Tories need to copy the Republicans, says Duncan Smith

Click to follow
Indy Politics

Iain Duncan Smith, the former Tory leader, says his successor, Michael Howard, should mirror George Bush's approach to the US presidential campaign by focusing on traditional Conservative values.

Iain Duncan Smith, the former Tory leader, says his successor, Michael Howard, should mirror George Bush's approach to the US presidential campaign by focusing on traditional Conservative values.

The former leader, a friend of the Bush family, reveals in an interview for The Independent today that he is to publish a pamphlet on the lessons that the Tories can learn from the successes of Mr Bush and John Howard in Australia.

He will urge the Tory leaders to focus on 'compassionate conservatism'. He said the key lesson from the US presidential elections and the Australian elections for Mr Howard was to "be true to yourself, be true to your values."

His remarks will dismay Tory modernisers who fear Mr Howard will be tempted to swing further to the right on immigration, law and order, and social issues, to try to close the gap with Labour before the general election. But his advice was given added urgency yesterday by an opinion poll in The Independent On Sunday showing Labour has opened an 11-point lead over the Tories, a bigger margin than when Mr Duncan Smith was the leader.

Mr Howard will call today for a crackdown on unruly pupils, guaranteeing the right of head teachers to exclude troublemakers from their schools.

Mr Duncan Smith said the Centre for Social Justice, which he set up, showed the Tories could reconnect with the blue collar voters with simple policies to support the family and their communities. Tony Blair was accused of stealing the Bush strategy by focusing on anti-terror measures to create the "politics of fear" in Britain, but Mr Duncan Smith said that was a false reading of the Bush success, which was a "values-based campaign" offering real choices to the electorate, that the Tories should heed.

Comments