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Party denies internal conflict led to switch; TORIES APPOINT MAY AS FIRST WOMAN CHAIRMAN.

TORY leader Iain Duncan Smith yesterday appointed Theresa May to be his party's first woman chairman as he dumped his former leadership rival David Davis from the post.

Conservative officials stressed Mr Davis was ``absolutely guaranteed a place at the top table'' of the party.

They said he had simply been switched to a role shadowing Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott in the Commons as part of an exercise in ``putting round pegs in round holes''.

Most observers at Westminster believed Mr Davis had been axed as part of in-fighting at Conservative Central Office.

Mrs May, 45, said: ``I believe that the Conservative Party is changing and my appointment symbolises that change.''


NEW ROLE: Theresa May has taken over from David Davis as chairman of the Conservative Party
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jul 24, 2002
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