30 May 2007
A little more schadenfreude
David Cameron is facing a potential split following the resignation of a Tory frontbencher who resigned after being disciplined for defending 11-plus selection. Senior Tory MPs have rallied behind Graham Brady after he quit as Europe spokesman over the Conservative policy on grammar schools..
In addition a poll in today's Independent indicates that the row over grammar schools has made the Tories look more divided and their lead over Labour has been reduced from nine to four points. The poll puts Labour on 31 per cent, up by four points from 27 last month, and the Conservatives down one point to 35 per cent.
Asked which leader would be able to keep his party united, 40 per cent said Mr Brown and only 37 per cent said Mr Cameron. A similar poll a month ago showed that 64 per cent thought Labour was divided, compared with only 36 per cent who thought the Tories were disunited.
The poll shows that Mr Cameron's hopes of gaining a commanding lead over Labour before Tony Blair hands over to Mr Brown have been dented by the dispute. The "Brown bounce" has also raised questions about the leadership of Sir Menzies Campbell with the Liberal Democrats down three points to 19.
But the personal rating of the two main leaders will come as the most worrying blow for Mr Cameron. Asked who would make the best Prime Minister, 40 per cent said Mr Brown and 32 per cent said Mr Cameron.