MP Yeo is front runner
By GRAHAM DINESPolitical EditorSOUTH Suffolk MP Tm Yeo has emerged as a possible unity candidate if the Tories are plunged into a leadership contest this autumn because of the failure to make any headway against the Government.
By GRAHAM DINES
SOUTH Suffolk MP Tm Yeo has emerged as a possible unity candidate if the Tories are plunged into a leadership contest this autumn because of the failure to make any headway against the Government.
More than 70 MPs, peers and party grandees are said to be preparing to ask Mr Duncan Smith to consider his position if the party's fortunes do not pick up after this week's conference.
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Mr Yeo, who is Shadow Trade and Industry minister, is said to be one of the few people able to unite the left and right wings of the party. But yesterday he was remaining a discreet silence on the behind the scenes machinations.
“I cannot stop people speculating about names for a vacancy that does not exist. I am perfectly content with my job helping to push new policies for the General Election.”
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As the Tories started their conference, speculation about the leadership was fuelled by newspaper reports about a possible palace revolution.
But John Whittingdale, MP for Maldon and Chelmsford East and Shadow Secretary for Culture, Media and Sport, insisted it was “nonsense” to suggest Mr Duncan Smith would be forced out.
“He is the leader and will remain the leader. Media speculation is just that and does not help the party.”
However one East Anglia MP believed a move to oust Mr Duncan Smith could be mounted next month. “There is unhappiness in the party that we are making no headway. It's not just at Westminster I hear this - some of my constituents can't understand why we are making no advances.”
Mr Duncan Smith himself is unimpressed at the speculation. “This week in Blackpool is the opportunity for us to demonstrate our powerful message that the Conservatives propose a fair deal for everyone.
“After this conference. I am going to campaign across the country against the lies and deceit of this government.”