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EDITIONS
Thursday, 10 October, 2002, 10:14 GMT 11:14 UK
Playing the name game
Time to embrace a name change?

The party is trying to recover from defeat at the polls.


If we are still the Conservative party, we should be open about the fundamental nature of our reform of the party

Andrew Lansley
Its new leader is looking to assert his authority and begin the long road to renewal by reforming his party.

So what does he do?

Well when Tony Blair was in a similar position, Labour was reborn as New Labour.

So should the Conservatives do the same?

The issue has circulated on the edges of the party ever since its last crushing election defeat.

And for some, the need is now all the more urgent as the Tories seek to lose their "unattractive" and "nasty" image.

The idea of name change has emerged again during the party conference in Bournemouth, with one leading moderniser suggesting it should become Reform Conservatives.

Changing

Andrew Lansley, the MP for South Cambridgeshire, who hails from the Portillo wing of the party, made the suggestion in an article this week.

He wrote in the Guardian: "In order better to represent the nature of the Conservative philosophy and the people we are, we should no longer describe ourselves as the Tory party.

"That may now be anachronistic. We should recognise that we are still Conservatives but changing, renewing, reforming - literally re-forming our party so that we can reform Britain.

"If we are still the Conservative party, we should be open about the fundamental nature of our reform of the party. We should describe ourselves as Reform Conservatives."

Red tape

He said it would help distinguish the party's "positive philosophy" from "Lab-Lib socialism".

"We can be more confident in attacking Labour's failure to deliver, which results from lack of reform, and every time Labour speaks of reform it still means the tying down of services by red tape, like Gulliver tied down by Lilliputians," he said.

But the idea has not won favour with the party leadership.

In an interview for BBC News Online this week, Tory chairman Theresa May was sceptical about the idea.

Asked if the party should follow Labour's example and change its name to New Conservatives, she said: "I'm not in the business of that sort of name change but I hope people will see from what we're saying and indeed how we're approaching our politics that it is a party that is changing."

And party leader Iain Duncan Smith has described such a move as a gimmick.

Do you think the Conservatives should change their name? What are your suggestions? Send us your views using the form below.

Have your say As a member of the Conservative party for nine years, I think we should live up to our name. We should conserve it for better times in the future and focus on policy. Root and branch change is needed, not superficial nonsense!
Andrew Jones, England


The product is just the same

Andrew Pawley, UK
The Conservatives' problem is not their name - it's their policies and people. They can change the packaging but the product is just the same - unpleasant, backward-looking nationalism.
Andrew Pawley, UK

Maybe they should change their name to Dodos-R-us
Vincent Barreto, UK

Royal Mail changed to Consignia and look what happened. It's the substance that matters not the name.
Richard, UK

How about Conservative Party R.I.P.?
Gareth, UK

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Disclaimer: The BBC will put up as many of your comments as possible but we cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published. The BBC reserves the right to edit comments that are published.

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