Is the Tory leader’s authority slipping away?
Michael Howardâ€™s pleasure at seeing his lifelong love, Liverpool, pull off that sensational victory in the European Cup last night could be tempered by the problems in his party that are the main lead in early editions of the Daily Telegraph. This is suggesting that moves might be afoot to force him out â€œwithin weeksâ€ and to have his successor in place by the end of July.
The report quotes an interview with a leading David Davis backer, Derek Conway, on ITV News, that many people in the party were unhappy at the prospect of Mr Howard’s staying on until December. In response to a question whether MPs were considering collecting forcing a vote of confidence Conway said: “We are counselling caution rather than action but groups of people are talking about it.”
According to the paper â€œworries that he was now a lame duck leader, having announced that he would go by the end of the year, were aggravated by his lacklustre performance against Tony Blair at the first Prime Minister’s question time of the new parliament.â€
- As we saw with the fall of Mrs Thatcher and the downing of Ian Duncan Smith in 2003 the Conservatives are the most brutal of parties when it comes to ditching a leader.
In the Next Tory leader market an early departure for Michael Howard is most likely to benefit David Davis â€“ although the Shadow Home Secretary has to be careful about not appearing to be the assassin. The prospective candidates most vulnerable in the current environment could be the young turks promoted after the General Election by Michael Howard.
What would be good now is a market on when Michael Howard will go.
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