Davis presents himself as a low-tax, right-wing Tory

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Indy Politics

David Davis, the frontrunner for leadership of the Conservatives, set out his stall as a "low-tax, Tory" right-winger in his first major interview since Michael Howard announced he was stepping down.

David Davis, the frontrunner for leadership of the Conservatives, set out his stall as a "low-tax, Tory" right-winger in his first major interview since Michael Howard announced he was stepping down.

Mr Davis highlighted his "relatively humble background" saying: "I want to help people on council estates, I want to help single mums, I want to help people from all parts of society to make the most of their lives." He also made clear his personal opposition to ID cards, saying "my instinct alone is not to support the Government".

He said, however, he would wait "until the last possible minute" before deciding whether to run for the Tory leadership.

A potential challenger for the Tory top job, Andrew Lansley, last night said the party should call itself the Reform Conservatives and draw parliamentary candidates from a new "gene pool".

The shadow health secretary said the party needed to underline to the electorate that it was changing, both in its attitudes and in the way it reflected society. "The point is that it does not require the name of the Conservative Party to change: the Labour Party is still the Labour Party," Mr Lansley told The Times.

In a wide-ranging interview on Breakfast with Frost, Mr Davis repeatedly emphasised his position as a supporter of low taxes. He said: "Am I right-wing? I'm in favour of low taxes, so I suppose that's right-wing. I'm known to be a Eurosceptic, so I suppose that's right wing.

"But also ... when I was chairman I said the test of a Tory policy is not just how it helps the well-off, it's how it helps everybody, most importantly the weakest and most vulnerable in our society. I still stand by that."

A bandwagon is building behind Mr Davis. On Friday, one moderniser Julie Kirkbride, gave the shadow Home Secretary her support, while Ian Taylor, an ally of Kenneth Clarke, indicated he would consider voting for him.

The modernisers were attacked, however, by the former leader Iain Duncan Smith in a pamphlet. He said: "Many seek to junk core Tory beliefs.

"They have become embarrassed about our Euroscepticism, our support for lower taxation, our tough approach to crime. But these beliefs remain enduringly popular with the public. "

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