DIARY: Spinners needed for Tory leader IDS: candidates and rumours pile up

Just like its drawn-out leadership contest, the Conservative Party

appears content to take plenty of time in recruiting for its top PR


The role of head of media, made vacant by the dramatic and rather noisy

departure of Amanda Platell, has been covered in the interim by her

deputy Nick Wood.

He is still the favourite to keep the role permanently, speculation

exacerbated by the official party line that newly-elected leader Iain

Duncan Smith is happy with his PR team.

A Tory spokesman said: 'He (IDS) has only just come into the job and

there's a bigger issue at the moment. There's no rush, Nick carries


Nevertheless, there appears to be confusion regarding the role of Mike

Penning, IDS's press secretary during the leadership campaign, who is

remaining in his post.

Is there really a need for both roles? Will one go? The rumour mill is


Although it is admirable for the Conservatives to show calm restraint in

the appointment of Platell's successor, one wonders why such careful

consideration was not given to the appointment of the shadow cabinet

that he or she must attempt to spin into government.

Bill Cash: remember him? The tall, loud-suited Euro-sceptic, who flanked

John Redwood in his leadership bid in the Major era.

Michael Howard: who none other than Ann Widdecombe once said had

'something of the night about him.'

Even Oliver Letwin, whose numerical blunder during this year's election

campaign led to him being swiftly removed from the public eye, has found

a prominent place in the team.

Calm constraint aside, until Platell's job has been filled, tongues will

continue to wag. At least 25 wannabe spin kings are understood to have

expressed an interest in the role.

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