A survey of business leaders for today’s Independent suggests that they are warming to the idea of a Conservative Government and welcome the return of Ken Clarke to the political frontline as shadow business secretary.

The ComRes poll shows that:

  • 59% of those questioned believe the Tories offer constructive
    and realistic policies
  • 56% think the Conservative Party is ready for
  • Only 18% back Labour’s claim that the Tories are a
    "do nothing party" on the economy

Asked who they would most want to serve on their board of directors, they replied:

  • Ken Clarke – 38%
  • David Cameron – 18%
  • Lord Mandelson – 15%
  • Simon Cowell – 17%
  • Gordon Brown – 8%
  • George Osborne – 2%
  • Alistair Darling – 2%

And, crucially, business is unconvinced that Labour’s economic measures will be effective:

  • 62% of those surveyed think the temporary cut in VAT is
    "plain foolish", with only 14% believing it will benefit the
  • 52 per cent believe the reduction in interest
    rates to 1.5% will make no difference, 32% think it will be positive and 13% say it will have a negative

Some may find the 56% figure a little low in terms of those thinking the party is ready for government. However, I remain of the view that the election will not be until May 2010, which means there will probably be another 16 months for the rejuvenated shadow cabinet team to prove itself worthy of taking the reins of power.

Jonathan Isaby