[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 21 October 2005, 07:37 GMT 08:37 UK
Who should be the next Tory leader?
David Cameron faces press outside Parliament
Who do you think will be best to lead the Conservative Party?

The two remaining contenders for the Tory leadership will now compete in a nationwide poll of 300,000 Conservative Party members.

David Cameron and David Davis go into the ballot following the elimination of Dr Liam Fox on Thursday, and Ken Clarke on Tuesday.

Over the next six weeks the leadership hopefuls will try to win over the party grassroots, with the final vote result due on 6 December.

Who has impressed you the most? Have personal interest stories helped the candidates and their party? Who should lead the Tories? Send us your comments.

This debate is now closed. Please read a selection of your comments below.


The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

SUGGEST A DEBATE
This topic was suggested by Graham Shelton, England UK
What would be your advice to the Parliamentary Conservative Party as they choose their new leader and the next potential Prime Minister of Great Britain?

A positive, inclusive, socially concerned and pro-people Tory party led by a personable, decent and bright young man? Can this be possible? Labour voters must be cursing Cameron in their sleep.
David, Leicester, UK

A loss to the leadership race-Liam Fox, with his experience as a doctor and his time in parliament could have applied the tax cuts in a socially compassionate way, reaching out to those voters who are supporting the psuedo-conservatives under Tony Blair.
Ali Johnston, Romsey

Why not put both candidates up for PMQs and see their Commons performance against Tony Blair?
Simon Price, Newport, S. Wales

I am amazed that so many people are interested in this farce. It will make absolutely no difference who wins as the Tory party no longer knows what it stands for. I would dearly love an effective alternative to Blair but sadly it's not going to come from the Tory party.
Peter Clarke, Cardiff, Wales

It's about time the Tories stopped living in the past and are brought into the 21st century
Lee, Plymouth, UK
As a young Tory voter I feel that David Cameron is the only person that can possibly take the party forward. It's about time the Tories stopped living in the past and are brought into the 21st century.
Lee, Plymouth, UK

It appears that at last Tory has found a charismatic leader of the calibre of Tony Blair of Labour party in 1997.
Vijay K Vijayaratnam, Croydon, UK

Cameron and Fox were the breaths of fresh air and the ways forward. I know not one party member who likes Davis.
Conservative Councillor, UK

Whilst I'm very glad Cameron has made such a lot of headway, it seems somewhat churlish for all the media to remark on 'how far ahead he is'. Surely, 90% of Fox's backers would have gone to Davis, leaving a very different picture for the Conservative members, with Davis perhaps even edging the Parliamentary vote between him and Cameron.
JFH, London

None of the candidates going forward have a hope of leading the Conservatives into government at the next election. This looks to be a caretaker post until the Conservative party dissolves. Both Labour and Liberal Democrat members must be delighted with the outcome.
RB, Newcastle, Tyne and Wear

So David Cameron represents a 'generation change' for the Tory's does he? Well, in 1997 we heard the same of Mr Hague. In fact Hague was younger then than Cameron is now. Cameron is merely Hague with hair. Cameron's shine will fade fast when he's exposed at the despatch box. He's no more than a pretty face.
Andrew, Wells, UK

Cameron's proposed Chancellor is George Osborne, a man with utterly deranged tax plans (even the right-wing 'Spectator' magazine says they're barking mad). The one thing we've yet to hear is Cameron's policies, and for good reason - they're lunatic. Anybody but Cameron I'd say!
John, London UK

It is obvious that Cameron will win as the Tories are only trying to copy the Labour winning formula by getting a younger man to do the job. I do not think it will make any difference. I can not see a Tory government in the foreseeable future.
Roger, Huntingdon, Cambs

Cameron seems capable of winning hearts and minds, but very vague on policy. However, the Tories have actually developed a hatful of excellent policies already; their failure has been in persuading people to like them. So I think Cameron is probably the right choice. I agree with Liam Fox on almost 100% of what he says, but I am not sure his (and my) opinions are electable at the moment, so I suppose it is well that he has been eliminated.
Neil, London

Despite his average speech at conference, David Davis is the only man who can lead the party to victory at the next election. I fear that with Cameron it will just be more of the same of what the present government are offering with a few modifications here and there. Davis has a vision that many of the British public can relate to and his straight talking, no nonsense style can win them over.
Anton Muszanskyj, York, England

What a breath of fresh air - he's got my vote already. I've always voted Labour, but if David Cameron wins the ballot for Leader, I would definitely change my allegiance - would even join the Conservative Party and take an active interest in politics. Keep up the good work David C!
Joy Brewster, Uppingham, Oakham, UK

Cameron is just another Blair, he never answers the question. It's time for a change, it's time for honesty and someone who wants the best for the country, not just their career. Davis all the way!
Rebecca, Potters Bar

I am appalled. Liam Fox was the only principled candidate with a modern alternative and now he is out. Labour are rubbing their hands at the prospect of uncharismatic Davis or Cameron, who makes Peter Mandleson look principled. British Conservatism died today.
Tim Aker, Nottingham

More of the same with "no charisma " Davis. More of "Blair" with Cameron. I'm interested to see what they have to offer business, the powerhouse of the economy, which for both appears not to be PC subject.
Eugenio Leijten, Somerton, Somerset

The actual answer is Boris Johnson, if the Tories ever want to regain government!
Joost Hartog, Penrhyn Bay, UK

It is obvious that Cameron will win as the tories are only trying to copy the Labour winning formula by getting a younger man to do the job. I do not think it will make any difference. I can not see a tory government in the forseeable future.
Roger, Huntingdon, Cambs

Cameron seems capable of winning hearts and minds, but very vague on policy
Neil, London
Cameron seems capable of winning hearts and minds, but very vague on policy. However, the Tories have actually developed a hatful of excellent policies already; their failure has been in persuading people to like them. So I think Cameron is probably the right choice. I agree with Liam Fox on almost 100% of what he says, but I am not sure his (and my) opinions are electable at the moment, so I suppose it is well that he has been eliminated.
Neil, London

Despite his average speech at conference, David Davis is the only man who can lead the party to victory at the next election. I fear that with Cameron it will just be more of the same of what the present government are offering with a few modifications here and there. Davis has a vision that many of the British public can relate to and his straight talking, no nonsense style can win them over.
Anton Muszanskyj, York, England

Results of second ballot: Cameron: 90; not-Cameron: 108
Steve, London

It has got to be Cameron, although I must say Davis was my first choice. Purely because Cameron is so confident and impressive on camera. It could be the winning formula for the Tories.
Susan Coppin, Dudley, England

As an ex-Tory voter looking for some signs of recovery to the party, neither candidate appeals. Davis appears out of touch, Cameron might find that his refusal to answer questions on drugs use will catch-up with him eventually...
Mike Smith, Newmarket

The time has come for new life to be given to the Conservative party, and I strongly believe that David Cameron is the right man to do this.
Jason Smith, Worthing, West Sussex

I'm the same age as Cameron, but consider that I have a more rounded view of the UK today. Cameron is a career politician, this isn't good, his election will consign the Tories to a further ten years in the wilderness.
Alan Vear, Kent

Does anyone really know anything about David Cameron's policies - we know he is young and inexperienced but what does he actually believe in?
Bryan Tomalin, Guildford

Never send a man to do a woman's job!
Abigail Irving, London, UK
Never send a man to do a woman's job! None of these dull men can win back the middle ground of the UK. The Tories really need another Thatcher but continue to block the path for talented women. They deserve the leader they chose.
Abigail Irving, London, UK

So it's Cameron and Davis. While Cameron describes himself as a moderniser, but what exactly does that mean and what does he precisely stand for? I wonder whether the country really wants what so often is described as modern in 21st Century Britain. Certain values and principles remain the same whatever the century.
Dave, Reading

Liam Fox has just been voted out. I feel that was the right choice. I feel David Cameron will be and should be the next Tory leader if they want a chance of regaining power from the other Tory party in power, oops, sorry, meant New Labour! On a minor issue how can David Davis say he is Eurosceptic when it was he who pushed the Maastricht Treaty through parliament? David Cameron may be young but I feel that he draws people to him and people are willing to listen to what he has to say and this can only be a good thing.
Ryan Newell, Southampton

I do hope Cameron wins the final vote. He is by far the best choice.
Marie Mansfield, Oxford, UK

Sad Dr Liam Fox did not make it to final round. David Cameron has a big baggage - drug usage and that will always haunt him and the Conservative party. In the interest of long term leadership the party members should opt for David Davies.
V S Mani, Chalfont St Peter, UK

I am disgusted that Dr Liam Fox has been ousted, he was the only decent one.
Aaron wood, Edgware, Middlesex

David Cameron... shows that the Conservatives are not completely inflexible
Gene, Manchester
If the Tory party wants to win an election, it should stop promoting only the people its cabinet wishes to support and instead look for what the people want. David Cameron is clearly a step away from "traditional" Tory and that is - in many ways - good. It shows that the Conservatives are not completely inflexible.
Gene, Manchester

David Cameron. He looks and sounds like a man who can lead not only the Conservative Party but the country. I predict that he will become Prime Minister at the next election!
Suzanne Rabey, Tisbury, UK

I have been most impressed by David Cameron, he a fresh face with new ideas. Why do they even need to vote as a party, can they not see he is the only choice. As a 30-year-old male, white, non voter, nobody has been really interested in my vote. The way David talks about himself and political issues has got my interest, with many others I am sure. I am confident he could win an election and lead a new generation of voters.
Jeremy, Oxford

David Cameron is our local MP and would make an excellent Tory leader
Tessa Anderson, Witney, Oxfordshire
David Cameron is our local MP and would make an excellent Tory leader. He is compassionate and cares about local issues. He may have had a joint or two at university and known a heroin addict but in my opinion that only makes him a better candidate as he doesn't shy away from the real problems.
Tessa Anderson, Witney, Oxfordshire

If David Davis gets it, I'm not voting Tory. Clarke was the man for the job - and to all those who rubbish the idea that he could appeal to young as well as old - I'm 18. I
Anon

For the Tories' sake, I hope they vote for Cameron because he suits the current image of a modern Prime Minister, just as Blair did when he came to power. Davis is too much like Hague and Fox is like Major. To win the next election they have to realise that image is everything in this vacuous age.
Narah, London, UK

If the contest goes to the party membership I would vote for Cameron because he stands for values which are attractive to modern Britain. Ethnic minorities such as myself have felt excluded from the Tories thus far but Cameron makes me feel that British-Indians can contribute to modern Britain and can do so without New Labour.
Girish, London

If a Scot who went to Fettes and Oxford is fit to lead the Labour Party, why isn't an Englishman who went to Eton and Oxford fir to lead the Conservative Party?
Tom, London

I cannot believe how many people on here think that a 38-year-old Etonian is going to connect with the man in the street. Haven't the Tory party learnt yet that it's not Tory voters that you have to convince, its the people that previously voted Labour and Lib Dem you have to win over! Clarke or Davis are the only ones capable of that.
Peter Howe, Milton Keynes, England

2009. The general election, four years of tax rises due to over optimistic economic growth, an ageing socialist leader whose core beliefs are stuck in the 1970's verses a young energetic centre right Tory leader. The Labour ranks must be very worried about the prospect of facing a Cameron-Osbourne alliance.
Andy, Windsor

David Cameron will be a puppet for the old brigade and if he doesn't comply he will go the same way as IDS. Blair and Brown will fry him at the despatch box
Azhar , Brierfield,Lancashire

Cameron in three or four years' time will be irresistible!
Richard, Chesterfield
I was initially disappointed at Clarke's elimination as I thought he had the experience to expose the folly of Blair and Brown, but now it has to be Cameron. He is an inspiration and I hope he wins convincingly in order to unite the party behind him. My only worry is that this opportunity will come too early for him. Cameron in three or four years' time will be irresistible!
Richard, Chesterfield

David Cameron's campaign has been nothing less than brilliant putting himself up as a man who can actually win elections rather than just get given the role as leader by default which is probably how David Davis looked to be getting the position. But with Liam Fox, Michael Ancram, David Davis, Theresa May, Oliver Letwin and Malcolm Rifkind (and if they could get Ken Clarke on board) the Tories would have a better front bench than Labour. (Prescott, Reid, Lord Falconer and Charles Clarke are a sorry excuse for cabinet ministers).
Chris Marchment, Leeds, England

Why the carping about Cameron being an old Etonian? A privileged education was no bar to Blair's leadership. Under Cameron the Tories have an opportunity to present a refreshing challenge to this hackneyed Labour government
Ian, Stockton

Much of Blair's success in 1997 was due to his TV image; he looked young, dynamic and energetic. Cameron resembles Tories of old; elitist, public school-educated and utterly unaware of a world outside his narrow limits. His public relations team have clearly not considered how much TV images matter in politics these days.
J Keane, Kilbarchan, Scotland

We need a younger leader and David Cameron fits the bill. We cannot afford to have someone like David Davis. Liam Fox is a credible person but not strong enough to take on Blair, also a bit to right wing for this day and age.
Sandra Gilfillan, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Use your loaf. Do we still want Old Etonians to rule us? David Davis has the education not only of university, but of hardships. He is also the only current member of the ruling class to have done voluntary military service (Special Forces shows backbone).
Irene, Chingford

What is the New Big Tory Idea which will sweep them in by their millions?
Tony Lark, Neung sur Beuvron, France
Seen from over here, the Tories are in the same pit as the French Socialists - the incumbent government is unpopular but in the opposing camp they're too occupied with changing the wallpaper (i.e.: leadership contests) than in finding alternatives. Please excuse my French ignorance but what is the New Big Tory Idea which will sweep them in by their millions? Looks like another ten years Labour to me. Dangerous for a government to feel there is no strong opposition.
Tony Lark, Neung sur Beuvron, France

It's been said here before, but who ever does win really needs to come up trumps to unite all parts of the party together as one. This will only happen if the Tories really want to win the next election, if not they could be come the third party in British politics!
Bert, Balham, London

If they want a load of toffs to vote for them then any of the three current candidates will do. If they want the vote of the common man then they should elect Boris Johnson. He might have made mistakes, but at least people see him as an equal.
Nathan Hobbs, Luton, UK

I would love Dr Liam Fox to be the next Conservative leader. He has radio experience and would have a great media campaign.
Robert Poulton, Bexleyheath, England

Why should the fact that Cameron went to Eton be seen as a negative? Eton is one of the best schools in the world, let alone the country. A good education should be seen as a pre-requisite for a prospective Prime Minister not a hindrance.
Christian, London

We need a shiny new Conservative Party to reinvigorate our politics
PJ, Newport, UK
Ken Clarke is a throwback to the old conservative party. To have elected him leader would have been a disaster and set them back five years - sure he may have given Blair a few scares, but long term, he is not the right choice. David Cameron is the man to bring them out of the wilderness. He has youth on his side, possesses all the qualities that a modern political leader should and carries no baggage from the previous conservative government. The Tories need to stop banging on about who can win the next election and realise that they need to engage the voters with something totally fresh. New Labour is beginning to smell a bit stale and we need a shiny new Conservative Party to reinvigorate our politics not a regurgitation of the old one.
PJ, Newport, UK

I'm backing Cameron in this contest, since I am impressed by his vision, intelligence and charisma. He is just the tonic the Tory Party needs to get it back on his feet. However, I would also like to see Fox make the final two, as this would give Cameron a real contest for the support of the party membership and a real chance to prove himself, whilst Davis would just be a walk-over. To those who berate the Tories for not choosing Clarke I say this: If Clarke could not even win the support of a fifth of Tory MPs, how could he ever have been expected to win a general election for the Conservative Party?
Steve, London, UK

I'm physically allergic to voting Tory (miner's son) but for a strong opposition I'd go for Cameron
Mark Lewis, Manchester

So the eventual new leader will lose the next general election and the process will start all over again in four to five years' time. After the mess they left the country in last time lets hope they never are in power again.
Neil, Runcorn, Cheshire

I agree - come back Boris, all is forgiven!
James Vincent, London

Maggie Thatcher - bring her back - she might be 80 but she's still made of iron. That party needs smacking with a wet kipper and she's the one to do it!
OJ, Hampshire

None of the above [x]. Maggie Thatcher was a woman who would not allow any competition with her leadership. As a result a whole generation of up-and-coming conservative leadership was eliminated or went elsewhere. It'll be a while, I fear, before they have a leader worth voting for.
Robin, Chatteris

It doesn't make much difference now. The best man for the job has already gone. Straight talking is what the Conservatives need to win back the public's confidence, and his rejection resigns the party to have a tidal wave of evasive answers stifle honesty for the foreseeable future.
Paul Hartley, Nottingham, UK

I think David Cameron is the best choice, he is young, enthusiastic and determined, just the right qualities to lead the Conservatives into the next election.
Lynda, N. Ireland

The old school network has cracked the whip once again to get an obedient leader
Mark, Manchester
It is impossible for the Tories to be reformed by a young man against the older brigade like Blair did with Labour. Hague and IDS found this very quickly, becoming puppets on a string. The only person that the old school fears is Davis. He is the right age, blend of experience and necessary personality appeal. Davis is the only one that can and will shake the party to its roots. Come on David. Unfortunately it seems that the old school network has cracked the whip once again to get an obedient leader. The Tory machine has worked against him before when he was ousted as party chairman and in previous leadership elections.
Mark, Manchester

David Cameron seems to be the Tories choice mainly because no-one knows anything about him - I assume everyone hopes he thinks like them! Really not a very good rationale to choose a leader; why not pick out of a hat?
James Savill, Norwich

I am impressed by David Cameron and Liam Fox but am afraid my vote would be for David Cameron as we have enough Scottish politicians running the country already - I don't relish the thought of another Scotsman being PM after Gordon Brown...
J Covey, Manchester

The Conservatives have lost so much ground in recent years because of a consistent and unshakable desire to move to the "populist" right in an attempt to grab short term and unsustainable bumps in the opinion polls. David Cameron is the only candidate that appears to understand that and therefore the only one who is unlikely to repeat those past mistakes. Equally previous Conservative leaders have suffered from a low public profile as it takes time for the public to get to know, and crucially, trust them. I believe that the Tories should think strategically and pick a leader who is young enough to, if necessary, fight not just one but two General Elections.
James Norman, York

Cameron - especially given the poor Labour opposition
Sarah Sherman, London, UK
I never would have contemplated ever voting Tory, but I would seriously consider voting for David Cameron - especially given the poor Labour opposition. I loathe Tony.
Sarah Sherman, London, UK

Does Davis really think he can win the vote of the common person by continually saying that he was brought up on a council estate? This is not what the electorate what to know. They want to know what he is going to do for families who work their hardest but don't get far in life. I should know as I have had this exact upbringing and if Davis thinks that he can win the support of first time voters like me in the next general election by repeating he was brought up on a council mistake he is in for a great shock.
Vicky Hill, Lincoln, England

Cameron picking up 10 from Clarke - What are the odds on 66 each?
Glyn, Sheffiled

David Cameron is clearly the only contender who can appeal outside of the Conservative core supporters thereby winning the next election and so therefore he is my choice for leader since I want to see the end of the appalling New Labour fiasco.
Matt Davis, London, UK

I doubt any of the candidates at present have the ability to remove Labour from government. Cameron however would be the one I would choose out of the three remaining candidates, the only problem is if he does get the job and looses the next election. What then for the conservatives?
J Clarke, Bristol, UK

Liam Fox seems to be a good candidate. His policies are informative and also compassionate and social. He knows enough about the secret corridors of power in Europe, which Britain is often ignorant about; as a doctor, he has a concern for the issues that face society, and the consequences of our so called 'liberal' society; and he seems to be concerned more about the politics rather than winning through charisma and character.
James Suddrey, Luton

Let's face it; the Tory party is irrelevant in today's politics. I thought the leadership selection process was needlessly longwinded but I realise now it's their only way of getting some front page coverage these days.
Brian, Bognor Regis, W. Sussex

If Peter Howe of Milton Keynes thinks Cameron is a toff, what does he think Tony Blair is?
David R Frost, London, England

The race reveals that the Conservative divisiveness disease is still rampant. Everyman for himself prevails. Notice the complete absence of any new ideas. The whole campaign is on personality and perception of individual appeal potential. Based on these superficial criteria, Mr Cameron seems the best fit.
Charles, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Liam Fox... will give the public an alternative to Blair
Sarah Marshall, High Wycombe
I think Liam Fox is the best one for the job he is a good speaker and has experience of having been in the shadow cabinet under Hague, Duncan-Smith and Howard. If he gets it he will give the public an alternative to Blair.
Sarah Marshall, High Wycombe

It looks like a shoe-in for Cameron and that is no bad thing. Another good thing is that the Tories uphold the principle of democracy in their elections by letting MP's and party members vote. Come on Tony, lets see the Labour Party do likewise, instead of having a small clique sitting in smoke filled (sorry smoke free) rooms deciding what's best.
James , Bucks, UK

Boris Johnson, Without a doubt!
Amanda, St Andrews Fife

I've never voted Tory, but I've always been on the fence. If the next election is between Mr Cameron and Mr Brown then I'll be ticking the box for the Conservatives for the very first time.
Christine, UK

(I'm sure Dr Fox would agree with this comment :) The reason why the Tories have been in a mess over Europe over the last ten years has been Ken Clarke - the foreign body in the wound, so to speak. Now that this source of infection has been treated (rejected) 3 times, perhaps this wound can now finally heal and the Tories can be allowed to speak with one voice, moderately Eurosceptic and pro-Britain.
AP, Newport, Wales

We've had one vote and some fairly scientific polling amongst the membership. Why drag it out? Surely the three surviving candidates should just sit down like grown-ups and agree the new Team.
Jonathan Purle, Bromley, UK

As a Labour voter, we need some decent opposition. The only way to get that is to have someone who has no connection with the previous Tory government, therefore David Cameron would be the ideal candidate.
Anon

I'm unlikely to ever vote Conservative but after seeing just a brief clip of each of three remaining candidates only one of them came across as a 'normal' person and that was Liam Fox.
Max, Bath, Somerset

I voted Lib Dem because of their stance on Iraq
Julian, London
My political migration is nearly complete. Having backed the Tories for fifteen years, this year I voted Lib Dem because of their stance on Iraq. Now that I am faced with three pro-Atlanticist potential Tory leaders, Gordon Brown looks like an attractive option at the next election. I shall be voting Labour whoever leads the Tories now.
Julian, London

How is this leadership contest any different from the previous contests? Now Kenneth Clarke is out, we have three more candidates relatively unknown in the public eye. I myself can still not match names to faces despite the TV coverage this has had the past month. Until the Lib Dems or Tories manage to promote there shadow cabinet the way Labour used to they are not going to gain popular support and traction with the public.
Jamie Caffrey, Southampton

I despair that people really care that one candidate or another is an Old Etonian. That's out of order, and is really irrelevant to the debate about who should be leader and whether or not they would be the next pm. Those people are naive in the extreme. Ken Clarke wouldn't have won the next general election as leader of the Conservative Party, Tony Blair and Co, would've had a field day when talking about his past. I think that Cameron should be leader (even though Davis is my local MP). At least then, Blair will have to change tack from talking about when the Tories were last in power, because he's older than Cameron is, and Cameron wasn't around then. Ken Clarke should be heavily involved in Shadow Cabinet though.
Oliver Drew, Howden, England

Among my non-Conservative colleagues Cameron is the person they view as the best of a strong field of candidates. They are baffled by the claim that Clarke appealed to the 'ordinary' man and they view Davies as too old. The selection of Cameron as leader and the demise of Gordon Brown's facade hiding the real state of the UK economy will ensure a Conservative victory at the next general election.
Jeff, Halesowen, UK

IDS, Hague and now Cameron, all peas from the same unelectable pod. Do the Tories really believe that the average man in the street is going to vote for the old Etonian Toff? They must be totally stupid!
Peter Howe, Milton Keynes, England

I hear we are heading for a complete u-turn in policy and again not putting candidates to a vote of the membership. I-turn, u-turn, all Tories turn; and they are not even in government!
Bill , Telford, England

I couldn't care less who wins the leadership battle. What is more important is policies along with a belief that for a change we can actually believe that the leopard of the Tory party of the recent past (1979 to 1987) has changed it spots for the better for the people of this country. I for one will take a lot of convincing.
Mike, Eastleigh





PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific