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Last Updated: Friday, 4 November 2005, 15:39 GMT
Tories' verdict: Cameron or Davis?
David Cameron and David Davis

The two contenders to lead the Conservatives - David Cameron and David Davis - went head-to-head on Thursday, in a one-off Question Time special live on BBC One.

Described as a "crucial" encounter, the meeting of the two rivals took place just before thousands of voting papers were due to be sent out to Tory members.

The BBC News website has talked to three party members who watched the programme, to see what impact it had on their views - and how they would vote.

DAVID LlOYD

County Councillor David Lloyd lives in Hertfordshire and has been a Tory party member since 1979, the year Margaret Thatcher first came to power. He is married with two children and also works as an independent financial adviser. He had not made up his mind before the programme.

BEFORE - UNDECIDED

What I like about David Davis is some of his policies - you know what you are going to get. With David Cameron it's a lot more mood music, but it's also where I'm coming from. Cameron is probably a more natural Tory and fits the bill very well.
I think it was a shame Davis did so badly at the party conference
Davis is the grittier character and has a very different background, but to be honest I don't think we should get too hung up on background. I think it was a shame Davis did so badly at the party conference and that he did not get across his message to a home audience. But the feedback from the conference was all about Cameron. For me the bottom line is who is going to win us an election.

AFTER - UNDECIDED

I think David Davis managed to claw his way back into the contest quite a bit. Cameron is better at the set-piece speech, but when it comes to a specific question Davis seemed able to cut through the waffle.
It surprised me, I thought it was going to be all Cameron's way but it wasn't like that
It was all a bit chummy at first and that plays into Cameron's hands, but towards the end we saw more passion and I liked Davis' point that we don't want another Blair. It surprised me, I thought it was going to be all Cameron's way but it wasn't like that, the mood seemed to change and by the end of it I think Davis was the better liked in the hall. Davis was good at pointing up Cameron's lack of experience and that is making me pause a little. Cameron might still be my sort of person, but whether I put the cross next to him or go for Davis I don't know. I am still not certain who I will vote for and I won't be sending my voting paper back immediately.

CAROLE HEGLEY

District councillor Carole Hegley, from Milton Keynes, Bucks, owns a tele-marketing company and is married with a 21-year-old son. She has been a Conservative member of South West Beds Conservative Association for seven years. She preferred David Cameron before seeing the programme.

BEFORE - CAMERON

I'd always said I was in favour of a young, energetic and charismatic person as leader - and my boy (Cameron) is still in the race! The person has to have appeal, it doesn't really matter if he is young or not but he has to be liked. Cameron has got a little bit of vitality, he seems dynamic and there's a spark or zest in his voice.
Cameron has got a little bit of vitality, he seems dynamic
Up against Blair you need someone positive, charming, who can win people over - not a bully. You need someone special and those sorts of people do not come along every day of the week. When it came to the party conference, I felt it was a time to pull out the stops and Davis didn't do that. You cannot excuse someone by saying they had a bad day. My concern has been that maybe the older generation would vote for someone older, but at a dinner of fellow Conservatives last week, the overwhelming majority was backing Cameron (both male and female).

AFTER - CAMERON

I think Davis came across as more in-depth, more knowledgeable and because of that he came across as more comfortable and more relaxed. Cameron I felt waffled too much. We've heard the bit about "what the public want", he didn't seem to be saying anything specific and was generalizing. I think he lost points.
I will probably still stick with Cameron, because I think he has things he can work on
Having said that I will probably still stick with Cameron, because I think he has things he can work on. If we had an election in six months' time it would be different, but I think he has got time. He will have a hard time in the House, but I think he could be a quick learner.

JEFF HALL

District councillor Jeff Hall lives in Leighton Buzzard, Beds, is an IT operations manager for oil giant BP, covering UK and Europe. Divorced with one son, he has been involved with the Tory party for many years and has been a member for the past five years. He had not made a final decision before the programme.

BEFORE - UNDECIDED

In this age of communication, it's the ability to really articulate where you stand and where you want to go. You need someone who can say what we as a party are about and who can communicate that to the wider public.
Davis has that gravitas and I think might be the stronger of the two
Cameron seems to have that appeal, although I don't think he has as strong a personality as Davis. Davis has that gravitas and I think might be the stronger of the two. Also, Davis might be able to say more about his policies, but by the next election, we could be facing a very different set of circumstances, so I don't see that that counts. In his party conference speech Davis seemed to lose his message. I sense he was probably trying to cover too many issues in too much depth. It was disappointing.

AFTER - CAMERON

I thought Davis was the more relaxed and confident, but Cameron was more charismatic and pragmatic. For me, I have to say it's the Cameron approach which appeals to me. I thought he did reasonably well, although there will be talk of a lack of substance.
I am going to vote instinctively and will be voting for Cameron, particularly as the next election is four years away
Davis came across as more confident, more mature. But when he comes up with these "headlines" he drops on future policy I am not so convinced - it seems to me there's a danger in doing this because further down the line they can come back to haunt you. I thought Cameron performed well, a little uneasy sometimes, but I still think he scored well. I think you've got to get right away from spin in politics and I think that Davis, having grown up on spin, does still see the need for a bit of that to get his message across. Cameron seems to want a move away from that and is the better communicator. I am going to vote instinctively and will be voting for Cameron, particularly as the next election is four years away.

MICHAEL JENNINGS

Michael Jennings is a 53-year-old saddler, living in Kensworth, Bedfordshire. He's single and has been a Tory party member for the last seven years. He favoured David Cameron ahead of the programme.

BEFORE - CAMERON

My faith would tell me to go with David Davis, because of his experience in both business and politics, but as regards an election asset I think it has to be David Cameron.
We need someone younger, who can reshape the party and get the direction right.
Davis represents the party's more traditional line, but I don't think that will get us into power. We need someone younger, who can reshape the party and get the direction right. You have to be fairly special to get people to vote for you. I think Cameron's policies are more contemporary. He is Tony Blair Mark II and when it comes to someone more personable, who comes across better in speeches, it has to be Dave (Cameron) not David (Davis).

AFTER - CAMERON

I'd still vote for Cameron, I just think he comes across better and his arguments were better.
I won't be spending a long time thinking about the ballot paper, I'll be sending it back and voting straight away
The programme didn't make any difference to how I feel about Davis and did not change my views at all. The latter part of the programme worked best for Cameron, he showed more passion and I liked what he said about young people, his policies for them. It's what I and lots of other people want to hear. I won't be spending a long time thinking about the ballot paper, I'll be sending it back and voting straight away.



BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See Cameron and Davis talking about the contest



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