Tory leadership: What the papers say

* The Independent on Sunday argued that it was in the interest of progressive politics that Mr Cameron held his nerve. An editorial said: "It is an important test of the Tory party's ability to keep pace with social change that it should hold firm in the face of an assault by the traditionalist press. It must judge Mr Cameron on how he might lead the party in the future, rather than on what he did in private a long time ago."

* The News of the World's editorial said: "Politicians make the laws. That's why we have the right to ask about their backgrounds - especially when they aspire to run a country."

* Michael Portillo said in The Sunday Times: "If Cameron made a clean breast of his past ... that would provide carte blanche for newspapers to print lurid accounts from so-called friends that might not even be true."

* The Mail on Sunday urged Mr Cameron to end the speculation: "He has a brief opportunity in which he can confess to a less than perfect past... he would defuse the whole business... and never be vulnerable again."If he stays silent, the party faces "a terrible dilemma. Pick the most promising candidate it has had for years and hope no skeletons come clattering out of the cupboard. Or avoid this grave risk by choosing another candidate with a safer past, a duller present and a less exciting future."

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