Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Portillo Promises Decision 'Within 48 Hours'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Portillo Promises Decision 'Within 48 Hours'

Article excerpt

MICHAEL PORTILLO is expected to announce over the next 48 hours whether he will stand for the leadership of the Conservative Party, as colleagues begin to line up behind him, writes Jo Revill.

The shadow chancellor is expected to end months of speculation over whether he will throw his hat in the ring following William Hague's departure after their dismal General Election defeat.

As the bookies' favourite, a decision to stand would give him a head-start on rivals such as Iain Duncan Smith, the shadow defence secretary.

Ann Widdecombe has already made it clear that she is "taking soundings" on whether or not to declare herself a candidate.

The party's agriculture spokesman Tim Yeo will support Mr Portillo, and it is thought that many other shadow cabinet members, such as Francis Maude, Archie Norman, David Willetts and Andrew MacKay, will come out as backers when he declares his candidacy for the job.

A source close to Mr Portillo said last night that the MP for Kensington and Chelsea would be "making clear his intentions in the next 48 hours". …

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