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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 August 2005, 13:21 GMT 14:21 UK
Rifkind unveils leadership team
Sir Malcolm Rifkind
Sir Malcolm was foreign secretary under John Major
Sir Malcolm Rifkind has unveiled his campaign team for his bid to become Conservative Party leader.

Supporters include two MPs who formerly backed rival Ken Clarke - Peter Bottomley and Jacqui Lait - as well as Crispin Blunt and Andrew Pelling.

The race to replace Michael Howard has now moved up a gear with ex-chancellor Mr Clarke confirming his candidature.

Both men are part of the One Nation wing of their party but Sir Malcolm stressed his anti-euro credentials.

Right man?

Mr Clarke had been an enthusiast for the single currency - a fact that is widely seen as undermining previous leadership bids - although he has now ruled out UK membership of the euro for a decade.

Ms Lait declared that ex-foreign secretary Sir Malcolm was the right man for the job and had the ability to win the next election.

"I think he is the best man. He is used to working with all parts of the parliamentary party and has the ability to unite them and move forward to challenge Tony Blair and Gordon Brown."

Sir Malcolm said he believed the Tories should have a "choice of candidate" from the One Nation camp.

Aides say the four MPs in the campaign team are just part of Sir Malcolm's support and that he has other backers who will come forward at a later date.



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