Conservative Leadership Election

6 October 2005

Following his final emotional speech at the Conservation Party Conference, Michael Howard, the current leader, formally notified the parliamentary party of his resignation.  A series of secret ballots by Tory MPs - beginning on Tuesday, October 18th will whittle the shortlist down to two finalists  to go before a vote of the entire grassroots' party membership of approximately 300,000.  Five candidates are so far certain to stand - David Davis, David Cameron, Ken Clark, Liam Fox and Malcolm Rifkind - Theresa May, the party's culture spokesman, has also yet to say whether she will stand.

Previous leaders, William Hague and Ian Duncan-Smith, as well as former Prime Minister John Major - all now in great demand as keynote speakers for corporate events - know the challenges that lie ahead for the winner.

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