Sunday Rumour Mill

The Howard reforms to the Tory leadership selection rules are, it is being widely suggested, designed to block David Davis taking the job. Originally designed by Hague to stop Ken Clarke by ensuring the right-wing party base would veto anyone from the pro-Euro wing, they are now trying to reverse engineer the process. Imagine if the party members voted for Redwood – got the problem?

Some mutterings about that Davis might be tempted to force the election under the present system. Dr Fox will make his pitch on Tuesday at Politeia, (Guido will be there). Redwood has not ruled himself out and is trying to soften his image by wearing open necked shirts – forget him. Ancram doesn’t seem to understand that he has not got the slightest hope. Rifkind is canvassing the patrician left. Tim Yeo, like Rifkind, is popular with non-Tories, BBC producers and writers for the Guardian and Indy – ignore them completely, they are the leaders non-Tories want. Alan Duncan is being encouraged to throw his hat in the ring, not because he will win, but as the standard bearer for the libertarian, modernising wing. It will also ensure he raises his standing in the party and guarantee him a senior Shadow Cabinet position. He has all the TV media savvy of the Notting Hill set’s skip-a-generation pair of Osborne and Cameron

Things to watch – who is Lord Saatchi advising? Who will the Sunday and Daily Torygraphs back and who will Boris back at the Speccy. This is the real media battlefield for the soul of the Conservative Party. Will the Barclay brothers therefore have an effective veto on the Tory leadership? Conservative Way Forward is the main organising group for the Thatcherite faction in the party, who they endorse and organise behind at grassroots is crucial – officially or unofficially.




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