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As Cameron becomes favourite can Conway save it for Davis?

October 7th, 2005

updated 0645

    Will the Davis waverers resist the ex-whip’s “overtures”?

With David Cameron now the 1.36/1 firm favourite the focus in the Tory leadership battle moves to Westminster next week where the big issue will be whether the MPs, pictured here on the David Davis website, will stick with the Shadow Home Secretary.

Before the conference they had all agreed to allow their names and pictures to be associated with the campaign and if they don’t change their minds then Davis is almost guaranteed a place in the short-list of two that will go to the membership. But if enough of them slip away to Clarke, Cameron or Fox then the first round results might look very different.

It is here that the legendary Derek Conway comes in. He built a fearsome reputation as a whip for the final three years of the 1992-1997 Tory government stopping a seepage of votes following the Maastricht treaty. Now his style of “charm” is at the disposal of David Davis and all those on the list are going to be under enormous pressure to stick by their man. Their phones are not going to stop ringing until the first ballot is over.

Following Davis’s “lacklustre” conference performance – a verdict first made here within an hour of the speech and since used everywhere – it’s been suggested that some of his supporters only signed up because they thought he was a certainty. Now Davis is second in the betting will Conway still be able to convince them that it is in their long-term political interests to stay on board?

    Subtle is not a word that is used often by those who’ve been at the receiving end of the Conway approach. It would not surprise anybody if he had found ways of ways of sowing doubts in MPs minds over ballot secrecy issue and he and his team will be watching every move of “their” people in the coming days.

For a Tory MP not to have signed up to the Davis ticket is one thing. For one of those on the list to be known to have defected could seriously undermine a career – if Davis does do it. This is real political gambling.

New Betting Market with who will be in second place
A new betting market which includes provision for the runner-up has been opened by Spreadfair. A point score of 25 will be given to the winning candidate with 10 to the second.

Latest spreads are Cameron 11.5-13 Davis 11.2 – 12.9 Clarke 5.7-7.2 Fox 1.8-3.2 Field 0.8-1.8. The second place 10 points makes the Clarke and Fox prices quite attractive.

    Other prices
  • Conventional bookmakers best price: Davis 5/4: Clarke 4/1: Cameron 5/4: Fox 12/1
  • Betfair betting exchange: Davis 1.82/1: Clark 5/1: Cameron 1.36/1: Fox 13.5/1
  • BinaryBet spread market. Davis 34-42: Clarke 14-20: Cameron 34-42: Fox 4-8
  • Mike Smithson






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