TORY LEADERSHIP ELECTION CAMPAIGN : Trusted team now in place

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The Independent Online
The campaign team for a leadership contest - if one becomes necessary - had already been formed before Mr Major made his astonishing announcement yesterday afternoon in the sunlit Downing Street garden.

The choice of Lord Cranborne, Leader of the Lords, to chair the small campaign steering committee gives it links both with the right-wing of the party and, given Lord Cranborne's pedigree as a member of the Cecil family, with the most patrician section of the party establishment.

But for the most part, the leading figures are friends, close loyalists, and colleagues he especially trusts: Brian Mawhinney, Tony Newton and, above all, Ian Lang who Mr Major might well be inclined to make Tory party chairman if it were not for his marginal Scottish seat.

The team is augmented by Michael Howard, the Home Secretary, who has never wavered in his view that Mr Major should remain Prime Minister and played an active part in his 1992 campaign.

Other veterans of the 1990 campaign, including Graham Bright, his former Parliamentary Private Secretary and Robert Hughes are also likely to play a key role.

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