Former Tory chief admits election win is `unlikely'
Thursday 11 November 1999
The former cabinet minister, who was brought back as party chairman when William Hague became Tory leader in 1997, predicted Labour would win a second term when he addressed the Cambridge Forum, a debating society at Cambridge University.
His comments will embarrass the Tory leadership but reflect the private views of many senior figures in the party. One insider said last night: "Everyone is talking about whether William will hang on as leader if we lose, and how well he would have to do to keep his job."
Despite public declarations that the Tories can win the next election, some frontbench opposition spokesmen believe the best they can hope for is to cut Tony Blair's 177-strong majority to about 50. Even the most optimistic Tory MPs speak of securing a hung Parliament.
Lord Parkinson, who won a landslide victory as party chairman in the 1983 election, told the Cambridge students he believed that Michael Portillo would be made Tory chairman after returning to the Commons in this month's by-election in Kensington and Chelsea.
Heaping praise on Mr Portillo, Lord Parkinson described him as "very able, very bright, he has a coherent set of beliefs". "He was the best Defence Secretary we've had in many years. He's an outstandingly capable person. An excellent minister and debater, with joined-up politics. Parliament doesn't have too many of them."
He went on: "I think William Hague will make him chairman of the party and they'll make an excellent combination."
His comments are significant because Lord Parkinson remains a leading figure amongst the party's Thatcherites. His praise suggests that he still regards Mr Portillo as a future Tory leader.
Lord Parkinson urged the former deputy prime minister Michael Heseltine to bow to Eurosceptics by standing down at the next election. And he said that the former chancellor Kenneth Clarke had "to acknowledge that he'll never come back as a great political figure".
- 1 Malaysian cyclist could face disciplinary action after 'Save Gaza' gloves protest
- 2 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 3 Fifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage from US parenting groups
- 4 McDonald’s removes chicken nuggets from the menu in Hong Kong amid major food scare
- 5 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
Israel-Gaza conflict: Israeli targeting policy under scrutiny after shellfire hits a mother and child, a school full of refugees and a doctor’s home
MH17 crash: Investigators discover more human remains and 'huge section of plane'
Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
McDonald’s removes chicken nuggets from the menu in Hong Kong amid major food scare
Satellite full of sexually experimental geckos adrift in space, Russia loses control of mission
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...
Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...
£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...
£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...