Richard North, 18/10/2005  

The result of the first ballot in the Conservative Party leadership contest has been announced. There were 198 votes cast, with David Davis leading on 62 votes, David Cameron next with 56. Liam Fox made 42 and Clarke trailed with 38. That means the "big beast" Ken Clarke is eliminated from the contest.

This is a significant result for the Eurosceptic wing of the Party, who were determined to humiliate Clarke and thereby neutralise him as a political force. That much they have achieved. Clarke supporter Tim Yeo regards this result as a "tragedy".

The next vote will be on Thursday, when we will see whether the Fox vote holds up, and where the Clarke votes go. One presumes that Cameron will be the main beneficiary, unless some skeletons manage to break out of the cupboard.


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