Letter: Hague: the expendable Tory leader

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The Independent Online
Letter: Hague: the

expendable

Tory leader

Sir: The news revealed by your front page today comes as no surprise ("Tory left prepares to leave", 14 June). Kenneth Clarke, instead of accepting the democratic will, seems to be saying that people should support him, and if they don't then he and his cronies will leave the Conservative Party, with the possibility that Paddy Ashdown may have some new supporters.

His intransigence was one of the reasons for New Labour now getting into power, and it ill becomes him to carry on in the same vein by giving the impression that "If I cannot play centre forward, I'm going to take my ball home."

In any case, before saying that he would not serve as a member of William Hague's shadow cabinet, would it not be better to wait and see if he was invited?

If the right-wing groups of Peter Lilley and Michael Howard had decided to back John Redwood, then the voting after the next round would have meant that Mr Redwood had a considerable lead, only needing to get around 10 of William Hague's supporters, so that he would have the magical figure of 83.

If this scenario had been reached, what would Ken Clarke's position have been then? It must follow that he would have said exactly the same, thus giving the unfortunate impression that he would only serve in a Cabinet if he were to be boss.

It takes a man to accept defeat gracefully, and there must be a lot of people who wish that Ken Clarke would, saying something to the effect that "OK, I have lost. So be it. If you decide that you need advice, then ask - I will give it, without any rancour."

GRANVILLE BROADHURST

Accrington, Lancashire

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