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« Editorial: Why I’d vote for Liam Fox in today’s ballot | Main | If you were an MP, who would you support in the second round? »


Andy Stidwill

It will be interesting to see whether Ken Clarke or Malcolm Rifkind endorse Cameron in the next day or so. My guess is that Rifkind will, but Clarke won't.

Owenite Adrift

Gerard Bouladou

The day the Tory Party takes leasons from the French... [fill in the blank]...

…you fail to realise that by and large Clarke was yesterday’s man, his “popularity” mostly a product of the fact that he was the most well know candidate amongst the general public, not because he or the polices he represented where well liked or enjoyed widespread support.

Indeed if you look at the focus group work done by Newsnight, Cameron is far and away the favoured choice of conservative and independent voters… that is not to say that is reason enough to elect him, but it pretty much demolishes the myth that Clarke was somehow the most and indeed, according to some, only Tory candidate popular with the general public.

As for the race now, I like both Fox and Cameron, politically I agree with Fox on social issues and foreign affairs and with Cameron on his more centrist approach to public services, what’s more I think he would have the best chance to beat Labour and Brown at the next election (far greater than a divisive figure such as Clark ever would have if you ask me)… so I do hope for a Fox vs Cameron finale… but I get the sense that Davis will manage to hold on and go on to be defeated amongst the membership by a fairly big margin IMO.

Robert Cooke

Just for a second imagine this as a team whatever the result

Davis(i guess)

The Chelsea of the political world.... unstoppable

Sean Fear

"Excuse me, but it's simply foolish! In France the RPR (now the UMP) was also divided between europhiles and eurosceptics but it has never refused to endorse its leader because he was europhile and the majority of its party eurosceptic"

And much good it's done them! Who would want Chirac for a leader?


I have nothing against Dr. Fox and, indeed went to the same uni as he did, but don't you think we have had enough of Scots? what is his position on the terribly unfair devolution settlement? we would end up with three leaders, all Scots, two of whom have a Scottish seat and therefore be making decisions that would not affect their own constituencies.
Before anyone accuses my of bias I am a Scot who moved to England as soon as it became clear that Labour would win, 1996, and devolution would proceed. I knew what it would be like and it has lived down to my expectations.

Daniel Vince-Archer

"Daniel I could accept that coming from you if you were a Fox or Davis supporter, but you backed Clarke. What was he offering that was "distinct", other than federalism and cheap fags?"

I backed Ken Clarke for mainly pragmatic reasons - his status as the most popular Conservative with the public, his wealth of government experience, his sound record on the economy, his ability as a bruiser at the despatch box, his refusal to embrace the low NewLabouresque politics of spin and smear-and-sneer, his reputation, his ability to take on Gordon Brown... need I go on?

David Cameron offers none of these things - instead, he was behind Ken amongst the public and has a track record of failure in real electoral tests (as opposed to being parachuted into an ultra-safe seat), he has no government experience and has only been in the shadow cabinet for a year (most of which was as head of party policy co-ordination for the 2005 election, which was hardly a glittering triumph was it?), he was special adviser to the Chancellor Norman Lamont who presided over economic disaster for this country and destroyed the Conservative reputation for being sound and trustworthy on the economy, he has been monstered by Ruth Kelly at the despatch box, he has adopted NewLabouresque plastic politics... need I go on?

With regards being a Liam Fox or David Davis supporter, I've said ever since I started posting on this blog that I would be perfectly content to see either man as Conservative leader and both men are closer to my personal political beliefs and I believe that both men have compelling personal biographies and could have broad appeal amongst the public if given the chance.

You're right that I backed Ken Clarke, but wrong that I'm not a David Davis or Liam Fox supporter as I have voiced my support for both men on several occasions. Perhaps you'd like to answer my point now instead of dancing on Ken Clarke's political grave?

free democrat

I think people maybe overplaying the tactical voting element going on here. Ken was at odds with the vast majority of the Party and indeed the country on the central issue of out time. What's he is 65 and thus would have been nearly 70 at the time of the next election. It's a miracle he got as many votes as he did.

I don't think it matters whether Fox or Davis goes through to the membership as David Cameron has got the (for want of a better word) charisma and politics to beat them. I think I'd prefer Davis to go through on the whole as Fox does have a tendancy to overegg the populist right wing puddding sometimes. I think a Davis - Cameron run off would be more constructive. I hope all the MP's who do support Cameron in the final round do vote for him.

The should be no need to 'stop' Fox or Davis and a really substantial Cameron vote will be the best way to give him a headstart in the membership vote.

Owenite Adrift


I agree that a Brown vs. Fox vs. kennedy General Election would be pretty risible when you take into account the "Scottish issue".

So even putting Fox’s politics aside, even though I have a great deal of sympathy with his Atlantisism and approach to social issues, I for one would urge Tory Party members to back Cameron, though I still think that Fox has a great deal to offer.

Graham D'Amiral

Sir Malcom Rifkind and Stephen Dorell have anounced they are switching their support to David Cameron, many more will follow I expect.


If any of David Davis supporters switched because of tactical voting then have surely hurt Davis badly.

I reckon a handful backed Fox to ensure Clarke was knocked out. Trouble is for Davis - as most of Clarke's vote will go to Cameron whilst MPs may lose faith in Davis and switch to Fox - splitting the right vote in a close run off. Davis may lose.

If Davis was to have a chance at winning - his tactical voters should have voted Clarke to boot out Fox. Then Fox's voters would have most likely gone to him. Then tactically in the 2nd round help Clarke out again to ease out Cameron. Davis may have beaten Clarke if it was put to the Tory membership.

Now that Cameron is bound to go foward on the ballot - I cannot see how Davis or Fox will win.

So - all in all - poor tactical voting by Davis voters if indeed there was any. Still as a Lib-Dem supporter it helps us now Clarke is gone. Davis and Fox are too dull - Cameron yet to be seriously tested.

Blue ipod

So the Big Beast has failed to roar and exits the jungle at the first hurdle. Good bloke as he maybe but he was always an unrealistic choice to lead the party into the next election 4 years hence when he would be 70 and then to serve another 4 years after that. I also don't think his unhealthy life style would have withstood the pressures of party leader.

This now leaves the field open to the next generation and gives the party a chance to change, to look forward instead of backwards. It also gives the party a chance to anticipate new glories instead of dwelling on past ones.

We can all speculate as much as we like as to who will vote for who and which two contenders will be offered to the membership. While we play the speculation game we have to remember that the MPs who will make the decision on Thursday have the reputation of being the most devious of voters so the outcome could be wide open although David Cameron is on a roll both with the MPs and out in the courntry.He is also the bookies favourite.

While we speculate over the next few weeks and it is obvious that people will back different contenders for different reasons and that there will be many disagreements, can I make a plea that we keep it dignified and clean, steering away from personal abuse and nasty comments. After all we don't want people thinking we are the nasty party do we and we don't want to give editor cause to ban anyone else.

Andy Stidwill

Yes, it simply doesn't may sense for any Davis supporters to have voted tactically for Fox. Voting tactically for Clarke and then picking up Fox's support was the only kind of tactical voting that made sense for Davis.

All that happened, IMHO, was that 4 of Davis's 66 declared supporters voted for Cameron, including Adam Holloway who has admitted doing so.

It looks like the only tactical voting that did take place was a few uncommited eurosceptics voting for Liam Fox to kick Ken Clarke out of the race, as David Heathcoat-Amory has admitted doing.

Alastair Matlock

Holloway actually admitted to ratting on the first ballot? I thought he had just said that he was switching his vote to Cameron on Thursday?

Graham D'Amiral

Adam Holloway voted for cameron in the first round. He says he told David Davis he was going to on monday night.

Michael Mates has said he is backing cameron in the next round. The times estimates David Cameron may pick up 28 of the 38 clarke supporters.

John Hustings

I don't really see that Liam Fox is better for the right-wing vote than Davis. The only reason you might say this is the loss of momentum from the Davis campaign.

But, in my opinion, both would get hammered in a run-off vote.

It looks like the Cameron bandwagon is unstoppable now. All based on one fluent (but empty) speech.

It's pretty worrying in my view. I'm just hoping he's not as bad as I fear he is.


A few questions from the uninitiated.

There seems to be a feeling that Fox would stand a better chance than Davis in a run off against Cameron. Other than the momentum factor(Fox has it Davis doesn't)is there any evidence of this?

Interesting that Fox backed the members having the final say and Cameron didn't. I would have thought quite significant political capital could be gained from this in a run off, no?

People are saying Cameron is a shoe-in for the leadership. In reality won't a campaign against Cameron run on authentic right wing Conservative principles win a lot of the membership vote, particularly against what could be viewed as Cameron's somewhat wishy-washy position?


People want to win Lazyboy - everybody (including the Guardian!) is saying Cameron can win it.

I wonder is Cameron so sure of himself being a big winner for the Tories, including reaching the regions north of Watford, that he will give up his safe seat and stand in Stafford again if he becomes leader?

Sean Fear

I'm pretty sure that Cameron will win now.

But Fox is much more likely to give him a run for his money on the members' ballot than Davis can, and I think it important that the eventual leader should be tested in this way.

Gerard bouladou

OK Ken Clarke was "yesterday's man" but what you don't understand is that with Cameron, Davis or Fox as leader the conservative party is "yesterday party" with "yesterday's dogma"!
He was also yesterday's man because the tories failed to choose him as leader in 1997,2001 and 2003 and prefered obscurs leaders what they also prefered in 2005.
OK you've no leasons to receive from a poor french rightwinger...but the french right knows how to win power what the tories seem to have forgotten for years!

John Hustings

I just thought of something.

Is it possible that when David Davis spoke of tactical voting damaging his total, that he meant his supporters voting for Ken Clarke??

I mean, just because Clarke lost does not mean that there was not tactical voting in his favour, and that perhaps Davis supporters wanted Fox out to help their man in the second round.

This makes sense to me as Clarke's vote looks a little high (even though he lost).


In terms of the membership vote I would still say that Fox and Davis could still win on the pure and simple base of turnout due to ex Clarke supporters from last time are more than likely not in the party than other groups and that if Cameron doesn't get over 90MPs supporting him today there will be the point made that he would not have had the support of the majority of MPs.
With the above the quicker we get to one preference vote of an electoral college(60% MPs 40% Members) the better it would be for the party?

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