Dr Liam Fox and David Davis launch new right-wing campaign group Conservative Voice in symbolic fashion

 

The language was bland but the symbolism striking.

Two of the biggest beasts of the Tory right - who fought David Cameron for the Conservative crown - sitting side by side and united in a cause.

Alongside them leading members of new 2010 Tory intake - promising to say “whatever we want” to help the party win outright at the next election.

Even the venue had been chosen with imagery in mind: St Stephen’s Club in Westminster – the very place where David Cameron made his ‘big open offer’ to form a coalition with the Liberal Democrats in the first place.

This was the launch of a new rightwing Tory campaign group called Conservative Voice today - and while there may have been no public disloyalty on display there was no shortage of knowing smiles and wry asides.

The unspoken message: Labour is not the only opposition that Mr Cameron faces.

The group is the brainchild of Don Porter - a former chairman of the Tories’ voluntary wing - who wrote earlier this year that Cameron’s “detoxification” drive had seen the party “lose touch with its grassroots and with the values that brought it so much success”.

He has gathered together supporters including not the only the former leadership rivals David Davis and Dr Liam Fox but also an impressive array of bright young Tory talent.

Among them Dominic Raab, Robert Halfon and Stephen Barclay - members of the 2010 Tory intake - who spoke out in favour of the group’s aim to unite activists and MPs who “support the Conservative agenda of individual aspiration, small government, low taxes (and) a broad rather than deep relationship with Europe”.

While none of the panel took the bait of openly criticising the Prime Minister at its launch today the group will be wearily watched by Downing Street.

Because unlike other Tory affiliates Conservative Voice it intends not only to be a talking shop for Conservative ideas - but to actively campaign and raise money for candidates who share their views.

It could also become an unofficial focal point for those in the Conservative Parliamentary party  opposed to Mr Cameron’s leadership and who might potentially be prepared to coalesce around a challenger should Tory poll numbers not improve.

In addition the group already a tie up with ConservativeHome, the Tory grassroots internet site owned by millionaire businessman Michael Ashcroft, and should it secure his financial backing it could become a significant force in the Conservative landscape.

“We took the line that we would not be a membership organisation and we also took the line that we would welcome donations and we would not set limits on those donations,” said Mr Porter tellingly.

“We have no big donors so far.”

Dr Fox, who has become something of a standard bearer for the concerns of the Tory right since being forced out of the Government last year, said Conservative Voice was about advancing a Tory agenda which was difficult for ministers to pursue because they were in Coalition.

“There are limitations to what ministers can say given the constraints of coalition,” he said. “There are no limitations on what we can say.

“Clearly, as we move towards the next election, there will be a need for us to differentiate our brand and set forward a clear Conservative message. I think we have been doing that quite successfully in recent days.

“I’m not at all surprised that the Lib Dems want to set out what they believe in. We also have very

Mr Davis insisted that far from being disloyal it was “very healthy that we are able to espouse viewpoints which are distinctive”.

“Clear Conservative messages have appeals far, far beyond the Conservative party. Partly what this [group] is about is trying to get that message across in new ways for all those people who are potential supporters of the Conservative party.”

The group were keen to stress that both Downing Street and Conservative Central Office were fully aware and supportive of their supportive their plans.

But the united front was somewhat undermined the maverick Tory backbencher Nadine Dorries who was seated in the audience.

“We need a kill Cameron strategy,” she said.

Not the message they wanted to portray. But a sentiment that some of them might privately share - politically at least.

Arts & Entertainment
Madonna in her music video for 'Like A Virgin'
music... and other misheard song lyrics
Sport
Steven Gerrard had to be talked into adopting a deeper role by his manager, Brendan Rodgers
sportThe city’s fight for justice after Hillsborough is embodied in Steven Gerrard, who's poised to lead his club to a remarkable triumph
News
Waitrose will be bringing in more manned tills
newsOverheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
News
The energy drink MosKa was banned for containing a heavy dose of the popular erectile dysfunction Levitra
news
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
Much of the colleges’ land is off-limits to locals in Cambridge, with tight security
educationAnd has the Cambridge I knew turned its back on me?
Environment
People are buying increasing numbers of plants such as lavender to aid the insects
environmentGardeners rally round the endangered bumblebee
Sport
Australia's Dylan Tombides competes for the ball with Adal Matar of Kuwait during the AFC U-22 Championship Group C match in January
sportDylan Tombides was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011
Arts & Entertainment
Customers browse through Vinyl Junkies record shop in Berwick Street, Soho, London
musicBest exclusives coming to an independent record shop near you this Record Store Day
News
Ida Beate Loken has been living at the foot of a mountain since May
newsNorwegian gives up home comforts for a cave
Extras
indybest10 best gardening gloves
Arts & Entertainment
tvIt might all be getting a bit much, but this is still the some of the finest TV ever made, says Grace Dent
Arts & Entertainment
Comedian Lenny Henry is calling for more regulation to support ethnic actors on TV
tvActor and comedian leads campaign against 'lack of diversity' in British television
News
Posted at the end of March, this tweeted photo was a week off the end of their Broadway shows
people
News
peopleStar to remain in hospital for up to 27 days to get over allergic reaction
Arts & Entertainment
The Honesty Policy is a group of anonymous Muslims who believe that the community needs a space to express itself without shame or judgement
music
News
Who makes you happy?
happy listSend your nominations now for the Independent on Sunday Happy List
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Apprentice IT Technician

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...

1st Line Technical Service Desk Analyst IT Apprentice

£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Sales Associate Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit