Party man is used to small gatherings…

Asda chairman and new Conservative MP for Tunbridge Wells, Archie Norman, was in a nervous frame of mind when addressing delegates of the Elmwood Advantivity conference earlier this week.

“I am glad to be addressing this small gathering,” he told the 100-odd executives present. Before admitting, “to Conservative members of Parliament, this is actually quite a large gathering.” And in a discreet display of Tory party unity, Norman did not respond to an introduction which touted him as a potential party leader. Except with a wry smile.

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