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Monday, 16 July, 2001, 13:10 GMT 14:10 UK
Top Tories tussle for leadership
Iain Duncan Smith and Ken larke battle to become the next leader of the UK Conservative Party
The gloves come off as Iain Duncan Smith and Ken Clarke enter the final stages of the battle for the Tory leadership. BBC News Online brings you full coverage of the key events as the party's 300,000 members cast their votes:

Click below to see how the contest has developed.


22 August 2001
Candidates in TV debate

A handshake between the two candidates
The two candidates meet ahead of the only TV debate of the campaign

Europe proved a key flashpoint as Ken Clarke and Iain Duncan Smith went to battle in the only head-to-head debate of the Conservative leadership campaign. Iain Duncan Smith was accused of wanting to take Britain out of the EU. Ken Clarke was accused of being at odds with the rest of the party.

 The BBC's Jo Coburn reports
 The TV debate in full
 The verdict from experts and viewers


22 August 2001
John Major backs Clarke

Former Conservative PM John Major
Former Conservative PM John Major

John Major has backed Ken Clarke, saying he was the candidate most likely to get the Conservatives back in power. He also hit out at Lady Thatcher accusing her of undermining him as Prime Minister by encouraging backbenchers including Iain Duncan Smith to vote against his government on Europe.

 The BBC's Guto Harri reports
 John Major on the Today programme


21 August 2001
Lady Thatcher weighs in

Former Conservative Prime Minister Lady Thatcher
Former PM Lady Thatcher

In a letter to the Daily Telegraph, former Conservative Prime Minister Lady Thatcher threw her support behind Iain Duncan Smith and said Ken Clarke would steer the party to "disaster".

 The BBC's Shaun Ley reports



20 August 2001
The ballot begins


300,000 ballot papers for the leadership election are being sent out.

The main contenders set out their plans as ballots are sent out to party members. Kenneth Clarke and his rival, Iain Duncan Smith, have been permitted to send one mailshot each with the ballot papers and party members have three weeks to cast their votes.

 The BBC's Guto Harri reports


Click below to see the manifesto launches.  Kenneth Clarke manifesto launch
 Iain Duncan Smith manifesto launch


17 July 2001
Loser Portillo quits Tory frontline

Loser Michael Portillo
Loser Michael Portillo

Ken Clarke surprisingly tops the final round of the Tory MPs' leadership ballot with Iain Duncan Smith second, eliminating Michael Portillo. Speaking minutes after the result was announced Mr Portillo told BBC News: "I don't intend ever to be on the frontbench again and for the avoidance of doubt I'm not interested in the leadership."

 The BBC's Mark Mardell reports



14 July 2001
Duncan Smith the new favourite

Iain Duncan Smith remains cautious about his prospects
Iain Duncan Smith remains cautious about his prospects

Shadow defence secretary Iain Duncan Smith has emerged as the favourite to succeed William Hague as Conservative Pary leader. Both his rivals, Michael Portillo and Ken Clarke, admit that the right-wing Mr Duncan Smith is likely to top the poll of Tory MPs when they vote on Tuesday.

 The BBC's Tim Finch reports



13 July 2001
Davis quits Tory leadership race

David Davis
David Davis

David Davis has pulled out of the Tory leadership race. The decision came after he secured fourth place in the re-run first round of MPs votes in the contest, where he scored just one vote more than Michael Ancram who came last. As MPs faced a new wave of bids for their votes, Mr Davis announced he would now be backing Iain Duncan Smith.

 The BBC's John Pienaar reports


 David Davis talks to the BBC about his reasons for quitting



12 July 2001
Portillo ahead after first round proper

Michael Ancram admits defeat
Michael Ancram admits defeat

Michael Portillo won the re-run Tory leadership battle among MPs, with former party chairman Michael Ancram eliminated from the next round of voting after coming last.

  The BBC's Mark Mardell reports



10 July 2001
First vote fails to convince

Michael Portillo would have liked more votes in the first round.
Michael Portillo would have liked more votes in the first round.

Michael Portillo wins a chaotic first ballot of Tory MPs for the party leadership - but a re-run was immediately ordered after two candidates, David Davis and Michael Ancram tied for last place. The BBC's Mark Mardell reports.

 Click here to watch


27 June 2001
Tories elect new 1922 chairman

Sir Michael Spicer
Sir Michael Spicer

Senior Conservative MP Sir Michael Spicer is elected by his colleagues to represent them as the new chairman of the 1922 committee. His first and most important task is to organise the party's complex process of choosing a new leader to replace William Hague.

 Click here to watch


26 June 2001
Clarke enters battle

Ken Clarke announces his bid for the Tory leadership
Ken Clarke announces his bid for the Tory leadership

Former Chancellor Ken Clarke says only he and Michael Portillo could win an election for the Tories, who must end their divisions over Europe. The BBC's Tim Finch reports

 Click here to watch


22 June 2001
Clarke's secret Tory leadership decision

Ken Clarke arrives home from Vietnam
Ken Clarke arrives home from Vietnam

Former chancellor Ken Clarke comes to a decision on whether to join the Conservative leadership race, but refuses to say what it is. The BBC's Mark Mardell reports

 Click here to watch


21 June 2001
Ancram enters Tory race

UK Conservative Party Chairman Michael Ancram
UK Conservative Party Chairman Michael Ancram

Michael Ancram announces that he is to run for the Tory leadership. He puts his name forward because so many people inside and outside parliament convinced him that he could not "stand aside" from the battle to be fought.

 Click here to watch Michael Ancram's announcement


21 June 2001
Portillo launches manifesto

Michael Portillo
Michael Portillo

Michael Portillo sets out his personal manifesto for the Conservative Party's future. Speaking at his official campaign launch in London, he tells his audience of supporters: "We need to have the courage to make the change."

 Listen to the Portillo speech


19 June 2001
Tory right join the fight

David Davis and Iain Duncan-Smith
David Davis and Iain Duncan-Smith

Two more Conservative MPs from the Eurosceptic right of the party formally launch their bids to succeed William Hague as Tory leader. Shadow defence secretary Iain Duncan Smith says the party needed to broaden its appeal. David Davis, the former Europe minister, says he wanted to build a modern Conservative Party ready to take office again.

 Iain Duncan Smith launches his campaign

 David Davis launches his campaign

 The BBC's John Pienaar reports


18 June 2001
Widdecombe pulls out

Ann Widdecombe MP
Widdecombe will not serve under Portillo

Ann Widdecombe pulls out of the race to lead the Conservative Party. She delivers her announcement on an east London housing estate, saying she would be happy to serve under any of the contenders except Michael Portillo - whose close aides and allies she has previously denounced as "backbiters".

 Click here to watch her statement: 56k


17 June 2001
Major praises Portillo

Former Conservative Prime Minister, John Major
John Major talks to David Frost

When the last Conservative prime minister John Major was caught on tape referring to the right-wing "bastards" in his cabinet, Michael Portillo was generally taken to be one of them. Now, though, Mr Major praises Mr Portillo for moving back to the centre of the party - although he stopped short of endorsing him.

Robin Chrystal reports
 Click here to watch: 56k

John Major speaks to David Frost
 Click here to watch: 56k
Click here for full transcript


14 June 2001
Clarke undecided

Kenneth Clarke is pondering whether or not to put his name forward
Kenneth Clarke is pondering whether or not to put his name forward

Former Conservative chancellor Ken Clarke says he still wants to be Tory leader but has yet to decide whether the party is ready to be led by a pro-European. Mr Clarke tells the BBC: "I would like to be leader of the Conservative Party and I have not given up my ambitions to be prime minister."

Mr. Clarke's statement
 Click here to watch: 56k


13 June 2001
Portillo launches his bid

Portillo announces his candidacy
Portillo announces his candidacy

Michael Portillo announces his candidacy for the leadership stressing the need to build an inclusive Tory Party. Launching his bid, he says: "We need to adopt a tone that is moderate and understanding. We need to be talking about the issues that they [the public] are talking about."

Andrew Marr reports
 Click here to watch: 56k

Michael Portillo's announcement in full
 Click here to watch: 56k


11 June 2001
Portillo set to stand

Michael Portillo: the bookies' favourite
Michael Portillo: the bookies' favourite

After recuperating from the Conservative election defeat in Morocco, Michael Portillo returns amid confident predictions he will stand for leader. But already rivals are sharpening their knives. Right-winger Ann Widdecombe is canvassing for support while Ken Clarke, holder of the One Nation torch, is considering his position.

Martha Kearney reports.
 Click here to watch: 56k


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