Hague and Fox support Cameron

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The momentum behind David Cameron in the Tory leadership contest looked unstoppable yesterday as he announced the support of senior colleagues William Hague and Liam Fox.

It followed a poll suggesting he had built up a two-to-one lead over his rival David Davis among Tory members who have already voted. Although Mr Davis's supporters insist he is making inroads into his opponent's lead, there is growing gloom in the shadow Home Secretary's camp.

The move by Mr Hague, the former Tory leader, and Dr Fox, who stood for the leadership this year, will further boost the morale of the Cameron team. The shadow Education Secretary now has the public backing of 109 of the party's 198 MPs.

A spokesman for Mr Davis said: "We're engaged in the battle for the hearts and minds of the electorate."

The two candidates travel to Leicester and Birmingham today for the first of 11 leadership hustings.

Mr Cameron yesterday kept up the pressure by suggesting the party would lose the next election under a Davis leadership.

He said: "There's a clear choice for the party here. We can go on playing the same tunes, re-heating the old policies, and we'll get the same election result. I don't want this party to be out of power for 17 or 18 years."