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Last Updated: Monday, 3 November, 2003, 11:11 GMT
IDS: My near death experience
Mr Duncan Smith lost a confidence vote
Iain Duncan Smith has said being ousted as Tory leader was akin to a "near death experience".

But he insisted he had been right when he told critics to "put up or shut up".

Mr Duncan Smith, who lost a confidence vote of Tory MPs last week, said the "intensity" of the attack had made him wonder if recent events were real.

He said his downfall was "rather like almost being detached from yourself in one of those near-death experiences".

He said the experience was like "when somebody sits above themself and watches in a rather detached way thinking 'I am not quite sure what's going on here and whether actually I am part of this or not'".

Shadow chancellor Michael Howard looks set to succeed Mr Duncan Smith following a contest in which he is so far the only candidate.

Speaking in an interview with BBC Radio 4's Start the Week programme, Mr Duncan Smith said that it had been "interesting" to be at the "receiving end of the pack in full cry".

As he increasingly came under fire, he said it felt like being a character in a story.

Political thriller?

Mr Duncan Smith - who is now promoting a political thriller he has written called The Devil's Tune - said he also felt he had been "reading about somebody else" when he looked at coverage of the past few days.

Michael Howard
Mr Howard is likely to be Mr Duncan Smith's successor
"You reach the stage where you can actually begin to read the newspapers with complete detachment as though you are reading about somebody else.

"Half the stories I was reading I just couldn't see myself described in them.

"There was this sense that I don't quite understand what it's all about".

But Mr Duncan Smith insisted that things could not have not continued as they were with the constant plotting against him.

He added: "Politics as we all know is a brutal business."

The BBC's Jonathan Beale
"This weekend Mr Howard has been relaxing"

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