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EDITIONS
Thursday, 12 July, 2001, 18:40 GMT 19:40 UK
Portillo ahead in Tory race
Michael Portillo
Michael Portillo: Still much interest in his campaign
Michael Portillo has come out on top of the re-run of the first round of the Conservative leadership contest.

But the shadow chancellor only managed to secure 50 out of a possible 166 votes in the poll that saw Michael Ancram knocked out.

First round re-run
Michael Portillo - 50 votes
Iain Duncan Smith - 42 votes
Ken Clarke - 39 votes
David Davis - 18 votes
Michael Ancram - 17 votes
The former Tory chairman came fifth losing by one vote to David Davis with whom he had tied in Tuesday's vote forcing the repeat of the first round.

Right-winger Iain Duncan Smith came second, again beating the former chancellor Ken Clarke into third place.

Later Mr Clarke criticised Mr Duncan Smith, the favourite of the party's Thatcherite right wing, saying he was wrong to suggest that the June election result was a political improvement for the Tories.

Mr Portillo's failure to secure the support of even a third of Tory MPs prompted claims that his campaign had lost momentum - he has picked up just one extra vote since Tuesday's ballot.

Furious chasing

He won 50 votes. Iain Duncan Smith came second with 42, Ken Clarke third with 39, while Mr Davis scraped in fourth with 18 - just one ahead of Mr Ancram's 17.

The first round that never was
Michael Portillo - 49
Iain Duncan Smith - 39
Ken Clarke - 36
David Davis - 21
Michael Ancram - 21
The surviving would-be leaders are now furiously chasing those 17 votes in time for the next knock-out ballot of all 166 Tory MPs.

Despite Mr Portillo maintaining his position at the head of the field, his campaign team had hoped to be able to claim more of a snowball effect.

But the shadow chancellor insisted he was happy to have gained one vote despite what he called a "major onslaught against my campaign" - a reference to the attack on his candidature by the Tory-supporting Daily Mail and Telegraph newspapers.

Ancram: 'No regrets'

Mr Ancram accepted his defeat graciously, saying: "All my life I have always believed it's better to have fought and lost than never to have fought at all."

Michael Ancram
Michael Ancram: Falls at the second fence
He was now going to take some "time out" and ponder on which of the remaining candidates to support.

He added: "Obviously I'm disappointed with the result but I have to say I have no regrets in having stood in this election."

Mr Davis said he would press on with his campaign despite getting three fewer votes in the latest poll.

Battle for votes

He said: "This weekend is going to be a battle for votes."

Mr Clarke was in typically ebullient form after the results were announced, saying there was "all to play for".

He suggested that he could pick up votes from both Mr Davis and Mr Ancram.

That, the former chancellor insisted, would eventually propel him into second or even first place for the crucial run-off vote held by all 300,000 party members.

The victor will be announced on 12 September.

Mr Duncan Smith's camp also pronounced themselves pleased with the result.

The main rival to Mr Portillo said: "It is tight, but it was always going to be tight."

Reactionary

In a speech in London on Thursday evening, Mr Clarke said Mr Duncan Smith was wrong to suggest that the June election result was a political improvement for the Tories.

"I fear that in fact too many people saw us as reactionary, backward looking and obsessed with a narrow agenda," the former chancellor said of his party's election campaign.

He added that there were striking similarities between himself and Mr Portillo.

"We both reject the retreat into the bunker of traditional right wing attitudes and causes, because we both desperately want to see the return of a Conservative government and the defeat of Tony Blair and New Labour."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's John Pienaar
"There still is everything to play for"
The BBC's Andrew Marr
reports from Westminster
Sir Michael Spicer, Chairman 1922 Committee
announcing the results of the second ballot

Recent stories

The final two

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See also:

12 Jul 01 | UK Politics
11 Jul 01 | UK Politics
19 Jul 02 | UK Politics
10 Jul 01 | UK Politics
10 Jul 01 | UK Politics
12 Jul 01 | UK Politics
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