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« Cameron is overwhelming first choice of party members | Main | Fox: My forthcoming marriage will end rumours of gay past »


Tim Roll-Pickering

Do the rules actually allow for reintstating candidates?

And could Fox really overcome the negative impact of "FOX EJECTED!" followed by "FOX FORCES HIS WAY BACK IN"? Once the former headline goes out, any attempt by Fox to return to the contest will be seen as a sore loser moment. He will be emanating not Bush but Gore.

Mark Fulford

I don't agree that a coronation would suit Cameron. For a united party, he needs proven support at every level. If Davis were to pull out, I'd guess that his motive would be to poison the Cameron leadership by making a members' mandate impossible.


The politics of it wld be difficult Tim R-P but if he is only one, two or three votes behind DD he might almost match DD's moral authority. We members should demand a contest in any case - it doesn't need to come from LF.

Tim Roll-Pickering

How much would a contest cost?

Imagine "Fox costs the party £XX,XXX."

I'm quite happy for the members to endorse David Cameron in a final vote. Of course the one big advantage of a 'coronation' would be we have the leader be the end of the week instead of the end of the year.

James Hellyer

How much would a contest cost?

The candidates have been told they have to pay the costs. Oh, and the last one made a profit.


I agree with you Mark.The Conservative party would be seen as a laughing stock if after all the pain of recent months with the Maude-Monbiot proposals the leadership was settled by 'Coronation'.
There would also be big problems with the legitimacy of the winner.When times get tough as they inevitably will there will be lots of 'what ifs' if the leader has not been elected by the majority of members.
Financial considerations should be of secondary importance.

Michael Smith

Anyone catch John Redwood right at the end of the 'Today' programme this morning?

He made what I think is a very good point, which is that in some ways, rather than being a disadvantage, the membership round and the debate occasioned by it (I'm paraphrasing here obviously) constitute an excellent opportunity to showcase Conservative policies and values.

It really would be an outrage, though, if the membership were not allowed a chance to question and scrutinise two real candidates, and then make a real choice between them.


I absolutely do not support a coronation, but I cannot see that the third placed candidate could challenge it.

After the vote today, Candidates A and B will progress to the membershio vote, and Candidate C will be eliminated. After that, surely either candidate has the prerogative to pull out of the race.

Candidate C doesn't move up a spot. He's been eliminated. He stopped being a candidate when the second round result is announced.

What if both Candidates B and C drop out? Can Ken Clarke get back in? Rifkind?

Plus, he'd look silly challenging it in court, and would drag the party through the mud.

Candidate B shouldn't drop out, but if he does, Candidate C would be barking to assert his right to take his place.

Tim Roll-Pickering

What would be the point of staging a two horse race when one horse no longer wanted to run?

James Hellyer

Redwood's appearance was presaged by a feature about how Cameron was a lightweight (which featured our own site editor, who said things that will have made Guido Fawkes fume). Is this the shape of media coverage to come...

James Burdett

The issue here is that supposing Cameron gets a majority of MP's votes say 100, and then the runner up wins in the country (unlikely I know). Then we would be in a situation that would be far worse than IDS or anything else. On balance I would like to be able to vote for my preferred candidate, but there are some pretty sound logical reasons for not going ahead with a member ballot as well.

henry curteis

The Conservatives need more time before Cameron is crowned. He is a complete gamble - an unknown with no declared policies bar a me-too on the EPP. He might be a two week media phenomenon with holes below the water line, which will sink the ship. By going to the membership the Conservatives are giving themselves time to be sure about their new 'star'.

With the public Fox is far closer to Cameron - even with nil publicity - 47/32 in Sky poll. The public are not as keen on Tory toffs from privileged backgrounds as Conservatives dream. Fox would do far better in an election in a few years time after the Cameron sheen has had time to tarnish...and you can be sure Blair/Brown will be very happy to expose the old Etonian right wing silver spoon story every day of the year.

Also the Conservatives are guaranteed massive media coverage for another six weeks by playing the Tory X-factor game til the 5th December. This is reality TV for real - people cannot look away. Don't make this gladiatorial contest dull by choosing Davis, MP's. He hasn't a hope in hell with either Conservative members or the public. He's all about 'me'. The Tory attitudes everyone hates. Pick Fox. Let the show roll on. The public are hungry for Conservatives once again but only if the show keeps them on the edge of their seats. The cricket's over now, but this will be an excellent replacement to keep everyone entertained til Decem,ber. What else can we find to fill the long dark winter evenings. Come on Tory MP's. Give us some fun for once. Pick Foxy. And get down the bookies!

James Maskell

I doubt any candidate will pull out. I find the idea of a "coronation" unlikely at worst. I fear the media's jumping the gun over this one.

appears to be launching today.
Leach - Hickman (supports Cameron) - O'Brien (supports Davis).

James Hellyer

With the public Fox is far closer to Cameron - even with nil publicity

Which only makes me wonder how well he could do if the press lost their excuse to sideline him.

Tim Roll-Pickering

A Davis-Cameron contest in the country could be just what the party needs. It would be the moment the party shows that it rejects arrogance and hard line policies. Who better to be the flag bearer for all the public dislikes about the party than Davis?

James Hellyer

Rejects arrogance? So Cameron would lose! ;=)


Can you explain, Editor, why you believe the third placed candidate has the right to re-enter the contest? The relevant part of the Party Constitution states "The rules for deciding the procedure by which the 1922 Committee selects candidates for submission for election [by the membership] shall be determined by the Executive Committee of the 1922 Committee after consultation with the Board." Has any set of rules been published? If not then they could make it up as they go along!

James, do you know if support has significantly shifted over the past day from Davis to Fox? I thought it would, but the media say not.

Tim Roll-Pickering

I recall in 2001 there was an attempt to get Portillo reinstated (not by the man himself) that argued this point. I know that contest did see a rewriting of the rules (adding the silly procedure for resolving a tie) but this really would be clutching at straws.

James Hellyer

Can you explain, Editor, why you believe the third placed candidate has the right to re-enter the contest?

In 2001, Sir Michael Spice received legal advice indicating that he could submit three names to the country. He declined to do so. However, I believe the circumstances under discussion, in which the third place candidate could re-enter the contest, are those where the second placed candidate withdraws.


Tom, that's a good point - the members massively rejecting Davis could be the Party's Clause 4 moment.


In tonight's Evening Standard, Liam Fox admits to having a gay past. Note to Ed - call the Fox HQ to check the veracity of my info.before removing this truthful post.


Gordon: I think he hasn't answered questions on his past. I'm not sure he's admitted to anything. No more posts on this please until we have clarity.

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