2001 2003 2005?
Three faces of the man punters think will take on Gordon Brown
Yesterday’s attack by David Davis in the Daily Telegraph on multiculturalism was a foretaste of what we can expect in the coming weeks as leading contenders for the Tory leadership try to position themselves as the right person to stave off a fourth successive General Election defeat.
The Shadow Home Secretary, David Davis, has been here before. In the 2001 contest he came joint bottom of the first ballot of MPs but beat Michael Ancram by one vote for the automatic elimination slot the following day and then decided to pull out voluntarily.
In October 2003, in the charged atmosphere following the no confidence motion on IDS, David Davis stood aside to allow Michael Howard to have a clear run and avoid the issue being decided by a full ballot of the Tory membership. There were murmurings against Michael Howard at the time but Davis seemed to escape unscathed even though it was primarily his move which stopped a membership ballot.
Now in 2005 the first thing the party will have to do is to agree on whether this will be resolved by a membership ballot or be left in the hands of MPs. What’s interesting is that proposed changes do not seem to be affecting the betting markets at all. The view seems to be that Davis will do it whichever system is chosen.
In the past week there has been a move back to Davis and the current betting exchange price is 0.73/1 with 8/13 being the best price from a conventional bookmaker.