Tags: Tory | Leadership | Contest | Still | Balance

Tory Leadership Contest Still in Balance

Monday, 10 September 2001 12:00 AM

Both contenders avoided comment on who might be the winner after Clarke announced last week he expected to be the winner, following early results from ballots cast by more than 300,000 members of the party. Later Clarke played down his claims of victory, while Duncan-Smith said he remained confident that he would win the leadership of his party.

The election was triggered by the conservative party's landslide defeat in the June general elections, which precipitated the resignation of William Hague as leader of the party.

Political analysts said the outcome of the contest would not cause any parliamentary upsets for Prime Minister Tony Blair's ruling Labour Party. But, they added, the outcome would certainly influence Labour's future policy on whether to take Britain into the 12-nation single currency eurozone. Clarke wants Britain to join the eurozone, while Duncan Smith opposes the monetary union.

An e-mail survey of Conservative Future members last month found that the majority believed Duncan Smith most represented their views, but Clarke came out on top on the question of who would make the more successful leader. About 75 percent of the 318,000 Conservative Party members have already cast their postal ballot, which is due to close on Tuesday. The result is likely to be known on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Independent newspaper said important sections of the party now opposed both candidates and could stage a rebellion irrespective of the ballot outcome.

The newspaper cited "growing signs that the turmoil in the Tory party will not be settled by the leadership contest."

It said senior party activists who unsuccessfully backed Michael Portillo against both Clarke and Duncan Smith intended to mount a "mutiny' against the winner. Two Portillo supporters, former foreign affairs spokesman Francis Maude and former environment spokesman Archie Norman have told colleagues they were unlikely to serve under either of the contenders.

Copyright 2001 by United Press International.

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Both contenders avoided comment on who might be the winner after Clarke announced last week he expected to be the winner, following early results from ballots cast by more than 300,000 members of the party. Later Clarke played down his claims of victory, while Duncan-Smith...
Tory,Leadership,Contest,Still,Balance
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2001-00-10
Monday, 10 September 2001 12:00 AM
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