TORY LEADERSHIP ELECTION: Evans to lead gloves-off fight

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The no-nonsense David Evans, the MP for Welwyn Hatfield, was yesterday appointed manager of the Redwood campaign, 24 hours after declaring John Major was "going to lose."

Mr Evans, a wealthy self-made man and former chairman of Luton Town Football Club, was formerly Mr Redwood's Parliamentary Private Secretary and the man most credited with "humanising" him. His blunt outspoken manner will guarantee a gloves-off approach towards right-wing Euro-sceptics toying with the idea of supporting John Major as a "party unity" candidate.

Handling press and broadcasting falls to Hywel Williams, 38, until yesterday Mr Redwood's special adviser, and a former Rugby School housemaster, with Norman Lamont, the former Chancellor, as most prominent campaign spokesman.

Other prominent members of the team include David Martin, who resigned as Douglas Hurd's PPS because of differences over Europe, and Barry Legg, MP for Milton Keynes South-West and former Westminster councillor.

The campaign is urgently trying to find a campaign headquarters, having rejected Queen Anne's Gate premises that were originally considered. There were also promises to find a bigger Westminster room in which to hold news conferences following yesterday's shambolic affair.

Alongside most of the so-called whipless ones, Redwood backers declaring their hand yesterday included Edward Leigh, the former minister who led calls for a contest of heavyweights, Julian Brazier, the fundamentalist MP for Canterbury, Barry Field, the Isle of Wight MP tipped as a "stalking horse" last week, and Walter Sweeney, Vale of Glamorgan, and Bill Walker, Tayside North, both veterans of the Maastricht revolts. But Sir Teddy Taylor, Southend East, declared himself a "don't know".