Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Look at Lochside - The Conservatives got 0.7% of the vote.


Lochside Ward (Dumfries, South West Scotland) By-election: 13 October 2005

Votes for the Conservative Party - 6 votes
% of the vote - 0.7%



19 October 19, 2005 The Guardian

Conservative MPs last night delivered the leadership election verdict that the party's enemies must have been praying for.

It is one that leaves the Tories' political credibility on a knife edge in tomorrow's second ballot. The central fact in yesterday's first round was the elimination of Kenneth Clarke, whose 38 votes were not enough to stay in the race. This was an extraordinarily reckless move by the MPs. A party that cannot win general elections and whose share of voter support stays stubbornly in the low 30s is taking its life in its hands by discarding the best known and most popular Tory politician of the day in this way. But Mr Clarke was not just the most popular Tory; he was and is the Tories' most effective parliamentarian. Tony Blair and Gordon Brown must have shared a celebratory drink together last night - if they are currently on speaking terms.

It was not just the fact of Mr Clarke's elimination that raises huge question marks about the real mood of the Tory party; it was also the manner of it. Mr Clarke appears to have lost because of a surge of late tactical support for the most rightwing candidate, Liam Fox....


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