The Tory hopefuls face their first scrutiny by fellow MPs
The first big test for the Tory hopefuls at Westminster – a hustings meeting organised by the right-wing 92 Group – has led to a tightening of the David Cameron price, and a slight easing of that available on Liam Fox following his move forward earlier after getting the backing of the “Cornerstones”.
Each of the four candidates was “grilled” by an audience of about 50 MPs for about 25 minutes behind closed doors and it had been suggested that this was not an environment in which Cameron would do well. All eyes had been on the betting prices to see if they showed any response. They have – and it’s been slightly to Cameron.
On the price-sensitive Betfair exchange Cameron went into the meeting with a price hovering about evens. At time of this post it had moved to 0.88/1. The ConservativeHome blog, which is quite close to the action, reported …Three sources have told me that David Cameron performed ‘well enough’ at tonight’s ’92 hustings. He certainly suffered no ‘blow’ of the kind that his rivals had hoped for.
Unlike Ken Clarke who had been asked a personal drugs use question MPs at the meeting did not press Cameron after Davis supports feared that this could be portrayed as a witch hunt. Cameron was asked to account for his actions on the Home Affairs Select Committee when he said he had acted on the best advice at the time.
The ex-Etonian has consistently said that he “did a lot of things before I came into politics that I shouldn’t have done” and he is sticking to that line.
This is an issue that is not going to go away though whether it will have an impact it is hard to say. We expect at least one of the weekend poll surveys to ask respondents if the issue of whether David did or did not will change the way they view the race.