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Mawhinney calls for party unity
Mawhinney looks for policy review

Mawhinney Expects Tory Leadership To Be Settled By June

The Conservative Party Chairman, Dr Brian Mawhinney, told BBC Radio 4's The World at One that the Shadow Cabinet would meet later this week. But the question of the leadership was the responsibility of the 1922 Committee which has to be elected.

"I would hope they are elected before the Whit recess, thereafter we will have the leadership election and I would expect the new leader to be in office with a new team certainly before the end of June"

Dr Mawhinney said he hoped the Conservative Party would not polarise over the issue of Europe during the leadership election. "I said at the end of last week and I say again, we had a very bad result on Thursday night. We need to reflect on that. We need to analyse why. I am sure there are changes that are necessary in terms of the party.

Redwood announcement tomorrow

Meanwhile former Tory leadership contender John Redwood will announce tomorrow whether he is to enter the battle for theleadership of the Conservative Party. The Euro-sceptic former Welsh Secretary has called a news conference to "announce his decision concerning candidature" following John Major's decision to quit after last Thursday's general election defeat.

The move comes as Mr Major was set to hold a crunch shadow cabinet meeting this week to fill in the gaps left by the poll rout which resulted in seven of his cabinet ministers losing their seats.

Former Social Security Secretary Peter Lilley and ex-Chancellor Kenneth Clarke are already confirmed as runners in the race to replace him. Mr Redwood, who challenged John Major unsuccessfully in 1995, is expected by many to follow suit.

But even before he had announced his decision, he came under attack from the pro-European wing of the party.

Former European minister Tristan Garel-Jones was asked on Radio 4's Today programme if Mr Redwood would be a disaster. He replied: "Of course. I don't imagine for one minute that the Parliamentary party will take his candidature seriously if it comes forward.

"The Conservative Party doesn't have to ditch everything it believes in. What the Party has to do is not choose a sort of Michael Foot option, which is John Redwood."

See also Tory Leadership

Diana, Princess of Wales, 1961-1997

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