'Daily Telegraph': Our part in the Tories' downfall

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Indy Politics

As the Conservative Party faithful gather in Bournemouth today, they may be surprised to hear that the newspaper they have always seen as their greatest friend has done them a disservice. Martin Newland, editor of The Daily Telegraph, has confessed that the thunderous editorials that appeared in his paper before he took over a year ago were a partial cause of the Tories' continuing unpopularity.

His paper encouraged the retired colonels and WI members from Cheltenham and Tonbridge, who are presumed to be the backbone of its readership, to be enraged about Europe, when it might have served the Tory party better if they had thought more about domestic problems such as taxation.

Then there was the Telegraph's avid support for Iain Duncan Smith in the 2001 Tory leadership contest.

"IDS, for all his obvious merits, was not a leader who was going to take the party back towards electability," Mr Newland told The Independent on Sunday. "But we backed his candidacy because we were so horrified by the prospect of a europhile taking over. Frankly, probably, that was a mistake."

He said that the Telegraph's editorial line is now less "ideological" than under the previous editor, Charles Moore.