question in the 92 group hustings.

Its impossible to believe that when the stakes are so high candidates are going to pussy foot around each other.

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