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Clarke rides in and whips up support

PUBLISHED: 15:58 31 August 2001 | UPDATED: 10:29 03 March 2010

CONSERVATIVE leadership candidate Kenneth Clarke received news from the front line in Suffolk today - straight from the horses mouth.

Mr Clarke was visiting party members at a special meeting at Easton Farm Park and could not resist the opportunity to see some of its largest animals.

CONSERVATIVE leadership candidate Kenneth Clarke received news from the front line in Suffolk today – straight from the horses mouth.

Mr Clarke was visiting party members at a special meeting at Easton Farm Park and could not resist the opportunity to see some of its largest animals.

He was in Suffolk as part of a whistle stop tour of East Anglia aimed at boosting his leadership campaign.

The former Chancellor of the Exchequer was in bullish mood that he maintained that he had a slight lead over challenger Iain Duncan Smith in the vote among Tory party members.

"No one really knows how things are going, but I am relaxed, we are fighting a good campaign and I am fairly confident that we have our noses in front," he said.

"It is a battle about the soul of the party and what the members want – do they want a party right in the centre of British politics, or do they want to belong to a small pure club where everybody has to agree with everybody else."

Mr Clarke was scathing about recent opinion polls which suggested that his rival was way out in front, especially one in a Sunday newspaper last week.

"That poll has now been largely discredited after it was revealed that the polling organisation had asked known supporters of my rival for their views," he said.

"The only people who paid attention to that was the rest of the media, I do not think it would have had any influence on party members on the whole.

"I have been getting a very good reception and I have the overwhelming support of councillors and MPs and that is certainly true here in Suffolk, I am looking forward to the last few days of the campaign, although things are already winding down because many people have already voted," he said.

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