Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The Court Of Inquisition

According to Conservative Leadership Blog:

'Last night a group of about twenty socially conservative MPs interviewed David Cameron, David Davis and Liam Fox about their leadership ambitions. Each candidate was asked a dozen or more questions in meetings that each lasted about fifty minutes. The minuted meeting was organised by MPs John Hayes and Edward Leigh.'

Apparently, it was felt that DD "went backwards", appearing resentful about answering the MPs' questions, and "thin-skinned" about criticism. Cameron didn't fare much better, apprearing to 'lack depth', and more 'a creation of the Times' than having real support. The winner was Doc Fox, 'described as “relaxed”, “funny”, “coherent” and “intellectually interesting”... "impressive".

So the obvious question is who are these twenty self-appointed inquisitors?

Alas, TLB don't tell us. But apart from Leigh and Hayes, we wonder how many of the following are included:

Angela Browning, Jonathan Djanogly, Julian Brazier, William Cash, Christopher Chope, Michael Fallon, Mark Francois, John Hayes, Gerald Howarth, Bernard Jenkin, Edward Leigh, Dr Julian Lewis, Patrick Mercer, Owen Paterson, Eric Pickles, Laurence Robertson, Andrew Rosindell, Andrew Selous, Richard Shepherd, Mark Simmonds, Desmond Swayne, Sir Peter Tapsell, Andrew Turner, Angela Watkinson, Bill Wiggin, Nicholas Winterton.

Who are they?

They're the original supporters of IDS when he launched his leadership bid in 2001 (ex 2005 departures).

And as we all know, the IDS camp somehow got it into their noddles that Our Man was plotting against him from Day One. So they dripped all sorts of poison into all sorts of ears- not to mention wells- including the idea that DD was a very ineffective/lazy chairman. An accusation which funnily enough resurfaced during yesterday's inquisition:

'Davis reacted angrily to suggestions that he was an undistinguished party chairman who had neglected his fundraising responsibilities. In this reaction he confirmed fears that he might be a harsh leader who would not listen to MPs’ views.'

Among these people are undoubtedly some of those who got poor old IDS so overwrought that he summarily sacked DD via a brief conversation in a US phonebox. Even David Brent wouldn't do that.

But what's past is past, and by going along to this grilling Davis was obviously holding out the hand of reconciliation and party unity. Recognising the need to make a fresh start.

It doesn't altogether sound like his trust was repaid.

PS I've just noticed another detail in the TLB report: 'David Cameron paid particularly strong tribute to Iain Duncan Smith’s one nation strategy.' Yes, I bet he did... although it doesn't sound like it was quite enough to get him the thumbs up.


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