Yeo faces tough time

FOR Shadow cabinet member and South Suffolk MP Tim Yeo, the next three months really are an all or bust period.And while many of his colleagues will be hoping the Tories do well enough nationally for wounded leader Iain Duncan Smith to hang on, I can't help wondering if such a result would mean the end for Mr Yeo.

FOR Shadow cabinet member and South Suffolk MP Tim Yeo, the next three months really are an all or bust period.

And while many of his colleagues will be hoping the Tories do well enough nationally for wounded leader Iain Duncan Smith to hang on, I can't help wondering if such a result would mean the end for Mr Yeo.

While his colleagues were being trotted out in front of the cameras at the weekend to say what a superb leader IDS is, Mr Yeo's words of praise were less than fullsome.

He agreed with his colleagues that now – with the country on the verge of war with Iraq – was not the time for the party to be considering ditching the leader.


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But unlike them, he was not dismissing any talk of a change – warning that poor performances in May, when district and borough councils across the country are up for election, will lead to more pressure on the leader to consider his position.

That's undoubtedly an accurate summary of the situation. But since when have political parties wanted anyone to be accurate when discussing their situation?

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Conservative Central Office spin doctors want us all to believe that IDS is a superb leader, commanding absolute loyalty and the country is poised to jump on his bandwagon and sweep him into Downing Street.

Then they'll have us believing that West Brom will win the Premiership and that the moon is made of green cheese!

But Mr Yeo hasn't bought that and he's had the courage – in the Sir Humphrey sense – to make his feelings known.

That won't have gone down well in his leader's office, however, and I think I can hear the knives being sharpened for him even now.

If Mr Duncan Smith defies the doom-mongers and survives the election ordeal, he'll soon want to reshuffle the shadow cabinet – and I can't help thinking Mr Yeo might find a bit more time on his hands to deal with consituents in Shotley and Sudbury.

Of course, if things are bad for the party in May and the men in grey suits decide to cart Mr Duncan Smith away, Mr Yeo will be praised by the new leader as a man of courage and vision who had the guts to point out when there was a problem.

In that case he could be rewarded with a plum job in the shadow cabinet – say home affairs spokesman.

Mr Yeo is a loyal Tory who will be doing all he can to boost his party's local election chances – but he might just be forgiven if he doesn't want the victory to be too overwhelming!

I KNOW it was chosen in a ballot of council workers, but why did a bunch of intelligent people chose such a duff name for the new County Council headquarters.

"Endeavour House" sounds ludicrous – and already it's given other people in Ipswich a real laugh.

"They're obviously fans of Inspector Morse," one person told me, remembering his Christian name was revealed to be Endeavour. "And it'll be a real mystery what goes on in there!"

Another comment was even more blunt: "I hear it's actually going to be called Spend Ever House," one council tax payer told me.

One thing, Endeavour House has apparently limitless opportunities for anagrams – my favourite has to be "An Overdue House." How appropriate!

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