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Wednesday, 22 August, 2001, 10:33 GMT 11:33 UK
Head-to-head: Tory leadership
Iain Duncan Smith and Ken Clarke
The new leader will be announced on 12 September
With ballot papers for the Conservative leadership election arriving on the doormats of the 300,000 party members, supporters of the two rival camps tell BBC News Online why they are supporting their chosen candidate.

Toby Beresford, 27, lives in Battersea, London and is a Conservative councillor in Wandsworth. He is backing Ken Clarke.

Martin Vickers, 50, supports Iain Duncan Smith. He lives in Grimsby, North East Lincolnshire and is deputy chairman of the town's Conservative association, as well as a Tory member of North East Lincolnshire Council.


Why I support Ken Clarke

By Toby Beresford

The unmentionable backdrop to this leadership contest is that the Tory party will not win the next election.

We must consider a two term strategy. First we must become credible, then we might think about winning.

To become credible we need a leader who can appeal to a wider electorate; someone who will swell our ranks with fresh support. After all, a party with an average age of 65 is a demographic time bomb.

The party needs change. We need new visions. Shoots of hope are emerging, ranging from Portillist liberalism to Duncan-Smith boot camp family values.

Ken Clarke, former Chancellor and leadership challenger
Ken Clarke: A true professional
Yet these are unready and untested. Indeed, is a decision needed today? A political party must be a broad church to gain a majority.

We must choose a leader who will let the Conservative party nurture its future prospects without personal zeal to get in the way.

Clarke is too experienced a politician to muddy the waters. His slightly scruffy jazz look beguiles plain speaking that we have lacked since Major.

Out of power the Tories need a man who can generate raw media noise. Make no mistake, Clarke is heavy crash metal to Duncan-Smith's easy listening folk music.

Just look at his own career: he has steered clear of the limelight for almost half a decade and yet now all eyes are back on him - the work of a true professional.

In fact, it is just this same trick that he needs to pull for the Conservative party as a whole.


Why I want Iain Duncan Smith as leader

By Martin Vickers

When the next general election comes the Conservatives must offer a distinctive alternative to what, by then, will be a rather tired looking Labour administration.

After a heavy defeat it is easy to assume that we must model ourselves on the opponents by whom we have just been defeated.

If we adopt that course we are sure to lose again.

If the Labour Government were to succeed in remodelling the NHS, raising our education standards and providing a first-class transport system then they would surely be re-elected.

For what reasons would the public opt for a group of untried, unknown opposition members when what they already have were delivering the goods? None at all.

The fact is, of course, that the Labour government will not deliver on health, education and transport. They didn't in their first term so why should we expect them to this time round.

Iain Duncan Smith, shadow defence secretary and contender for the Conservative crown
Duncan Smith: "Given most thought to radical plans"
I saw the two contenders at a hustings meeting in London last month and it was clear that Iain Duncan-Smith was the one who had given most thought to credible and radical proposals for health, education and welfare reform based on long-established Conservative principles.

We cannot brush the European issue aside assuming that the single currency is the only aspect of note.

Week-by-week Parliament is debating matters that have a European perspective - it is self-evident that we cannot have a leader who disagrees with, not only two-thirds of the parliamentary party, but two-thirds of the electorate.

What would be the position if Tony Blair took an uncharacteristically bold decision and called a referendum on the single currency, campaigned to join and was beaten?

He and his Government would be totally discredited but how would the Conservative Party be able to take advantage of this when its leader had campaigned alongside Mr Blair?

This election will be a watershed for the Conservative Party I hope that the membership will respond by electing Iain Duncan Smith who, I am certain, has the vision to take us forward and to lead us back into power.


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20 Aug 01 | UK Politics
Fight for the faithful
20 Aug 01 | UK Politics
Tory leadership ballot begins
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