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Monday, 16 July, 2001, 13:10 GMT 14:10 UK
Top Tories tussle for leadership
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
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.
22 August 2001
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.
21 August 2001
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".
20 August 2001
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.
17 July 2001
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."
14 July 2001
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.
13 July 2001
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.
12 July 2001
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.
10 July 2001
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.
27 June 2001
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.
26 June 2001
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
22 June 2001
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
21 June 2001
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.
21 June 2001
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."
19 June 2001
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.
18 June 2001
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".
17 June 2001
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
14 June 2001
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
13 June 2001
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
Michael Portillo's announcement in full
11 June 2001
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.
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