The problem for the Conservatives

Last night's election results were pretty good, and much better than pollsters or pundits anticipated. The Conservatives gained from both the other parties and are only two percent behind Labour, and this is a good position on which to build. The problems are who and how? How can the party modernise, and who is the best leader to take it forward.

Michael Howard (like Tony Blair) has already announced he will not fight the next election, but is in place for the moment. The first thing he can do is strengthen his Shadow Cabinet. William Hague and Malcolm Rifkind would make powerful additions to it.

David Davis is the obvious front runner in any leadership contest, and did a great job shadowing David Blunkett at the time of his fall. But I am not convinced yet. Howard should move him to Shadow Chancellor. If he can be effective against Gordon Brown then he deserves to succeed to the leadership. If not, then perhaps someone else should.

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