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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 3 July, 2001, 20:42 GMT 21:42 UK
I am 'unity candidate' - Ancram
Michael Ancram
Mr Ancram believes he can unite the Tories
Michael Ancram has set out his stall for the Conservative Party leadership and insisted that he is only candidate that can unite the Tories.

Launching his campaign statement at a central London news conference the former Tory chairman insisted he was not a, but "the unity candidate".


I am the candidate in this election who can secure change without splitting the party in the process

Michael Ancram
Also speaking on Tuesday leadership rival Iain Duncan Smith challenged his fellow contenders to set out their policies on the euro after declaring himself against it on principle.

The other runners in the race to replace William Hague, Michael Portillo and Ken Clarke spent Tuesday in talks with MPs while David Davis accused other candidates of following his lead - and of lacking ideas of their own.

Ancram's deal on Europe

Mr Ancram said he would allow pro-Europeans to join his shadow cabinet.

Kenneth Clarke
Clarke: Not playing the numbers game
But they would be kept out of jobs, such as foreign secretary and chancellor, "which brought them straight up against the whole question of the single currency" and would have to stay quiet on the issue until a referendum.

"I am the candidate in this election who can secure change without splitting the party in the process," he said.

Mr Ancram said one of his first tasks would be to establish a permanent commission to "think the unthinkable as well as the obvious" on party policy - starting with the NHS.

Europe challenge

In his speech in London, Mr Duncan Smith urged the other contenders to show their colours on the Europe issue.

"In the last few days, the European issue has been reopened once again," he said.

Iain Duncan Smith
Duncan Smith: Reconnecting with business
"It is now incumbent on all the candidates to make their position clear, so that the party understands the nature of the leadership they offer on this issue."

Mr Duncan Smith said a Tory party led by him would be settled on the issue of Europe.

"It should be no surprise to anyone that I am opposed to entry into the euro in principle."

Mr Duncan Smith said he would accept people who did not share his views on Europe on his front bench.

But they would have to step down if they wanted to campaign for entry in a euro referendum.

Reform ideas

Using think tanks and backbenchers to formulate policy was an idea advocated by David Davis in a letter to Conservative MPs.

David Davis
Davis: Call for campaigning reform
He called for more effective grassroots campaigning, arguing that many frontline activists felt the party's central organisation could be "remote".

Mr Davis's campaign team also published a document highlighting some of his quotes, contrasting them with remarks by Mr Portillo and Mr Duncan Smith, and asking: "Don't they have any ideas of their own?"

"It is clear that David is leading this debate and that he is the candidate who is advancing policy and ideas," said a spokesman.

Furious speculation

There have been reports that Mr Duncan Smith is gaining ground at the expense of former chancellor Ken Clarke.

A spokesman for Mr Clarke said: "His campaign is not participating in the numbers game and the intense and furious speculation about the support from members of parliament.

Michael Portillo
Portillo: Spending Tuesday talking to MPs
"We continue to talk to MPs and will wait for the final ballot to prove the extent of each candidate's support."

Like Mr Clarke, shadow chancellor Michael Portillo spent much of the day meeting MPs.

The 166 Conservative MPs will vote in the first round of the leadership contest next Tuesday.

It is expected that the field of candidates will be reduced to the final two by mid-July.

The last two names will then go forward to a ballot of all the party's 300,000 members.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Andrew Marr
"Anyone who says they know the winner of the contest is either a fool or a liar"
The BBC's John Pienaar
"Internal Tory elections tend to be unpredictable"
Michael Ancram
speaking at his manifesto launch for the leadership campaign
Michael Ancram
"As a divided party we will never win elections and the first thing we must do is unite"

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The final two

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See also:

01 Jul 01 | UK Politics
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27 Jun 01 | UK Politics
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28 Jun 01 | UK Politics
27 Jun 01 | UK Politics

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