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« David Davis in third place in poll of Tory voters | Main | Your predictions for the first round... »



I am a little sorry to hear this as I believe Sir Malcolm is one of the partys greatest assets and a top bloke.However it was obvious he was not going to make it and I'm glad he's backed Ken,let's hope his supporters do the same.

James Maskell

Rifkind wasnt going to win it, but good for him to do the right thing and pull out. Hopefully he will take part in frontline Conservative politics again. We need all people to work together and we'll need him, whoever is leader.


Crispin Blunt, Sir Malcolm's campaign manager, has just been on BBC News 24. He said that he would be consulting his Association before making his own views known.

Mr Blunt explained Sir Malcolm's failure to win more parliamentary backing on his absence from Parliament since 1997. Since Sir Malcolm lost the Edinburgh Pentlands seat in '97 and when he reentered Parliament as MP for Kensington & Chelsea, 120 of the parliamentary party are 'new'.

James Hellyer

Where's the picture of Michael Ancram with a big red X through it? We haven't had one yet!

Guido Fawkes

So the left/right spectrum simplifies itself.

Reading from left to right its KC, DC, DD, LF.

I doubt Rifkind's backers will all swing to KC.

But the first round becomes much more dangerous. Which candidate goes out first from either the left or the right could see their supporters back the weakest candidate from the other end of the spectrum.

If Fox goes out they back KC to go forward and lose against DD, or if KC goes out his supporters back errrm... Who now really is the weakest candidate of the right in the eye's of the party members?

All the young right-wingers I know seem to prefer Fox...

Daniel Vince-Archer

Riffers has done the right thing in admitting that he doesn't have enough support and backing the person closest to his views instead. Perhaps he'll end up doing a Howard in a few years time?

This is important for Ken too, if Riffers had backed Cameron, Ken's campaign would have been doomed. Also, note that Cameron's campaign still lacks any overt heavyweight support within the party.

Selsdon Man

Rifkind's exit will ensure that the first round delivers a killer blow to one of the main four contenders.

There will be no opportunity to make a half-hearted choice and decide after Sir Malcolm was eliminated.

Selsdon Man

"Cameron's campaign still lacks any overt heavyweight support within the party".

That's a bit unfair on Oliver Letwin!

Daniel Vince-Archer

Oh yes! Sorry Selsdon Man, I always seem to forget Letwin! Although I would still say he's more of a middleweight ;-)

Selsdon Man

Daniel. Letwin has been Shadow Home Secretary and Chancellor - that makes him one of the most senior MPs that we have.


Sir M has just been interviewed on Radio 4's World at One.

He argued that Ken Clarke is "head and shoulders" above the other "able" candidates. KC, he continued, is the best potential Prime Minister with the ability to combine "handling" Gordon Brown with broad popular appeal.

He said that he had many more than seven publicly declared candidates but could not say how his supporters would vote although he hoped that they wld also vote for KC.

He had stayed in the race - despite never looking likely to prosper - because the race could have swung towards him - as, he said, it swung away from DD to DC last week.

Selsdon Man

According to my estimate, Clarke still trails Cameron and Fox (assuming that he gets most of the undeclared Cornerstone votes) who are very close.

If the Davis vote holds firm (a big if) some of his supporters could vote tactically to promote Fox above the other two.

James Maskell

Thanks for the update Tim. Nice comments by Rifkind. Clarke has strong backing from the right now. Broad appeal indeed. Nice boost for him. DD really lost momentum and needs to call a couple of names to start the ball rolling again. Otherwise people might start properly writing him off.

Selsdon Man

What backing from the right James? Sir Malcolm cannot be said to be from the right.


The latest on the rumour mill is big anti-Cameron tactical voting by Davisites and Cornerstone. This makes sense. Davis has half a chance against Clarke and good prospects against Fox, so he can't afford for Cameron to get through. Likewise, Cornerstone know that Cameron is almost certain to sweep the members' ballot. If Cameron doesn't go out first, the votes of whoever does (Fox or Clarke) is more likely to break towards Cameron (at least moreso than the remaining third-place candidate), ensuring a Davis-Cameron run-off in which Cameron has to be considered the strong favourite.

Daniel Vince-Archer

"Letwin has been Shadow Home Secretary and Chancellor - that makes him one of the most senior MPs that we have."

Well yes he does have four years worth of Shadow Cabinet experience in those positions, but he has no government experience, has only been an MP since 1997 and lacks a high media profile. But my opinion that he is only a middleweight is just my personal opinion and you're welcome to disagree.

"What backing from the right James? Sir Malcolm cannot be said to be from the right."

Ann Widdecombe is the first to come to mind, so there is some support from the right, although I admit I would hardly call it strong backing.

James Hellyer

Well, this makes Cornerstone's meeting today all the more important. Will its "fundo" (copyright T Montgomerie, 2005) field their own candidate? Will the Bill Cash candidacy rumoured by the BBC fall towards that first hurdle?


Alex, I hope this is true. The Davis camp is bound to botch it so that their man doesn't get through at all 'cos they were too busy voting to stop Cameron!

Jack Stone

There isn`t much point in Davis`s supporters or the extremists of Cornerstone tactically voting because as things stand at present Davis stands no chance against any of the remaining contenders.
Do you seriously think the party membership are going to vote for someone who can`t even inspire there own side let alone voters at large?

Wat Tyler

1) Good for Sir Malcolm.

2) I know I'm ludicrously naive and optimistic, but I really hope we don't get all this tactical shut-out voting everyone keeps talking about. The members deserve a good clean fight, break when I say break, etc
Nobody wnats a repetition of last time, when our plotting double-dealing MPs ended up with a leader most of them couldn't live with.


Looks as if JFK has either to put up or shut up now???

Jack Stone

People should vote for the person they want to be leader not the person they don`t.
If the contest is decided once again by what people don`t want rather than what we want then give it a couple of years and it will be IDS all over again!


Dear James Hellyer
Have you studied LF's voting in parliment? If so how can you say that he is right wing? It should read... KC, LF, DC, DD.

James Hellyer

People should vote for the person they want to be leader not the person they don`t.

People vote against the person they don't want to be leader, Jack, not for them!

James Hellyer

Dear James Hellyer

Dear Guido Fawkes, shurely?

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