Oliver Letwin

There are conflicting rumours circulating the media about Oliver Letwin, which sounds like good planning by his team. One has him moving to Shadow Foreign Secretary and another returning to the back benches for a while. Either of these would be good for Letwin and for the Conservative Party. Letwin was a highly effective Shadow Chancellor, in the difficult circumstances that Labour has bodged the economy, but the negative results in terms of unemployment, inflation and interest rates have not yet worked their way through. His moderate, intelligent, commentary has been the most effective style adopted by any Shadow of Gordon Brown's, the current Conservative leader not excepted. Letwin was also a frankly inspiring Shadow Home Secretary. He set out a radical decentralist approach which could appeal to both the authoritarian and libertarian wings of the Party. A period in which he extends his experience as Shadow Foreign Secretary or ranges widely across the issues as a backbencher would allow him to develop a broad ranging philosophy of government. If he were taking my advice (he isn't, I've offered) I would suggest he takes the backbench route. It would allow him time to travel the country speaking, writing articles for regional newspapers, and most importantly listening to voters in marginal constituencies.

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