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Press Cycle 8: Conservative Party Leadership Challenge
#1
What is the future of the Conservative Party? And how does it impact the country?

Thread Closes at 23:59 on the 28th
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#2
As our country limps out of a major recession, the last thing we need is uncertainty and indecision but that is precisely what the Conservative Party have given us by this. How are we to know who will be Prime Minister tomorrow, or the day thereafter, if the governing party switches its leadership every year -- or less? If Mr. Graves is so deeply unpopular among his colleagues, how did he win a leadership election in the first place? What has changed, except a few of the Tory frontbench have seen their popularity rise? Now that the polls of individual Tory MPs have been brought to light, there are more than a few who are looking at their chance to climb the greasy pole and thinking "maybe it is time to have a crack." But this goes to show the complete lack of concern for the national interest among the current crop of Conservative MPs: if it comes down to getting ahead in their careers, the Tory benches will sacrifice anything, even the national interest, to get there. We are seeing it now, we saw it with Mr. Major, and we saw it with Mrs. Thatcher. The Tories are, as they always have been, in it for themselves and the working man is made to shoulder the load.
George Wilson
Member of Parliament for Great Grimsby
Shadow Home Secretary
Socialist Campaign Group
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#3
To borrow an American saying, whether or not the Conservative Party elects a new leader is about as meaningful as "putting lipstick on a pig." I notice that the Prime Minister's challenger, Mr. Croft, promises that "We will return power to the British people, and make sure that the people remain in control of their Government. We will expand economic opportunity to all corners of The United Kingdom, particularly those that feel left behind as a result of the reforms of the past 15 years, so every British person has an equal shot at success." After 15 years and three Prime Ministers, we are expected to believe that they will at last fulfill these promises. But in fact they have centralized power, impoverished wide swathes of the United Kingdom, and caused misery to manual laborers, teachers, NHS workers, dockyard workers, miners, and racial minority groups. This is what they do. This is who they are. The only way to produce broad prosperity and to increase individual prospects, and to devolve power closer to the people, is to support Labour. The Tories will not be able to hide behind their crumbling Parliamentary majority for much longer. An election is coming, and only then will the people of Great Britain be able to vote for the change they need.
Max Power, Labour
MP for Oxford East (1987-present)
Shadow Foreign Secretary (1994-present)
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#4
This debacle has revealed what we already know: the Tory Party is divided and the government is chaotic - all this at a time where, with such a weak economy, we desperately need strong leadership. It has exposed the Prime Minister as weak and feeble and his Home Secretary as a man who cannot be trusted. That means there's only one certainty that comes out of this race: whoever wins, the British people lose. 
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#5
As far as I am concerned the Cabinet has always been quite open about discussions, and the Prime Minister, as far as I am aware, has been open to debate. This would include airing concerns over the direction we are taking, or any perceived lack of direction. As a Government we have brought Labour to task on their appalling devolution referendum, which they could not defend properly. We have introduced policing reforms that we co-operated on to get cross-party support. The Prime Minister delegated the defence of the bill to the author of that bill, the then Home Secretary. I believe the flag bill is an important piece of legislation for this nation - no one is saying it is more important than jobs, the economy, the NHS or anything else - these are the things that we either need a budget to address or things that we cannot rush through and do take time. We've just introduced a ban on people from donating blood if that person has had a blood transfusion since June 5th, 1980 in an effort to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS, and I am looking at wider-ranging policies to combat this disease. As a Government we are working to deliver, and there have been plenty of opportunities for the people who are now challenging the Prime Minister to express dissatisfaction internally before launching Votes of No Confidence - I am strongly convinced that this is a minority of people, a very vocal minority, but, still a minority. If they cared about the Party, and not themselves, they would have addressed these issues internally first.
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#6
As I stated on Newsnight, I believe, and continue to believe, that holding this debate out in the public instead of scheming behind closed doors, is the best way forwards and a sign of a healthy democracy. I was surprised by the decision of the Prime Minister to resign as Party Leader instead of waiting for the results of the no-confidence vote, as I was fairly confident that the Prime Minister would actually win.

However, with this becoming a fully-fledged leadership contest, I have to now take a side on which candidate to support. It is no secret that I, like many, have had issues with the Prime Minister's course of action. The Flag Bill, as much as I support it, is a sign that our government has lost it's way. Being a Conservative isn't just about preserving tradition - it's about creating positive change, not change for change's sake.


Therefore, I have come to the conclusion that we indeed need a positive change. So, after much debate with myself, and discussions with my parliamentary colleagues, I have decided to firmly place my support with William Croft. I believe wholeheartedly that he is the best candidate in the race for that vision - radical, positive and forward-thinking change.
A.W. Dayton Highland
Secretary of State for Education and Future Skills
Member of Parliament for Ayr (1992 - present)
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#7
Britain deserves better than what it is currently receiving from its Government. Britain needs effective policies that will get people back to work, reform our public services and deliver the benefits of the growing economy. Britain gets none of that if its Government is lacking a vision or sniping at itself. Whichever candidate wins this election will have work to do to rehabilitate themselves in the eyes of both the party and the country.
Christopher Barker | Conservative Party
Member of Parliament for Sheffield Hallam

Former Secretary of State for Transport (1992-1994)
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#8
After 15 years, you would think the Tories would have worked out the kinks; but this most recent debacle has laid bare to all and sundry that the Conservative Party are not, in fact, the party of efficiency. 15 years of economic mismanagement have plunged millions of proud British labourers into poverty, and the Tories have the audacity to respond with petty infighting and platitudes. The British people know as well as I do that no amount of sweet sentiments of "we have to do better" and "they expect better" are going to help the working class man put bread on his table. The Tories are so full of themselves, so inward-facing and out-of-touch, that they cannot help themselves but to make fools of themselves while the British worker suffers. More than another Tory leadership election, the British public need a General Election.
George Wilson
Member of Parliament for Great Grimsby
Shadow Home Secretary
Socialist Campaign Group
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#9
The Conservative Member for Sheffield Hallam has just given the public the best possible reason to support Labour. I could not agree more!

Britain deserves better than what it is currently receiving from its Government. Britain needs effective policies that will get people back to work, reform our public services and deliver the benefits of the growing economy. Britain gets none of that if its Government is lacking a vision or sniping at itself.
Max Power, Labour
MP for Oxford East (1987-present)
Shadow Foreign Secretary (1994-present)
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#10
The country was led for 11 years by Margaret Thatcher, and for four years by John Major. That's a record of consistency and stability unseen by any Labour Government in the history of our country. For 15 years, we've remained united as a party to provide Britain with economic prosperity at home, safety and security abroad, and to eliminate the threat of a socialist Labour Government from running us into the ground. Yes, we are having an open and public contest to determine who will lead the party forward. When that is finished, however, we will continue being resolutely united in our purpose and mission no matter who emerges victorious. 

We won't be lectured by Labour politicians who haven't been able to get their act together in over a decade. If they were smart they'd spend less time attempting to attack us, and more time figuring out why the British people don't have confidence in their ability to form a Government.
Rt. Hon William Croft MP 
Home Secretary
Member of Parliament for Chipping Barnet
Conservative
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