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Redwood: Tory contender

Redwood Sets Out European Vision

The Conservative leadership contender John Redwood has warned President Clinton during his visit to the UK not to see Britain as just a province of the European Union.

Mr Redwood told Mr Clinton that he will never have just one phone number for Europe's leaders saying, "the American alliance is essential. But I have a word of warning for the President. Do not think you can put a single number in your book for Europe.

"I know that I can't put a single number in my book for America. I need one for Ontario and Mexico City. You need one for London, Berlin and Paris."

As the President and the Prime Minister discussed Europe at a meeting in Downing Street Mr Redwood said he believed Britain should remain pro-active in the European debate.

"We must be a voice of common sense. That is Britain's role in Europe. Not to disengage, but not to accept dictation."

Turning to America Mr Redwood commented that, "I would urge our new Prime Minister to recognise the importance of shared values. We need something more than Europe."

Leadership Campaign Heating Up

With less that two weeks to go before the first round of voting for the new Conservative leader, the pace of the Tory leadership campaign is shifting up a gear. The current favourite is the former Chancellor Kenneth Clarke, with Peter Lilley coming second, according to a survey of Conservative MPs conducted by the Independent newspaper.

Mr Clarke has been making his views known on Germany's problems meeting convergence targets ahead of European monetary union.

And Mr Lilley, seen as the darkhorse challenger, has promised to unite the Conservative Party and give it a more caring image if he wins the leadership contest.

At a Westminster briefing, the former social security secretary said he would seek the party's endorsement of a new statement of "core beliefs" in an effort to present a kinder face to the country.

Embarking on a whistle-stop provincial tour to drum up support among activists for his campaign, he insisted he would provide the strong leadership that was essential if the Tories were to form an effective opposition.

Mr Lilley said: "I have always looked at the Conservative Party as being different strands making up a rope, rather than different wings at war with each other or factions at loggerheads.

"If you run it on that basis," he explained, "you can provide clear leadership, and a united party that will be a very attractive alternative to a Labour Government once their inconsistencies and inadequacies are exposed by experience."

Meanwhile, William Hague, one of the other contenders in the Tory leadership race, has received a boost to his campaign.

The former minister Michael Ancram has formally come out backing Mr Hague. Mr Ancram, a one time Northern Ireland minister claimed only Mr Hague has the ability to lead the Conservatives back to power.

Mr Ancram said, "He brings freshness, dynamism and the courage to grasp difficult nettles such as party organisation and the review of policy."

As Mr Hague prepares to step up his campaign after a short holiday with his fiancee, fellow contender, Stephen Dorrell will tell Conservatives supporters gathered in Stratford-Upon-Avon that Tony Blair's honeymoon is over.

Mr Dorrell attacked Labour saying, "This is a high handed Government which is intoxicated by power. It is trampling roughshod over the delicate checks and balances of our unwritten constitution."

"The Parliament that has defended our liberties for centuries is being sidelined by a Government which feels it has more important things to do with its time. It is the familiar logic of the autocrat."

The Leadership Race

Diana, Princess of Wales, 1961-1997

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