Howard’s cabal know this and the Mail On Sunday got hold of (trans. got given) their “secret list” drawn up by Conservative ‘kingmaker’ and former minister, Francis Maude, who triggered Iain Duncan Smith’s downfall and helped write Howard’s leadership speech. The list identifies 90 Tory MPs who Maude’s team believes can be relied on to rally round Howard in the event of a leadership challenge.
Maude and Howard’s Commons aide, Alistair Burt, are tasked with ensuring the 90 MPs carry on robotically backing him post-election. But 34 Right-wing MPs, including Davis and fellow leadership hopeful Liam Fox, the party co-chairman, are blacklisted under the heading ‘Forget’. The Stop Davis list is, according to the Mail, all about keeping Howard as leader long enough to allow him to make way for David Cameron.
Right-winger Davis, the product of a one-parent family, and Old Etonian Cameron are deadly enemies. The ‘Forget’ list includes Davis’s backers Derek Conway, Andrew Mitchell and Eric Forth. Others in the category are Right-wingers John Redwood, Ann Widdecombe and anti-EU MP Bill Cash.
Tory MPs listed as acting as ‘handlers’ for the modernisers are pro-EU MPs Stephen Dorrell, David Curry and Tory candidate Michael Gove, a Times journalist and biographer of Michael Portillo. Some truth perhaps in the germ of this story, but Guido suspects the machivellian hand of the Policy Exchange crowd in this story. Maude, Gove and some behind-the-scenes players in the Tory party use Policy Exchange as their base. A key problem for Cameron is that he is not really that popular with his fellow Tory MPs, who in any event will tell Howard and Davis what they want to hear.
By the way David, your website www.davidcameronmp.com will be illegal once the election is announced. You and dozens of other MPs with websites ending in mp are not permitted under electoral law to campaign as MPs.