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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 October 2005, 09:27 GMT 10:27 UK
Tory hopefuls: Conference verdict
BBC News Website political correspondent Nick Assinder delivers his verdicts on the conference speeches by the five Conservative leadership candidates.


Sir Malcolm Rifkind

He knows he is lagging in the leadership stakes, even admitting that, while the party had a mountain to climb, he had "an even higher" one to scale...

For many in the hall, there was probably more than a slice of nostalgia in watching one of their veterans giving the sort of performance they were once regularly treated to.

And that is much of his appeal. It amounts to 'Back to the One Nation Future'.


David Cameron

He has that something, be it charisma or simply easy charm, that appeals to ordinary party activists and reminds many of them of the old Tony Blair.

He knows he is still trailing behind David Davis and Kenneth Clarke in the leadership stakes.

But he also seems to believe it is still all to play for and that it is up to the two leading contenders to defend their castles against his assault.


Ken Clarke

He said the Tories needed to choose "an even bigger beast" than either Tony Blair or Gordon Brown to push Labour out of office.

And he seemed to suggest it must be glaringly obvious to everyone of any sense in the hall who that beast was.

Many already believe just that, and his speech may well have swelled that number.


David Davis

It was probably the hard edge, the tough ex-SAS man that was most on show.

And that is rarely a bad route to take with this audience of party activists.

Yet the response from the hall was uncertain.

Probably uncertain enough to raise the first real question over whether he remains the front runner.


Liam Fox

You can never go far wrong at a Conservative conference by wrapping yourself in the Union Jack.

And right-wing contender Liam Fox did not hesitate as he attempted to seize his moment of opportunity and give his leadership bid a major boost.

It was an opportunity because, just hours before, the other man from the right, David Davis, had, in the eyes of many representatives here, notably failed to deliver.


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