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Articles: Howard to face Tory party ballot

Contributed by localrags on Oct 31, 2003 - 11:20 AM

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<FONT face=Arial color=black size=4>HOWARD TO FACE TORY PARTY BALLOT<IMG alt="Michael Howard" hspace=20 src="images/howard.jpg" align=left vspace=20 border=1>

<FONT color=black>A Tory party bigwig has said members will be balloted on Michael Howard's leadership bid even if he is unchallenged in the leadership contest.

The party rules allow for Mr Howard to become leader without a postal ballot of its members if he is the only candidate.

But many grass roots Conservatives are furious at the way MPs rid the party of  Iain Duncan Smith, the first leader they had elected.

The shadow chancellor said  that he was eager and keen to give them a say when he formally announced his bid yesterday.

The cost of a postal ballot involving up to 300,000 members to the cash-strapped party is not what Conservative Central Office will be looking for.

In 2001, it took three weeks to complete the ballot of 330,000 members for the leader of the Party.