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Tory leadership

NEWS: THE QUESTION - After another abject election performance from the Conservative Party, the fighting has now begun over who will be their next leader. Who do you want?

I think Michael Portillo is the only hope for the Conservative party. He is the only Tory on offer who has the necessary presence to command the respect of the country. Notwithstanding that, I would still not vote for the Conservatives in the short to medium term. Under John Major their transport plans were a shambles, they had no political will to see long term proposals through, and with their current Eurosceptic leanings I do not believe the party as a whole would move Britain in a positive direction.

Steve Hayter, 39, project manager, London.

Ann Widdecombe is my choice.

She is the only politician from any party with backbone.

Certainly the only one that I can imagine standing up for Britain. Sadly her public image goes against her and she is destined to become the best prime minister the country never had.

Robert Pike, engineer, 39, Exeter What is Chris Patten doing nowadays? Is he still an MP? Is he a European Commissioner? Do you even have to be an MP to be leader of a party? He was dealt a losing hand over Hong Kong and performed OK. Whoever it is they must be proEurope.

Having said that, I do not want a Tory government, so my suggestion would be John Redwood or Ann Widdecombe.

Mike Battman, 46, safety manager, Warrington It has got to be Ken. Next January, once everyone across the Channel has Euros in their pockets, public opinion will rapidly begin to change here. Those coming back from holiday will want to keep their Euros to spend in the shops here, rather than be ripped off in high commission charges changing it back. The Americans and Japanese will be changing their dollars and yen not into pounds, but into Euros. The pound will soon become as anachronistic as the groat and the guinea. Who now can remember the cubit, the rod, the pole and the perch, let alone the scruple, the drachm and the minim?

The Tories are now the dinosaurs of politics and there is only one person fitted to lead a party of extinct animals - it has to be Ken Livingstone.

Philip Richards, 64, senior engineer, London.

I think the only sensible option for the Conservative Party is to reinstate Baroness Thatcher as leader. If the party ever needed someone to take them in hand and sort them out then the time is now and who better to do it than Maggie? If she does not send phoney Tony cowering behind the despatch box, then no-one will.

Neil Harrison, 26, design engineer, Norwich I would suggest any one of us. We cannot possibly do any worse.

We all earn far less than the potential candidates, so we should all stand.

Mark Lomas, 37, project manager, Hong Kong.

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