TORY LEADERSHIP ELECTION: Wit and wisdom as war of words gathers pace

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Sir Andrew Bowden: the Prime Minister would have to "consider his position very carefully indeed" if more than 100 MPs voted against him or abstained.

"He will have to make a judgement of all the factors involved - the future of the party, the Government - and his record shows he will make the honourable, right decision."

John Major: "As I understand it, Mr Redwood resigned from the Cabinet because he was devas- tated I had resigned as leader of the Conservative Party."

John Redwood: "Brussels should let some sleeping dogs lie and learn that you cannot harmonise the dachshund and the English bulldog by cross- breeding."

Michael Portillo: "Here is a contest that has rules. If you win by the rules you are the winner. We are not in the game of judging reasonableness. We are in the game of electing a party leader."

Tim Yeo: "Assuming Mr Major has won the first round by a margin which satisfies the quite stiff threshold, I can't think of a single member of the Cabinet who is going to hop round to No 10 Downing Street on Tuesday evening for a quiet glass of whisky and say 'by the way Prime Minister, although you've won I think you should now stand down'."