Cameron looking a dead cert

DAVID Cameron's effortless debunking of Jeremy Paxman during Thursday evening's Newsnight is likely to have been enough to persuade any lingering doubters among the Conservative rank-and-file that he is the candidate to lead the party into the next election.

DAVID Cameron's effortless debunking of Jeremy Paxman during Thursday evening's Newsnight is likely to have been enough to persuade any lingering doubters among the Conservative rank-and-file that he is the candidate to lead the party into the next election.

Two more East Anglia Tory MPs have signed up to the Cameron colours. Marc Francois, whose Rayleigh constituency includes the Hanningfields and Rettendon in the borough of Chelmsford, and Norfolk South-West's Christopher Fraser, have publicly declared their support for the young contender which takes the number of parliamentary backers up to 115 - nearly 60% of Tory MPs.

And another two of the region's influential constituency chairmen have endorsed Mr Cameron, who is locked in a struggle for the leadership with the Shadow Home David Davis. Brian Tora, the Suffolk South party's chairman, and Hilton Brown from Rayleigh, take the Suffolk and north Essex total to 11 for Cameron. Derek Brightwell (Suffolk Coastal) told me yesterday he is “heavily inclined” to vote for him, while just one is supporting Davis and two are refusing to say.

New backing for Mr Davis comes from Terry Allen, the leader of Tendring district council, but the number of endorsements for Cameron as registered on his web site www.cameroncampaign.org dwarfs those for Davis on www.modernconservatives.com


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Meanwhile, the Labour Party is said to be preparing an “explosive” document on Mr Cameron, possibly linked to his refusal to say whether he took drugs during his university days. Cameron insists that what he did before becoming an MP is nobody's business and that everyone is entitled to a private life while accepting that “law makers” should not be “law breakers.”

If Labour's “whiter than white” MPs, researchers and members of the dirty tricks department - no doubt good church goers all - continue to harry Cameron, then I would urge Cameron to stand up at Prime Minister's Questions and ask Tony Blair if he took drugs at St John's College, Oxford. You can hear the squeals of protest now.

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EAST of England Tories trying to keep secret the location of tonight's Cameron-Davis meeting reckoned without the intervention Conservative Central Office, which helpfully has sent out a notice informing the media just where in the Cambridge area it's taking place.

THE fall out from the memoirs of former UK ambassador to Washington Sir Christopher Meyer have led senior politicians to question whether he should remain as Chairman of the Press Complaints Commission. In particular, Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott is aggrieved because Meyer has revealed his mastery of the English language - while discussing the crisis in the former Yugoslavia, Prescott talked to a US senator about the “Balklands” and “Kovosa.”

Mr Prescott has hit back, ridiculing Meyer as a “red socked fop.” I expect Mr Prescott will deem it intrusive of me to ask how many fops he knows and where he met them.

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