Conservative Home's debate blogs


  • DVD rental
  • Conservative Books
My Photo

Conservative blogs

Blog powered by Typepad

  • Tracker 2
  • Extreme Tracker

« Will the Blackpool Conference be the last of its kind? | Main | William Hague rates the contenders »



Some interesting points raised here. Is it team Davis' strategy to get as many MPs to declare for them as possible (even if they are weak backers) so as to discourage the other candidates?

Very intriguing about the 'threat' to the new MPs. Suggests to me that a small but vocal wing of the party want this leadership election to be more of a coronation than a contest.

Daniel Vince-Archer

"Two of those four names are said to be new MPs who have been told that their careers will be finished if they don't back Mr Davis."

I hope this isn't true. It had been looking like the malevolent {sic?} influence of Davis's loathsome henchmen was on the wane but this would seem to prove otherwise.

James Hellyer

Those threats tally with Peter Oborne's comments on the Davis campaign in this weeks Spectator:

"Tory MPs have indeed come away from Derek Conway with the impression, never directly stated, that it would be very much better for their interests if they came across to the Davis camp. Quite a number have done precisely that, and gone rushing to the aid of the man they judge to be the victor."

James Hellyer

I've also heard that a number of Davis's earlier public backers won't actually be voting for him. I understand people feel they were bounced into making their decision by the tactics of some of Davis's lieutenants.

In any case, I doubt that more than a handful will do so. Peter Oborne has indicated that Davis has 75 supporters, so unless there are more public declarations, or this figure is wrong, it would take a number of defections to take him below the total of his public endorsements.

It would make things fun though...

James Maskell

Reading the News of the World earlier today (it was the only thing available to read, poor me) theres talk of an ABC campaign by DD, Anyone But Clarke.

I wont be able to vote since a leader will be elected before 3 months are out, but anyone who does a dirty tricks campaign will find it even harder to get my support.


Agreed James. There's no way that he'll fail to secure a place on the final ballot, but it will be interesting to see how many of his 'supporters' fail to back him at the critical moment.

As for the final ballot, I just keep seeing Davis v Cameron written all over it. I don't know why, but I'm just under the impression that Ken won't make it.

Coffee Monster

The idea that the 60% of the MPs who are not backing Davis will have their careers finished is ridiculous, Davis would never lead a united party and hence never win an election if that was the case. If they don't want to vote for him then tell him and don't lie about it. I have no sympathy for MPs privately pledging their support to more than 1 candidate and I hope they are exposed.

Alternatively, this could be spin from the other camps. This morning the NoTW reported that an aide to another contender claimed Davis was like 'Captain Mainwaring' because he ONLY served in the Territorial SAS rather than the SAS. I found this to be rather insulting to those who serve in the Territorial Army and I feel this campaign is rapidly descending into petty mudslinging.

Wat Tyler

Obviously there's a vast amount of unattributable briefing whirling around- about who's cheating on whom...just like Posh n Becks in fact.

But why declare your allegiance to one man and then secretly vote for another? If you prevent your declared choice winning, won't you suffer? After all, you were a daclred supporter of the losing candidate.

Or am I just being hopelessly naive?

PS For some unattributed anti-DD vitriol from some of those nice "non-Conway" types in other camps, see the Scotsman:

"He is an arrogant shit," said one enemy in the Cameron campaign. "I would rather vote for Tony Blair than Davis," said a usually mild-mannered MP. "Less fit to be Prime Minister than John Major was," said an ex-minister with an axe to grind.'

Axe to grind? Surely not.

Selsdon Man

"I could be being lied to but this might be further confirmation that Tory MPs are, indeed, the world's least trustworthy electorate."

I bet there are Clarke and Fox spies in the Davis camp too.

I agree with your analysis and add that Wallace would have been a target for the Rifkind camp (he worked for Sir Malcolm in the past).

Beresford and Moss (backed Ken before) would have been targets for the Clarke campaign which seems to be stalling. At this rate Ken will be lucky to get more than 30 votes in the first round.

Adrian Sherman

I still reckon Fox is the dark horse in all this. If he can somehow manage to engineer an unlikely alliance between the likes of Greening, the traditionalist Right and those who can't bear Davis (there are plenty of those) then he'll make it to the run-off and I think (hope) would beat DD.

I think DD's campaign could falter at ant stage. He's got a few traditionalists on side like Brazier and Amess who could easily peel away with the likes of Ottoway (who jumped ship from Portillo '01) and Beresford. Also, it wouldn't surprise me if many of those 'bullied' into supporting DD vote for other candidates; it's a secret ballot after all.

Let's not forget that in '01 Clarke topped the ballot of MPs with only 28 *public* pledges whilst Portillo had about 52 public endorsements. The moral of the story is, how ever many have declared for DD, his final vote figure will not be much higher, though he'll make it through.

As a Clarke man, I think he's a good chance of making it, so long as Cameron drops out first. Cameron won't support Clarke, but many of his older supporters like Soames will, whilst the others peel off to DD, probably, thus making the "anti Notting Hill" brigade, a little uncomfortable.

Whatever the first round is utterly crucial, as it gives candidates momemtum, or not as the case may be.

For what it's worth, at this early stage and assuming people are telling the truth (cough, cough), here's my prediction for the first round

Davis 75
Clarke 42
Fox 38
Cameron 32
A.N. Other 11



"Two of those four names are said to be new MPs who have been told that their careers will be finished if they don't back Mr Davis."

... is true and was done with David Davis' knowledge then this man has no right leading anything.

I would certainly hope anyone 'bullied' into voting will take the chance to use a secrect ballot to hit Davis hard.

As for predictions there are still way to many people yet to declare, while Davis looks very likely, I would not yet regard it as automatic that he will make the final two.

I think the other three are all in with a shot, if the modernisers fall in with Cameron he can, if Cornerstone fall in with Fox he can, if MPs believe Ken is going to lead them to power then he can. I have really begun to believe that Cameron may have the best chance of the three to the last two - but it won't be easy.

Selsdon Man

That is not far off my current estimate.

Cameron 27
Clarke 36
Davis 78
Fox 31
Rifkind 5
Uncommitted Cornerstone 21

If Fox secures most of the Cornerstone votes that will take him into second place. If not, Clarke will be the net beneficiary.

Rifkind's supporters will probably transfer to Clarke. He needs to beat Cameron and then pick up most of his supporters.

Cameron needs to win the support of those who would normally back Clarke. They are the older generation of MPs.

John Travis

I've posted this on but it might add to the debate here.

I've just been looking at the voting figures from last time to see if it helps who is going to come second this time. Of the public supporters last time for the final round, that are still in parliament, the breakdown with current pledges is as follows.( NYD - Not yet declared )

Ken Clarke 2001 (28) - Now DD 7, KC 14, DC 2, LF 1, MR 0, NYD 4
Portillo 2001 (43) - Now DD 17, KC 4, DC 9, LF 3, MR 0, NYD 10
IDS 2001 (38) - Now DD 13, KC 0, DC 0, LF 3, MR 0, NYD 22
Did not declare 2001 (35) - Now DD 11, KC 0, DC 1, LF 0, MR 3, NYD 20
New Intake - DD 18, KC 0, DC 4, LF 3, MR 2, NYD 20

So the majority of voters to declare are from former IDS supporters and the relatively right-wing new intake where Ken has yet to get a single pledge. Ken has lost 10 of the 28 still in parliament who voted for him last time, and only gained 4 from Portillo voters.

So who can get these votes and take second place ?

Selsdon Man

That is why Clarke needs to beat cameron and pick up his supporters to come second. And vice versa. The problem is that a significant number Clarke and Cameron supporters may transfer to Davis, especially the latter's Eurosceptic supporters.

Fox needs the the votes of the new MP and former IDS supporters (including Cornerstone) to beat Clarke/Cameron make the final.

Jack Stone

Nearly choked on my roast beef this lunch time when I heard Davis say that he and his team will not be attacking fellow Conservatives.
To expect Davis, Forth, Conway etc to stop briefing against fellow Copnservatives is like expecting Dracula to stop drinking blood!


Another brilliant post Jack.We all agree with you.It's a shame we in the Conservative Party are not fine upstanding individuals like Blair or Brown who as all know never brief against each other.



That is a really interesting bit of information. The decision of Theresa May (Portillo '01) & Lansley (Clarke '01) but both modernisers will be interesting.

Selsdon Man

May and Lansley will back Cameron or Clarke.

Adrian Sherman

The fact that Ken has 'only' 18 pledges of public support doesn't worry me. As I said, for some reason, Tory MPs are strangely reticent about their support for him, like they were in '01 when he came out on top. A lot of people have said they don't know where Ken's support will come from, but he'll get more support than DC. Of that I'm sure.

If we can get Rifkind and Lansley before the first round, it would be good and from what I can see, about a third of Cameron's supporters are definite Clarkeites, should he fall early.

Assuming DD bags say around 85 votes in the final round, the magic figure for the other two (Clarke and Fox) will be C. 57. I think Ken can do that *IF* DD's camp don't play dirty; ie, 5 of the most trusted voting for Fox, to keep Ken out of the final.


A-Nick, I reckon they'd go for Cameron but I'm not a betting person cause I usually lose!

Selsdon Man

Wishful thinking Adrian! I see tactical voting to keep Ken out of the final. The way things are going (no new endorsements, especially from new MPs) he may come fourth in the MPs ballot.

John Travis

Adrian - but how many votes for KC came from IDS supporters in 2001 to keep Portillo out?


AS - *IF* DD's camp don't play dirty;! - I'd prefer the term "strategically"

Personally I'd rate Davis more if he did play this strategically and tactically in order to achieve his goal. In the past when we've discussed our policies openly Blair steals them (how many times have you heard him talking about Choice in the NHS recently!) If as leader DD failed to operate in this way he wouldn't be any use to you. It is the goal that is important and as long as he plays cleanly (no red cards) how you get to that goal is immaterial.

James Hellyer

I agree with Selsdon. The Clarke camp are obviously worried that he won't reach the final tow. That's why they've been rolling out the likes of Lord Howe to tell us that Clarke "must" have a place...

The majority of undeclared MPs are former IDS backers or from the new intake. These are people for whom Clarke holds little appeal. I think they'll split between Davis and Fox, with Fox getting the lions share.

Adrian Sherman

John - I don't reckon any. I think certain Portillistas jumped ship to Clarke when it was apparant the campaign was imploding.

I reckon Ken will get Lansley, Rifkind, Lait, Ainsworth and Blunt all declaring before the first round, and that's off the top of my head. Where will DC's votes come from? He's hoovered up the toffs/snobs, and that's where his support lies. Fox will be the surprise package as most undeclared new MPs like Douglas Carswell should back him.

As you can see in my very rough figures, I reckon Cameron will be trailing in fourth.

The comments to this entry are closed.

About Conservative Home


  • Conservative Home's
    free eMailing List
    Enter your name and email address below: