[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 October, 2003, 18:31 GMT
Can Iain Duncan Smith survive?
Conservative MPs are voting on the political future of Iain Duncan Smith this afternoon.

He said he could not walk away from the confidence vote because he was "not a quitter".

The result of the secret ballot will be announced at 1900GMT today.

What do you think? Can IDS survive ? Or is it time for him to step aside for a new leader? What will this all mean for the Conservative Party?


The comments below reflect a balance of views received:

IDS will be gone. What they need is a young dynamic leader. It doesn't take a PR guru to work it out... Portillo is the only hope they have!
Frank Foy, UK

Yet another leadership change for the Tories? When are they going to begin amending their policies rather than constantly changing their leadership? Perhaps they might even notice that their 'grand promise' of severely reducing income tax and improving public services is not fooling enough people into voting for them. As it stands, unfortunately, there is no reasonable alternative to the Labour party at the moment.
Nadja Andersen, England

I think IDS will win this contest. When he does he should immediately remove the current Chairman and the Shadow Minister for International Affairs - to the nearest Political dustbin. They are an embarrassment to the Party.
Helen., UK.

He is a nice bloke and probably a good MP. But as the leader of the Conservatives? He is a liability. Bring in either Howard or Portillo.
Stephen Kirk, England

This is amusing but irrelevant
Nick, UK
This is amusing but irrelevant. The whole debacle shows the lack of respect the Conservative Party shows the British people. It has shown - once and for all - that it remains a largely irrelevant force in current British political life.
Nick, UK

Iain Duncan Smith is entitled to receive the same loyalty that he gave John Major - none. He should go.
William Lyons, England

Even if he wins, he won't have a clear mandate and it can all start again in a year time - if he survives the "Betsygate" fiasco. Just when the Tories seemed to be getting on top of their game this happens - we, the voters, end up with no viable choice at election time.
Martyn Down, UK

IDS - Intelligence, decency and sincerity!
Andrew, UK

There is only one person who can lead the Tories, bring back Maggie. Aging she might be, senile, possibly, but she could still do a better job than anyone in the Conservatives at the moment
Matt Allen, USA

Learn from winners........don't repeat the mistakes of losers!!!
David Fallon, Ireland
If I might be so bold as to offer a bit of advice to the Tories in the matter of electing a leader that will win a general election, just do what Labour did. Elect a leader from the right of the party (in the Tory's case, the left of the party) that will appear centrist in outlook. It has worked exceedingly well for Labour. Learn from winners........don't repeat the mistakes of losers!!!
David Fallon, Ireland

IDS will never win a general election. The Conservative party needs a leader that will push Blair to the brink and beyond. We also need someone who will rescue us from the Euro.
Fran Mullard, Great Britain

I am hoping the vote will be in favour of IDS, because then we will all be spared the ordeal of weeks of Tory party leadership contest media coverage. IDS staying as leader has to be the lesser of two evils.
Andy, England

With conservatives in power, why do we need another UK conservative party?
Michael McCarthy, UK

"The Quiet Man"? Are you kidding? Does the UK really want a man with that moniker? Or do they want a man of voice and action?
Curt, USA

Until the Conservatives can come to a definitive decision about the Europe question, they will never get 100% behind any leader. Decisions have to be made and if factions cannot live with majority votes, then they must leave and let the Conservatives concentrate on fighting elections as a party, not a rabble.
Jackie, Scotland

IDS must survive! That man has made me laugh more than anyone else for the last few weeks. Long Live IDS!
Matthew, UK

Whether IDS survives or not, the Tory party will suffer, especially as they have no obvious successor that will appeal to the party membership. This is damaging to the British democratic system, but it seems the Tories are hell bent on self-harm, maybe fatally so.
Gareth Sheen, UK

No way can he survive, but it's a shame he is going because he is a great asset to the Labour party.
Paul, UK

IDS will go and then what?
Robin Davies, Enlgand
IDS will go and then what? Potential oblivion. The candidates discussed to date promise a similar recipe for disaster. Only Portillo or Clarke have the charisma, gravitas and mass market appeal to take on Blair and win important Lib/Lab floaters
Robin Davies, Enlgand

The Tories have shown themselves, yet again, to be a vicious pack when they get a scent of blood in their nostrils.
Derek, Scotland

IDS should resign. He has been a quite useless leader and obviously nowhere near up to the job. Michael Howard is the obvious choice - The party needs an experienced heavyweight.
Lucy Mumford, UK

IDS is a man of great integrity and a personal hero of mine. He deserves much better support from his colleagues. I think those back-stabbing MPs had better watch their own backs if their plot succeeds.
Phil Miller, UK

I don't like the Tories, never have, never will. But I do want a strong opposition party to hold the Government accountable. It wasn't healthy when Thatcher had her 100 plus majorities and it's not health now. Objectively the Tories must know that only Clarke, or perhaps Portillo, give them any chance of denting Labour's majority at the next election. If they decide not to choose the most electable leader, because of Europe, then they're finished as they are now.
Steve James, England

I like IDS, I would never usually dream of voting Tory but I like him. I see him as honest (well as honest as a politician can get) and feel like he deserves to be head of the Conservatives. They want rid of him because he isn't a bigoted and nasty like the majority of the Tory's.
KM, London

Tories have the best chance of winning in years and some prefer to risk that to enhance their egos
Randolph Rash, US
It's unbelievable to conservatives in the US why this would be going on now. The Tories have the best chance of winning in years and some prefer to risk that to enhance their egos. Perhaps this party is not ready to govern the second most influential country and the fourth largest economy in the world.
Randolph Rash, US

Iain Duncan Smith's opposition to Tony Blair is so weak; he should have joined the Labour Party.
Richard Jones, UK

IDS is not being dumped because he lacks charisma and is a lousy public speaker. With the public hatred of spin this could have been a great advantage for IDS. What has finished IDS is that he cannot control his own party's central office. If he can't manage even that then he has no chance of running the country. That's why his party turned on him, and rightly so.
David Patrick, UK

A company sell the products its customers want, not those its shareholders prefer. Until the Tories learn this lesson they will go on changing leaders with no useful results, particularly with an election process that favours its 65+ year old grass roots. While Gordon Brown is maintaining the pressure by keeping the Euro at arms length there is no hope for any Tory leader.
Tinek, Poland

It's nothing to do with IDS's personality or even his policies. The fact that there are enough members of his own party willing to stab him in the back, even at a potential cost to themselves, means that he should no longer lead a party that refuses to be lead by him.
James Mackay, UK

A change of leader is not a change of policy or image
Steve Dawe, UK
He could only survive on a terrible probation of indefinite length. Stepping aside makes the Conservatives prone to false expectations of a new leader; not stepping aside continues the tradition of 'compromise' candidates which the Conservatives have had since the removal of Thatcher. A change of leader is not a change of policy or image, as the electorate has seen before.
Steve Dawe, UK

Watching the Tories press the self-destruct button AGAIN... it's almost a national pastime!
Jenny, UK

Isn't it sweet justice that the man, who was a key figure in plotting and scheming the leadership challenge during John Major's time, should face the same fate himself.
Elizabeth , UK

This is a really decent guy who is extremely capable. And he has now had his baptism of fire. It is time for the conservative party to get behind him.
Brian Wright, Switzerland

He should certainly stay. The Tory Party ought to be ashamed of itself. It does nothing for the credibility of MPs.
M.Thompson-Royds, UK

I think it is too late for him now. If he survives it will be a miracle. What the Conservatives need is a strong leader and who will give Tony Blair's New Labour a run for there money, IDS has not been a strong leader and has not done what the public expected of him.
Ronald Elly Wanda, England

If Tory MPs think that electing Michael Howard as leader will make them more electable rather than less they are living in their own little world and it's about to get a lot smaller. IDS had just about started to make them look like a viable party again. However, the narrow self interest of the parliamentary party has just guaranteed their relegation to third place. I don't see how they can recover from this shambles.
Joe, Whitehaven, Cumbria

Stop all the in fighting and get on with the job in hand
Norma Pigram, England
Yes he can survive. He will need a good PR person behind him if we are going to win the next general election. Stop all the in fighting and get on with the job in hand act like grown ups and not children with all the back stabbing.
Norma Pigram, England

I do not know if this is an indication of the plight of IDS, but I went to place a bet in a local bookmaker on the vote of confidence only to be met with the comment "who is IDS?"!!
Peter J Thomas, England

All I can say is, if people feel that Tony Blair instils confidence and loyalty despite the mess he made of Iraq and remembering the reasons why we have the need for the Hutton inquiry, then all I can say is goodbye UK you are going down the pan. Give me quiet sense over smug arrogance anyday. At least IDS hasn't blatantly lied to us. Are we really going to let Blair treat us like fools?
Fiona, UK

There is no smoke without fire. There are obviously questions over his ability to lead. Ultimately, I think he's had it.
Russell, UK

I'm afraid that it will take more than just a miracle for IDS to survive. Don't get me wrong but IDS is a nice man but he needs to pump up his volume more to show his true character and that's what he lacks of.
George Nipah, England

It was another Conservative, Winston Churchill who said, "Some look but don't see, some see but don't understand, others understand but don't act" I am not quite sure which or indeed if all are true of IDS
John Matthews, Sheffield

The question is not whether IDS can survive, but whether the parliamentary party decide to wind up the party forever! IDS has to go since even a majority of, say, 5 or 10 would be just as damaging as losing. There is no argument there. But if the Tory party elect the wrong man again, for the fourth time in succession, then I am afraid it's "curtains" and British democracy is dead in the water.
Darren E Cooper, UK

Perhaps this is a tactic by the Conservatives to get themselves noticed again. After all, they never make the headlines these days for anything other than disharmony. However, until they realise that the internal politics of their party are the only politics they will stay involved in unless they start behaving like a unified party, the question is more "Will the Conservatives survive?" rather than just Iain Duncan Smith!
Phil, UK

I for one hope IDS does win. Not because he holds me enthralled, but he speaks sense. I resent the fact that the Conservatives, the media and Tony Blair think that unless it's wrapped in spin we won't go for it. Wrong - I personally am interested in what's said not how it's said. Judging by results of poll on ITV, shame the Conservatives don't listen to public.
Fiona, England

IDS seems like a decent man but I'm afraid not a natural leader for the country. It is time for rank and file Tories to decide if they want a right wing leader who will never get elected or someone more moderate who connects with the general public and therefore stands a chance of winning an election.
Mark, UK

The Conservatives will never get elected if they stay on the present course
Eve, UK
We need a new leader of the Conservatives - for the sake of all of us. I would never consider voting Conservative before but if Ken Clarke was the leader I might. He is the only politician who speaks any sense at the moment - but the Conservatives would rather self-destruct than win an election. We need an opposition that will hold Labour to some accountability. IDS will not provide that. Nor will the right wing Michael Howard - he will only chase off more of the main stream of British voters. The Conservatives will never get elected if they stay on the present course.
Eve, UK

As a young activist in the Tory Party (age 21) I am 100% behind Iain. He may not be as charismatic as Mr Blair but look where that has got this country! Iain is a good honest man who is sincere and has a true desire to rescue this country from the mess Labour has got it in. I am disgusted in some of my senior party members who have caused so much trouble. Iain has done so much for the Conservatives in the last two years he has unquestionably earned himself the right to lead us into the next general election and be the next PM. Let's stop all of this childish behaviour and concentrate on the innovative and exciting new Conservative policies - policies that make sense.
Keely, UK

If he survives or not, the Conservatives have put up such a song and dance that all they have done is to show that there is division amongst the ranks. This is surely not the way that the opposition such behave. What choice is there now?
Richard Mitchell, UK

IDS is one of the few politicians who gives the impression he can be trusted. He is not brash and full of himself unlike many others. It is like a breath of fresh air to listen to him, with his polite and quiet ways. Just because he comes over as a gentle person this is not indicative that he can't do his job. Still waters run deep.
Jacqui Lay, Wiltshire

I am not a Tory voter, but one thing right now is very clear: for good government you need a good opposition. Unfortunately IDS is not capable of providing this. Tories, get on with it for all our sakes.
Ian, GB

People keep wittering on about IDS not having charisma but Tony Blair has loads of charisma and look where that has got us!
Nancy Harrison, England

IDS stared with a huge amount of goodwill and confidence which he has managed to dissipate over the 2 years of his leadership. Sadly he is not inspirational or confidence building and I am afraid he is not a leader that I can see replacing Blair who, much as I dislike him, does inspire that confidence and loyalty. Neither for that matter is Howard. Portillo is.
John Grave, UK

What is wrong with the Tory leadership situation is that it was triggered by big business threatening to withdraw funds. This is a serious threat to democracy.
John Mansfield, UK

IDS just seems so false, his 'turning up the volume' was cringe-worthy and his charisma value is zero. His hand movements are like Andy Pandy's. I would only vote for the Tories if they selected Portillo. That they won't sums up why I won't vote for them...
Jay, UK

Do we fire Sven for lacking charisma? Do we fire Bill Gates for lacking charisma? So why on earth do we fire politicians for lacking charisma? Grow up.
R Smith, UK

Best possible outcome - IDS wins the confidence vote with a majority of two, so that the Tories remain unelectable for another decade!
Tim Ward, UK

If Mr Duncan Smith wins this vote of confidence then the Conservatives will undoubtedly lose many voters and will no longer be the party of opposition. Mr Smith is not the person to lead the next Conservative Government. He has failed to hit Labour at a time when they have shot themselves in the foot on too many occasions and he failed to raise these issues at all. The people of the country are fed up with the tax and spend Labour Government realising now that this simply does not work. They want change and leadership which Mr Smith does not deliver. Sadly I fear he is desperate to hold onto power at any cost, even to his reputation.
Michael Fallas, UK

Hague and IDS are pale and weak apologists for the neo-liberalist Thatcherite madness
David Meaton, UK
As an uncommitted voter I have seen precious little alternative policy statements from the Conservative Party under its last two leaders. Hague and IDS are pale and weak apologists for the neo-liberalist Thatcherite madness that we are still trying to come to terms with over a decade after her defeat at the hands of faceless back-benchers who knew when enough was enough.
David Meaton, UK

IDS is as un-electable as Foot and Kinnock were for Labour. This vote of confidence in IDS is overdue and he will lose. The Conservative Party must gather quickly to elect a true leader. This is the 21st Century and the (relatively) tame past behaviour of the likes of Portillo should not detract from their real and current political and oratorical strengths. This is the time prepare to strike at New Labour, or many years in the doldrums will ensue.
Jim, Scotland

An alternative government, alternative leadership, an alternative resident of No. 10: does IDS present this image to the British voter? No. Who would? Clarke, Howard, or maybe even Portillo? Will the blue-rinsers and farmers accept such a candidate? No. Please, Tory MPs, for the sake of the country, find a dream team with two of the above three and no other candidate. Let the people choose, not the activists!
Paul, Germany

Mr IDS should stand down gracefully and let get William Hague back. He was votes the most honest MP - who better to lead the Tories again than he?
Helena Murphy, England

It always seems to me that those I reckon I can trust get the worst publicity. IDS gives that impression of honesty as did John Major. It's a shame but there it is.
Les Woods, England/UK

I'm appalled at the Conservatives for their actions over the past months. I'd never vote for them, but as the official opposition they have a duty to call the government to account - something they have completely failed to do - and instead spend time squabbling between themselves. Tony Blair must be rubbing his hands with glee at how the Tories took media emphasis off him and his recent dishonesty.
Xavier, UK

The best thing Mr Duncan-Smith could do would be to withdraw gracefully
Andrew Kennedy, UK
Like many of my friends and colleagues in the Conservative Party, I voted for IDS because of who he wasn't (Ken Clarke) rather than who he was or what he believed in. For two years I have bitten my tongue and hoped for the best. Sadly, his best is just not good enough. We now face two scenarios. At worst, he is humiliated with just 15-20% support of the Parliamentary Party. At best, he scrapes through with just over 50%. He then stays put - a lame duck leader limping to inevitable defeat with half his party against him. It is worth remembering that 70% of MPs did not support him in the 2001 leadership election.

In my view, the best thing Mr Duncan-Smith could do would be to withdraw gracefully, thereby avoiding the humiliation of defeat (or a hollow victory with just over 50%) and allow the Party to get on with electing a new leader.
Andrew Kennedy, UK

This is the weakest that the Labour Party has been in six years, so what do the Tories do? They turn on themselves, even though they haven't got a credible alternative to IDS, or at least one who hasn't got any "previous". The Parliamentary Conservatives need to realise that their job is to oppose and oust the Government. The country deserves a credible opposition or we will be in "Blair World" for a long time to come and we all know what job he wants!
David May, ENGLAND

I was hoping that with having a stable leadership for two years, IDS was beginning to make the Tories electable again. Sadly, the Tories have pressed the self destruct button again. Is there anyone left in the Tory PLP who hasn't been leader or has not had their copybook spoiled?
Simon, UK

Tony Blair has proved Tory to his bones. Endless war for Britain, attempts to privatise portions of the NHS, starting his attacks on the BBC charter in 2006, the rail mess...if this is New Labour, why not just call it Tory? The Liberal Democrats are the real opposition party in the UK - in opposition to Tory and New Tory (Labour). Tories will have to combine with New "Labour" before the decade ends in hopes of winning elections from the Lib Dems. Neo-Liberal Economics is a failure, and many people outside the USA are waking up to the realities.
Chris, USA

A good Opposition makes for a good Government
Jim McIntosh, Scotland
A good Opposition makes for a good Government. The Opposition in Parliament needs to be sufficiently united, strong and robust to challenge the Government's policies. The Conservative party should cease all this in-fighting and concentrate their efforts on doing what the taxpayer, i.e. you and me, pays them to do - present clear alternatives. Unless this happens soon, we stand the risk of turning into a "one party state" and prolonged periods of Labour government much like the Liberal's stranglehold in the past.
Jim McIntosh, Scotland

Regardless of one's personal views on Ian Duncan Smith, it is a simple fact that he is not capable of effectively leading Her Majesty's Opposition. For the good of the country, we need the Conservative party to elect a new leader, one who the population can see as a potential Prime Minister. It is a sad reflection on the leadership of IDS that the Conservatives are not 20 points ahead in the polls with a chance of at least reducing the next Labour government to a marginal majority. The Conservatives have bounced back from heavy election defeats and weak leadership in the past. It is up to the members of the party, both in Westminster and the country as a whole to elect a leader who is able to lead the Conservatives back to government.
Alastair, Plymouth, UK

IDS has just claimed that he is "pleased" by the 25 MPs sending letters of no confidence in him. What complete rubbish! He has been trying to head off this challenge for the last fortnight, and there's no point in him trying to re-write history now.
Simon, Edinburgh, UK

I think that we should call for a vote of confidence in the entire conservative party. Talk about irrelevant. Who cares who leads them, they are completely floundering with no real policy and no clear distinction from any other political force in the UK.
Gordon, UK

It's crunch time
Russ, UK
It's crunch time. I like IDS, and I don't think he's been fairly treated, but ultimately this affair has got to be settled to oust the government. Whatever happens in the vote, then it must be the end of this till after the election. Any more back-biting will mean a third term for Labour, and that is something no-one in their right mind wants to see.
Russ, UK

The simple fact of the matter is that IDS is unelectable. The Conservative MPs have faced up to this fact, why can't the grassroots realise this? Tony Blair and the entire Labour Party must be preying the Conservatives hang on to IDS.
Jeremy , UK

In an age when the New Labour are spouting Thatcherite policies and the Tories are talking enthusiastically about recycled Old Labour views, the only difference voters can see is in personality. Why not have a Pop Idol style program and let the teenage girls of the country decide. My money's on a someone with a nice smile and the intelligence of a mushroom. Could this be too similar to how Americans choose their presidents?
Mark, UK

The only people concerned about this are the 166 Tory MP's and a few thousand Tory activists. The remaining 99.9% of us in the country don't give two hoots who is Tory leader. Why not give IDS' job to Mr. Blobby, nobody would notice the difference!
Andy, Wales

When will Conservative Party members ever learn? To get rid of Blair and his Government the Tories have to elect a leader who will appeal to the floating voter, NOT someone who is acceptable only to the Tory faithful. They won't learn of course, and Blair will undeservedly get another term in office.
Brian England

William Hague consolidated the party after the 1997 election. For all his effort and determination IDS has taken the party a step forward, but now is the time to take another step, maybe the final step and have a conservative leader who can make election victory a reality or make a serious inroad into labour's majority. Portillo or Clarke... time for the Tories to make Blair sweat !!!!
Mohammed, Berkshire, England

Smith calls himself a quiet man but you can't be in his job
Robert, EU
We have only heard about Duncan Smith when everyone is saying how bad he is and the allegations have surfaced about him misappropriating tax payers' money to pay his wife. Before, that we have heard nothing from him. For someone who is supposed to be leader of the opposition, he should be getting his voice heard loud and clear. Smith calls himself a quiet man but you can't be in his job.
Robert, EU

IDS has honesty, integrity and decency - all of which we've been very short of in our politicians in recent years. He was elected to do the job so let him get on with it.
Jill, Chapel-en-le-Frith, UK

If only policies and honour counted for anything in politics IDS would be a great leader. Unfortunately in our celebrity-obsessed age that cares more about spin and soundbites than sincerity and substance the fact that IDS lacks charisma is a huge point against him. I'd trust IDS far further than Blair but when people vote for someone because they have a nice smile I despair for British politics. As for the Lib Dems being a credible opposition, don't make me laugh!
John B, UK

The Conservative Party needs a leader that sparks the imagination of the UK Public
Gary McCartney, UK
Clearly, the Conservative Party needs a leader that sparks the imagination of the UK Public. At the time when the Labour leadership was contested, Tony Blair had a dynamic aura, real charisma, the ability to influence, and a cracking voice that made the public sit up and listen. Iain Duncan Smith simply does not gain similar respect, and for the Conservative Party to even dream about becoming an effective opposition party, there needs to be an interesting Leader with whom the public can relate to - someone that people admire, and who can communicate and influence to the heart of the nation.
Gary McCartney, UK

I have read with interest some of the comments on here about IDS, both from supporters and others. Most of them seem to be missing the point. It is not IDS that is the Conservatives biggest problem, it is voters memories that set the biggest tripwire for the Tories, whoever leads them. Many thousands of people were affected very badly by the Conservative propensity for 'boom and bust', we lost our jobs, our businesses and in some cases thousands losts their family homes because of Tory mismanagement of the economy. Whatever you may or may not think about Tony Blair, Gordon Brown et al, what we have had over the past six years is a stable economy, despite some horrendous worldwide pressures.
Lucy, UK

I used to judge party leaders by the Maggie-Major scale of political charisma. Maggie scoring a perfect 10, John coming in with a dull 0 and the rest slotting in between. For the past two years, I have had the dilemma of IDS. Of course he is the new 0 but he has skewed the scoring so much that Major now scores 7. He needs to go.
Toby, Spain




RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific