Monday, May 09, 2005

Hooray

Another beneficial side-effect of the general election are the resignations of Tim Yeo, shadow environment secretary, and Nicholas Soames, shadow defence secretary, from the shadow cabinet.

Yeo, from the "modernising wing" of the Party, is a soft Europhile and a political "wet", supporting the Kyoto agreement and much else, directly giving the Conservative manifesto a "green" tinge that failed to distinguish it from those produced by the other Parties.

Soames, apart from being incurably stupid, has been one of the worst defence spokesmen in recent times, failing to grasp any of the key issues at a time when the Armed Forces are in the grip of tumultuous change. Also a soft Europhile, he has consistently failed to challenge Labour's plans for further European defence integration.

Neither will be missed from the ranks of the Tory front benches, although it is always possible that their replacements could be worse.

As to Yeo, there is some question as to whether he went before he was pushed – it being he that is reputed as being the driving force behind questioning Howard’s election strategy. But we understand that both men are planning to focus on the key 1922 committee in an attempt to ensure favourable rule changes to the leadership election process, variously to block Davies and to ensure their own man gets in.

This is the outward indication of a battle raging in the Tory parliamentary ranks for the heart and soul of the Party, the outcome of which will, to a great extent, determine what stance the Party takes on EU issues for the foreseeable future. A great deal is at stake.

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