Davidson to address Tories

MPs fear for their image

Jim Davidson is to address the Tory conference, prompting concerns he will damage the party's image.

In the year since he became leader, Iain Duncan Smith has been working to give the Conservatives a more inclusive feel.

But critics inside the party say his decision to invite the unreconstructed comic to give a policy speech at Bournemouth could backfire.

One modernising Tory told the Daily Telegraph: "This could be a dreadful, dreadful mistake. William Hague used to invite Davidson along as a warm-up act, but it really isn't the sort of image we're trying to promote these days."

Davidson confirmed: "Iain has asked me to deliver a speech on defence at the conference.

"I don't yet know exactly what I'm going to say, but I reckon it will be controversial stuff.

"At least the Conservative Party allows a few jokes and free thinking - I wouldn't get away with it in Labour."

Published: 14 Sep 2002

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