Sir George tours South West on behalf of Ken Clarke
10 Aug 2001

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Sir George addressed two public meetings in the South West as part of a series of "Regional Hustings" in which supporters of the two Leadership candidates put the case to Party Members.
The hustings were arranged by Anthony Steen, MP for Totnes, shown with Sir George above.
About a hundred members attended each meeting - one in Totnes and the other in Liskeard.
"These were good-humoured and constructive meetings, with my former colleague, Patrick Nicholls, putting the case for Iain Duncan-Smith. Members could put to us both the questions that concerned them and listen to the replies."
Anthony Steen MP is supporting Ken Clarke.

An extract from Sir George's speech follows.

"I believe this is a contest between Focussing on the Core, or Reaching Out. Between Iain Duncan Smith, on the centre-right of the Party; and Ken Clarke, from the centre-left.
The strategy of ‘focusing on the core’ - and that is what I think Iain will do - will not bring back the Missing Voters; it could actually be a dangerous approach, because it risks cementing the loyalty of those Missing Conservatives to the other parties that they have been flirting with. It will confirm rather than reverse their reasons for leaving us. We need to modernise, to accept social change and adapt to a new political landscape. I think Ken will do that better.

Many of you will have seen the Times a fortnight ago, which carried a MORI poll of over 2000 adults. By a margin of more than 2 to 1, the public believe that Ken Clarke rather than Iain Duncan Smith would do the best job as party leader – 46% to 20%. Among declared Tory supporters, the margin is 48 to 35%. On uniting the party, Ken was ahead by 39 to 36%; and on who would be best at increasing support across the country Ken was well ahead – 56% to 30%. Ken is doing particularly well with younger voters, whose support we badly need.

I am backing Ken not just because I believe he will get back lost support. Having worked with him, I know he can build a team and give it Leadership. I back his judgement, having seen him lay the foundations of a successful economy – often over-ruling official advice and conventional wisdom. He is the more experienced politician, confident in the House, plausible on the media, good in Whitehall.

Ken could come into a country pub in Devon or Cornwall and he could either sit down with a country solicitor, share a glass of sherry and discuss the latest Criminal Justice Bill; or he could go to the lads round the pool table, share a pint and engage them on cricket, jazz or football.

He is a man that the public empathise with, warm to, understand and like."
 
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