Michael Ancram’s warning to David Cameron dominates this morning’s headlines. His warning for the party not to lose its soul is the main story on BBC Online. I woke up to it at 6am when his Still A Conservative pamphlet led the Today programme. He gets the main headline story in The Telegraph.
I like and respect Michael Ancram. He was an excellent Chairman during a difficult time for the Conservative Party. I broadly agree with what he says about tax and Europe. I wish he hadn’t released his pamphlet today, however. If Michael Ancram had released his pamphlet three or four weeks ago I would have had more sympathy with it. But in the last two weeks David Cameron has begun to get the balance of the Conservative message right (as I’ve blogged). All of us who have sometimes worried about the imbalance of the first eighteen months now need to give the revised strategy some time to deepen. It’s also important for Tory MPs not to provide Gordon Brown with ammunition at the moment – the beginning of his September offensive. John Bercow and Patrick Mercer are rightly castigated in this morning’s Sun for giving comfort to Gordon Brown. I fear that Michael Ancram has done the same.
You can read Michael Ancram’s paper in full here, I hope to read it later today and will report back with anything noteworthy.
8.30pm: Michael Ancram has emailed the following message to various people:
"In the light of today’s somewhat lurid headlines, I am attaching the whole pamphlet in the hope that you might find time to read it for what it is meant to be; my offering to the debate on the Party’s direction. You will notice that I pay tribute to David Cameron for what he has achieved thus far and hope that the exciting policies coming from the Commissions will be a fresh means of articulating the principles and beliefs which I set out..
Thanks to all of you who forwarded it to me.