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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 June, 2005, 18:02 GMT 19:02 UK
Kent MP could run for Tory leader
Damian Green
Damian Green boosted his majority in Ashford by more than 10%
A Kent MP has said he is "not ruling anything out" when it comes to the possibility of running in the Conservative leadership race.

Damian Green, who kept his Ashford seat at the 2005 general election, emerged as a potential candidate on Tuesday.

He was due to talk about modern Conservatism at the annual MacMillan lecture to the Tory Reform Group.

But Mr Green said it was "far too early" to decide if he will try to become Michael Howard's successor.

He said the Tories' outgoing leader, and fellow Kent MP, had been encouraging Conservatives to talk openly about the party's future.

"I'm not ruling anything out, but what I'm doing is expressing my views," said Mr Green.

It's far too early to decide anything like that
Damian Green

He thinks the names and faces for the Tory leadership contest are months away and believes the role of Leader of the Opposition is "more difficult than being Prime Minister".

"It will be hugely important, whoever the next leader is, that the Conservative Party has a set of attractive ideas.

"What I want to do is contribute to a debate... there are many of us who are trying to think of some new ideas of what modern Conservatism means and what it can do for the people of Britain."

Mr Green expressed his delight that those discussions were bringing One Nation Conservatism back into fashion.

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