Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Bill Jacobs in the House

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Bill Jacobs in the House

Article excerpt

Newcastle-born former Tyne and Wear Council opposition leader Derek Conway has won his campaign to force Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith to face a vote of confidence.

Now the MP for ex-Conservative Prime Minister Ted Heath's former seat of Old Bexley and Sidcup in Kent, he can glory in the fact that his Westminster MP colleagues can now vote on the future of their Party leader.

However his victory has been marred by the sudden start of a "dirty tricks" campaign against him.

The most light-hearted remark attacking his behaviour came from Sunderland-born Labour chief whip Hilary Armstrong, who now represents Durham North West.

She strolled up to him in a Commons corridor and said: "Derek, you're a typical Geordie, always causing trouble."

But the Tory high command was less humorous.

Suddenly it leaked a letter from Mr Conway - when one of the then Prime Minister John Major's senior Whips was supposed to be opposing Mr Duncan Smith's rebellion over the Maastricht Euro Treaty.

Instead of reprimanding Tory rebel Christopher Gill, the letter said Mr Conway had "deep respect" for the rebel's courage.

And even more unkind, senior Tories said his high-level leading of the rebellion, which led to 25 Tory MPs demanding a vote of confidence, was nothing to do with the future of the Tory Party.

They claimed Mr Conway, a former Gateshead councillor as well, wanted to raise his profile in a bid to become the next Speaker of the Commons.

They said that he believed that wrecking the Tory Party might give him vital support from Labour MPs in his bid to get the sort of prestigious and highly paid post he never achieved under successive Tory Prime Ministers.

NEWCASTLE East and Wallsend Labour Party is currently organising it's Christmas celebration in early December.

The local MP Nick Brown is delighted to have secured former Cabinet Minister and Iraq rebel Robin Cook to make the main speech.

This might seem unusual as he's a strong supporter of Chancellor Gordon Brown whose rivalry with Mr Cook is legendary. …

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