Tory hopeful plans time in opposition

Click to follow
Indy Politics
Archie Norman, the Asda stores boss turned Conservative candidate for ultra-safe Tunbridge Wells, says Labour will win the next election in an interview in today's New Statesman.

The innovative businessman - destined to enter the Commons in place of Sir Patrick Mayhew, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland - says Labour leaders are already focusing on how they will deal with new European laws "when they are in government".

Mr Norman pays tribute to Tony Blair, telling the New Statesman that some Tories have failed to recognise the threat posed by the Labour leader. "The centrist stance of the Labour Party is fundamental - not superficial, as some Conservative politicians think. The Labour leadership is sincere in its expression of new Labour ideas," he says.

He appears to relish playing a central role in defining a "new vision" for the Tories in opposition. "But for me," he said, "the opportunity of rethinking Conservative ideas is attractive." Earlier in the interview, he is more careful, conceding only that it was "possible we may lose the next general election - well, it's not just possible".

Mr Norman has been acclaimed by the City for turning round the Asda supermarket chain since he took over five years ago. He turned the company's headquarters into a model of progressive management practice: There are no private offices, no chairs in meeting rooms to keep meetings short, people must wear red baseball caps to indicate they want to work uninterrupted.