Redwood to meet Newt

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The Independent Online

Political Correspondent

John Redwood's attempt to capture the leading role in right-wing thinking will move up a gear from Sunday as he crosses the Atlantic for a meeting with Newt Gingrich, the Republican Speaker of the US House of Representatives, as part of a week-long tour.

The trip, under the umbrella of the Conservative 2000 Foundation think- tank and masterminded by John O'Sullivan, former speech writer to Margaret Thatcher, will rank as one the most exhaustive exchanges ever undertaken by British right-wingers and their American counterparts. The efforts of Mr O'Sullivan, now editor of the influential National Review, as go- between, have produced an array of meetings in New York and Washington between Mr Redwood, his former political adviser Hywel Williams, now the foundation's policy director, and leading Republicans. The high-spot will be a private dinner next Wednesday with Mr Gringrich and other senior Republicans.

Earlier in the day, the former Cabinet minister will give a public lecture on the future of British Conservatism to the Heritage Foundation, a leading right-wing think-tank. The event, which will see Mr Redwood re-emphasising that his agenda would eventually win the votes and the argument, will come just 24 hours after the Prime Minister's policy speech at the conclusion of his round-Britain tour.

As he endorsed the Conservative 2000 Foundation at its launch last month, the former Secretary of State made no secret that his failed attempt to depose Mr Major had not dulled his long-term ambition to lead the party.

The fruits of the American experience will be fed back into future speeches and foundation pamphlets, beginning with an address on foreign affairs and Europe.