Clarke eliminated in Tory leadership race

Davis, Cameron and Fox win through to the next round as the Europhile former Chancellor falls at the first hurdle

The votes cast in the first ballot of MPs were:
David Davis 62
David Cameron 56
Liam Fox 42
Kenneth Clarke 38

The remaining three contenders are due now to go into a second ballot of MPs - to be held on Thursday - to decide which two will go forward to the final ballot of the entire party membership.

David Davis, who had been hoping for 66 or 67 votes, said that there had obviously been some tactical voting but "the highest number of Conservative MPs have selected me as their first choice".

He called on Conservative MPs to give a "clear steer" in the second ballot about the man they wanted to lead the party.

David Cameron said that it was a better result than he had expected and described it as "very pleasing". He would be calling on Mr Clarke and his supporters to support him in the next round.

Mr Davis's loss of support will encourage hopes among the campaign team of fellow right-winger Dr Fox, who said that a lot of votes would be moving around over the next few days. He added: "I am delighted to have polled well above predictions."

For Ken Clarke, it was a humiliating end to his long-standing dream of leading the Conservative Party. It was supposed to be third time lucky for the self-styled "Big Beast" of the contest.

He gave no immediate message of which of the remaining three he would now support, but did say of the defeat at the hands of his fellow MPs: "It sends the message that they are looking for a younger leader."

For much of the summer it looked like Mr Clarke could finally achieve his ambition at the age of 65.

After announcing he would definitely run, the former Chancellor quickly established himself as the key challenger to David Davis.

At the annual party conference he joked: "We search for leaders who will be seen by the public as prime ministers in waiting. Oh boy, have you kept me waiting."

But by then he was already being eclipsed by moderniser David Cameron, who was picking up support from centre-left MPs who would once have automatically fallen in behind Mr Clarke.

The shadow education secretary's tender years only served to highlight the sense that Mr Clarke, the oldest contender, had had his day.

A veteran of the Thatcher and Major governments, he served as health secretary, education secretary and home secretary as well as commanding the Treasury.

Mr Clarke is widely credited with leaving Chancellor Gordon Brown a " golden legacy" when Labour's victory turfed him out of 11 Downing Street in 1997.

However, he was criticised for returning to the backbenches in Opposition after failing to become leader instead of joining the Tory frontbench.

His famously laid-back style coupled with a love of beer, cigars and jazz set him apart from other senior politicians.

But it was his pro-European views that created a gulf with his party and did for previous leadership bids.

In 1997, MPs rejected him in favour of the youthful William Hague even though Mr Clarke led in the early rounds.

In 2001, he lost out to Iain Duncan Smith in a ballot of party activists after topping the Parliamentary poll.

With euro membership off the agenda and the Europe Union's constitution in ruins, polls suggested activists hungry for electoral success were prepared to back him this time.

Mr Clarke capitalised on this, stressing his broad appeal to voters while talking down his pro-Europe views.

MPs initially looked set to give him the chance and put him in the final two against Davis.

That, though, was before Cameron catapulted himself into pole position with the bookies with his dazzling conference performance and sucked up centre-left support in his wake.

Mr Clarke warned there would be "a good deal of ill feeling" among activists if he did not make the final ballot.

With colleagues on the green benches happy to take that risk there seems little prospect of a shadow cabinet return, leaving Mr Clarke more time to devote to his controversial tobacco industry interests.

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
peopleReports that Brand could stand for Mayor on an 'anti-politics' ticket
News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
News
Voluminous silk drawers were worn by Queen Victoria
newsThe silk underwear is part of a growing trade in celebrity smalls
PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Candidates with surnames that start with an A have an electoral advantage
newsVoters are biased towards names with letters near start of alphabet
Arts and Entertainment
Isis with Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jay James
TVReview: Performances were stale and cheesier than a chunk of Blue Stilton left out for a month
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Compensation and Benefits Manager - Brentwood - Circa £60,000

£60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Compensation and Benefits Manager - Compensat...

Data Analyst/Planning and Performance – Surrey – Up to £35k

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

IT Systems Business Analyst - Watford - £28k + bonus + benefits

£24000 - £28000 per annum + bonus & benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Business Syste...

Markit EDM (CADIS) Developer

£50000 - £90000 per annum + benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Markit EDM (CA...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?