Cameron top Tory choice for firms

Baroness Thatcher named second favourite choice

Conservative leadership contender David Cameron is the best person to head up the Tory party, according to a poll of business bosses.

The findings come a day after the 39-year-old MP claimed runner-up spot in the first round ballot for the next Tory leader.

In the survey of 1,200 company executives attending the Leadership in London event, 34% said Cameron would be the most influential opposition leader out of a list of past and present party members.

Perhaps more interestingly, the second most popular choice was not any of Cameron’s fellow pretenders to the Tory throne but was actually former leader Baroness Thatcher. Some 23% of bosses backed the Iron Lady.

With 14% of votes, home affairs spokesman David Davis, who claimed top spot in Tuesday’s ballot, was demoted to third place by firms.

Just like in the actual race for the leadership, Ken Clarke took fourth spot in the poll claiming 11% of the business leaders’ backing. Yesterday, the Europhile former Chancellor was eliminated from the official contest after securing the backing of only 38 of his party colleagues.

Liam Fox, third in Tuesday’s vote, came fifth in the business poll.

Rosalind Oxley, Leaders in London 2005 managing director, said: “It is interesting to see that the business community has thrown itself so squarely behind Mr Cameron.

“Perhaps the qualities he is demonstrating as a leadership candidate will lead to his challenging for the ultimate leadership role on a global stage.”

Tory MPs go to the polls again on Thursday to whittle the three remaining candidates down to two.

It is widely predicted that most of Ken Clarke’s backers will switch their allegiance to David Cameron allowing him to overtake David Davis.

The final winner will be announced in December.

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