Hague 'shows his sophistication' in rebranding the Tories

September 17, 1999

William Hague's marketing of the Tories is more sophisticated than Labour's, delegates to the Elections, Public Opinion and Parties Conference at Nene University College will hear this week.

Whereas Labour's strategy needed Tony Blair's leadership to ensure unity, Mr Hague's does not. "Hague is not important in himself - the Tories may elect a new, more popular leader," said Jennifer Lees-Marshment, a PhD student at the University of Keele.

Mr Hague had begun "an innovative market intelligence exercise" to help the Tories develop new policies since becoming leader in July 1997, she said.

The party has commissioned opinion polls and focus-groups of former Tory voters and done the "Listening to Britain" exercise. "The Conservatives haven't really produced any policies yet. This is not unreasonable: if the party designed its policies too soon and before engaging in substantial market intelligence, this would limit the potential," she said.

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