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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 11 September, 2001, 17:58 GMT 18:58 UK
Tories suspend leadership contest
Iain Duncan Smith and Kenneth Clarke
The Conservatives have put off announcing who has won the ballot to be the next Tory leader until Thursday.

Outgoing leader William Hague said the move was a mark of respect to those killed in the devastating terrorist attacks which hit the US on Tuesday.


I have decided to cancel the party meeting ... as a mark of respect to those who have lost their lives

William Hague
Speaking outside Conservative Central Office, Mr Hague said the plane attacks on the World Trade building in New York and on the Pentagon in Washington, DC, were a "monstrous act of war against the civilised world".

He said: "In the light of these events and in consultation with the candidates for the party leadership and the returning officer I have decided to cancel the party meeting that was scheduled to take place to greet the new party leader as a mark of respect to those who have lost their lives.

Simple statement

"And as an added mark of respect I have decided to postpone the counting of votes in the leadership election for 24 hours."

"Whoever has committed these atrocities has committed a monstrous act of war against the civilised world," Mr Hague added.

World Trade Center
Mr Hague expressed sympathy for the victims of the attacks
The result would be announced in a "simple statement" on Thursday, he said.

Ken Clarke and Iain Duncan Smith had been expecting to hear on Wednesday whether they would be elected in the poll of the Tory rank-and-file.

Voting in the three month contest ended on noon on Tuesday. Counting had been due to start at 0800 on Wednesday, but has now been delayed by 24 hours.

Earlier Prime Minister Tony Blair was forced to leave the TUC conference without making his planned speech to delegates. He instead headed back to London for an emergency meeting with cabinet colleagues.

Duncan Smith 'shocked'

The company running the contest for the Tories, Electoral Reform Ballot Services, was due to be checking and sorting the votes before storing them securely overnight.

Mr Duncan Smith lent his voice to those expressing horror at the disasters.

His spokesman said the shadow defence secretary was "shocked and horrified" by the day's events and had written to American defence secretary Donald Rumsfield and the US ambassador in London expressing his "concerns and condolences".


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