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The BBC's Mark Mardell
"Europe is the red meat of this debate"
 real 56k

The BBC's Nick Robinson
"A last moment in the limelight ,for the man Clarke and Smith are trying to replace"
 real 56k

The BBC's Mark Mardell
weighs up the contenders
 real 56k

Leadership candidate Kenneth Clarke
"We need to develop policies on a wider range of issues"
 real 28k

Duncan-Smith supporter Bernard Jenkin
"Iain Duncan Smith is pursuing a positive agenda"
 real 28k

Michael Portillo MP
"The time has come for me to look for other things to do"
 real 56k

The BBC's John Pienaar
"Iain Duncan-Smith is counting on the party's eurosceptic, right wing instincts"
 real 56k

Thursday, 19 July, 2001, 03:39 GMT 04:39 UK
Clarke and Duncan Smith battle on

The contest to be the next leader of the Conservative Party continues on Thursday with Ken Clarke spending the day in Westminster talking to supporters of defeated leadership hopeful Michael Portillo.

Meanwhile Mr Clarke's rival, Iain Duncan Smith, is due to conduct a whistlestop tour of the south of England visiting Tory members in Basingstoke and the Isle of Wight.


It is two wings of the party that have co-existed as long as I have been in politics and what the electorate has to decide is which emphasis they are going for

Iain Duncan Smith
Both men will continue setting out their stalls for the job left vacant by William Hague in the wake of the Tory's second landslide defeat at the hands of New Labour.

On Wednesday, Mr Clarke - whose pro-European views put him in stark contrast to those of Mr Duncan Smith - warned that "headbangers" must not be allowed to wreck the party over Europe.

Mr Clarke told a news conference on Wednesday that public services must be put before Europe - and said he brought in many of the major post-war reforms to schools and hospitals.

Meanwhile, Mr Duncan Smith has already visited Shropshire as part of his attempt to woo the Conservative rank and file since coming second in the final ballot of Tory MPs.

All 330,000 party members now have a chance to vote for the two surviving contenders in a postal ballot with the result announced on 12 September.

Ballot recriminations

Recriminations have already started over Tuesday's final secret ballot of MPs.

There are reports that a member of Mr Portillo's campaign team defected at the last minute to Mr Duncan Smith, who beat the shadow chancellor by one vote.

It appears the pro-euro Mr Clarke was boosted by Eurosceptic supporters of Mr Duncan Smith desperate to stop Mr Portillo.

Michael Portillo
Michael Portillo plans to abandon frontline politics
Some senior party members fear the deep divisions over Europe could tear the party apart.

And there are suggestions that Eurosceptic members are saying they will resign if Mr Clarke becomes leader, with some on the left threatening similar action should Mr Duncan Smith win.

Unity

Mr Clarke told his news conference that the same people on the right now threatening to leave the party over Europe were those recently calling for unity.

"We wrecked the party in the past 10 years on Europe and headbangers on either side will wreck it again if we let them".

Later, Mr Clarke suggested party members faced a choice between his "reforming agenda" and the "status quo" favoured by his rival.

"It is two wings of the party that have co-existed as long as I have been in politics and what the electorate has to decide is which emphasis they are going for."

MPs final vote
Ken Clarke - 59
Iain Duncan Smith - 54
Michael Portillo - 53
Bernard Jenkin, campaign manager for Mr Duncan Smith denied the shadow defence secretary was out of touch with the modern world.

He said his team had radical ideas on health and education and was not obsessed by Europe.

Name calling

"The only person who is name calling on Europe is Ken and I don't think the Conservative party wants to get dragged down that road," he said.

Portillo supporters fear divisions despite the words of Mr Clarke, who has again appealed for Mr Portillo to reconsider his decision to quit frontline politics.

Conservative vice-chairman Steve Norris suggested he might quit the Tories - or even defect to another party - if Mr Duncan Smith became leader.

Asked by BBC Radio Five Live whether he should not accept the democratic choice of his party, he said he had a right to look at all parties to see which one reflected his views.

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See also:

17 Jul 01 | UK Politics
Picture gallery: Tory leadership
17 Jul 01 | Talking Point
Who should lead the Tories?
16 Jul 01 | Business
Business backing for Portillo
15 Jul 01 | UK Politics
Portillo camp hit by Platell video
14 Jul 01 | UK Politics
Portillo 'expects to finish second'
13 Jul 01 | UK Politics
Tory race on knife edge
13 Jul 01 | UK Politics
And then there were three
10 Jul 01 | UK Politics
Portillo under fire as Tory vote opens
 | UK Politics
Portillo's dark days
16 Jul 01 | UK Politics
Tortuous Tory campaign goes to wire
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