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Sir Michael Spicer, 1922 Committee Chairman
announces the ballot results
 real 28k

Leadership candidate Michael Portillo
"I've always been convinced I can win"
 real 56k

Leadership candidate Iain Duncan Smith
"I have a very good chance of going through to the final round"
 real 28k

Leadership candidate Michael Ancram
"I want to consider the implications of this very carefully indeed"
 real 56k

The BBC's John Pienaar
"No-one expected this result"
 real 56k

Tuesday, 10 July, 2001, 21:09 GMT 22:09 UK
Dead heat forces Tory poll re-run

The first stage of the Conservative leadership contest has had an unexpected outcome with two rivals tied in last place.

Frontrunner Michael Portillo topped the poll - with 49 out of the 166 votes cast in the initial knock-out ballot of all Tory MPs.

First round votes
Michael Portillo - 49
Iain Duncan Smith - 39
Ken Clarke - 36
David Davis - 21
Michael Ancram - 21
But Michael Ancram and David Davis came joint fourth in the vote which was meant to eliminate the candidate with the least support.

Both said they intended to fight on - so the parliamentary party is now faced an exact re-run of the poll on Thursday.

Asked about the result Mr Portillo said: "It's exactly in line with our predictions and our canvassing.

He added: "I have always been convinced I can win but I have also always known this is a choice for the Conservative Party."


Iain Duncan Smith came second to Mr Portillo with 39 votes, followed close behind by Ken Clarke on 36. Mr Ancram and Mr Davis came joint fourth with 21 votes each.

By Thursday, he might be like Goran Ivanisevic and win the whole thing

Peter Bottomley on Michael Ancram's candidature

After the result was declared, Mr Davis said he had received a lot of support from grassroots Tories.

"We are going to carry on. The pressure that has come is from the grassroots Tories," he said.

Mr Ancram insisted the number of votes he polled was an "endorsement" of his leadership campaign.

Carrying on

Announcing his decision to stay in the race, Mr Ancram said: "No candidate has achieved even a third of the support of our colleagues in parliament.

"To me that says that there is an even greater need now for someone who can lead the party to unity and that's why I'm carrying on in this race."

Peter Bottomley, one of Michael Ancram's supporters, said his contender had received 75% more support than people were predicting on Tuesday morning.

Michael Portillo: Topped the ballot

"By Thursday, he might be like Goran Ivanisevic and win the whole thing," said Mr Bottomley.

Mr Duncan Smith said his 39 votes had exceeded all predictions.

"I believe now we have the momentum to go on and possibly win this competition, I hope," he told BBC News.

Former chancellor Ken Clarke suggested that support for Mr Portillo was "falling away".

"I think I can pick up sufficent support to overtake Iain Duncan Smith," he said.

He said neither of the fourth place candidates could win the overall contest and he predicted he would make it into the final round of voting by party members and go on to win.

Asked if the inability of the Tory MPs to choose between the candidates was farcical, he insisted: "It shows there is life in the old party yet."

Rough day for Portillo

The first day of the protracted balloting process which will eventually decide who succeeds William Hague was a rough one for the favourite, Mr Portillo.

In the hours before the poll opened at Westminster he first had to reject claims of financial impropriety over failing to declare donations to his constituency party while a member of John Major's cabinet.

Then he had to row back on comments in a newspaper interview which appeared to indicate that he now backed the legalisation of cannabis.

Whittled down

After successive knock-out ballots of the Conservative parliamentary party have whittled the field down to two, party members across the country will then get to decide the final victor by postal ballot.

Their choice will be announced on 12 September, allowing the winner three weeks to get into his stride before making his leadership debut at the party's annual conference in October.

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See also:

10 Jul 01 | UK Politics
Portillo under fire as Tory vote opens
10 Jul 01 | UK Politics
Portillo payments under fire
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