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Ironduke
30 Oct 03,, 23:05
UK's Howard: I will unite Tories

LONDON, England -- Saying he would lead "from the center," former Cabinet minister Michael Howard has officially announced he is to stand for the leadership of Britain's Conservative Party.

The shadow chancellor made the declaration after a succession of potential challengers said they would stand aside in his favor in a bid to ensure a one-horse race to succeed Iain Duncan Smith.

Duncan Smith announced his resignation Wednesday night after losing a vote of confidence among Tory MPs. Senior party figures, including David Davis and Oliver Letwin, had already given their backing to Howard, a former home secretary.

Deputy Tory leader Michael Ancram also pledged to support Howard as long as he is the only candidate.

The move was seen as a much-needed conciliatory gesture within a party that has fought among itself during the past few months.

The party has been accused of failing to capitalize on the troubles recently experienced by Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Howard, speaking at London's Saatchi gallery, promised to cheers and applause from supporters, to lead the Tory Party "from its center" and to include figures from all wings of the party in his team.

The Tories would be a party for "all Britain and all Britons" and would offer "a different kind of politics," he added.

Howard said: "I am announcing today that I am a candidate for the leadership of the Conservative Party.

"I pay tribute first of all to Iain Duncan Smith, to his courage, to his dignity, to his decency, and to what he has achieved for us in the last two years.

"This is a great party, the longest-standing, most successful party in the history of democracy. There has been no other party that has done so much or achieved so much as ours. We are its trustees.

"At its best, we have a party broad and generous, broad in appeal and generous in outlook -- a party capable of representing all Britain and all Britons."

Earlier bookmakers William Hill said they had stopped taking any more bets on the outcome of the vote for shadow chancellor, unless somebody else put their name forward.

Howard, the hard-line Thatcherite, who served as home secretary under Prime Minister John Major, is seen as having stature -- an experienced politician and bruiser in parliamentary debates.

Howard, 62, has been in politics for more than 20 years after training as a lawyer. Born in Wales, he was the son of a Romanian Jewish shopkeeper who emigrated to Britain in 1939.

He held a series of junior ministerial posts under Margaret Thatcher but it was not until Major came to power that he was promoted to the Cabinet, being given the employment and environment portfolios. He was home secretary between 1993 and 1997.

Howard had ambitions of being Tory leader in 1997, when Major stepped down following a crushing election defeat by Blair's Labor Party. But he finished last in that race.

A week remains for names to be put forward. If another candidate emerges, Tory lawmakers will hold a series of votes until only two candidates remain. The final pair will then face a nationwide ballot of grass roots party members.

Two party officials resigned in protest at the politicians' treatment of Duncan Smith -- who had overwhelmingly received the support of rank and file Tories. Jim Birrell, chairman of the Clwyd South Conservative constituency association in north Wales, and his media officer Stuart Davies, said they refused to work with the party.

"What has happened was wrong," they said.

http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/europe/10/30/uk.tory.leadership/index.html

Ray
01 Nov 03,, 07:14
I saw him on BBC. Wasn't impressed. Blasted inspid. The Conservative have no hope in hell. Very sad.

Blair will again be there.

Trooth
23 Nov 03,, 21:53
Howard will always struggle to overcome his association with the Thatcher and Major governments. Thatcher is a millstone for him because of how that government lost touch with the people, Major because it was just an ineffective shambles that tried to have a non-policy - of "back to basics" and "Family Values" and managed to have a load of cabinet ministers with their traousers round their ankles!

Howard's idea of joing Blair's "Third Way" is not going to win him the next election either. There is no point in agreeing with the government even if it is right! :dbanana .

Punters come out to vote for change. Otherwise the encumbant wins through low turn out.