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Thursday, 13 September, 2001, 18:04 GMT 19:04 UK
Duncan Smith elected Tory leader
Iain Duncan Smith and his wife Betsy arrive at Conservative Central Office
Iain Duncan Smith arrives with wife Betsy
Iain Duncan Smith has been elected leader of the Conservative Party, beating off the challenge of Ken Clarke after an often bitter three-month battle.

He succeeds William Hague after getting the backing of 61% of the vote in the first ever leadership contest decided by party members.

Vote result
Duncan Smith: 155,933 votes, or 61%
Clarke: 100,864 votes, or 39%
Eligible voters: 328,000
Turnout: 256,797, or 79%
The first shadow cabinet appointment swiftly followed as former leadership contender David Davis was given the post of party chairman.

In his victory speech, Mr Duncan Smith gave notice that the Tories would become obsessed with the issues that "obsess" the public, such as health and education.

But he also declared that the "appalling acts" seen in America on Tuesday meant "this is not the day for party politics".

The ballot was delayed 24 hours and scaled down as a mark of respect following the terrorist attacks.

The result was eventually announced on Thursday at 1710 BST inside Conservative Central Office by Sir Michael Spicer, chairman of the Tory backbench 1922 committee.

Election victory

The two contenders shook hands before Mr Clarke offered his congratulations and wished Mr Duncan Smith "every success in leading the party back to election victory".

"He'll have all our support in trying to do that."

Mr Duncan Smith thanked his opponent for his "immensely kind and supportive comments" and also paid tribute to Mr Hague for leading the party with "determination, courage and good humour".

Iain Duncan Smith
Born 9 April 1954
Joined Tory Party in 1981
Married Hon Elizabeth Wynne Fremantle 1982; four children
Unsuccessfully fought Bradford West 1987
Elected MP for Chingford 1992
Shadow social security secretary 1997-99
Shadow defence secretary 1999-2001
Wins Tory leadership September 2001
He went on: "The party I want to lead will be an effective opposition to this government.

"It will campaign on the issues that matter to people, the things that affect them most in their daily lives, that obsess them, these must become the things that obsess us.

"The state of their public services, health, welfare, education and the environment.

"We will campaign on these and we will plan to take the government on over these major issues."

But those were the only partisan comments Mr Duncan Smith was prepared to make as he reflected the prevailing mood over events in America.

The new Tory leader offered full support for President George W Bush and Tony Blair's action against the terrorist forces responsible for the atrocities.

Act of war

"What President Bush called 'an act of war' must not go unpunished," Mr Duncan Smith said.

He echoed both leaders' insistence that the terror attacks were an attack on all democratic nations.

Mr Duncan Smith promised he would say more on the issue during the emergency recall of parliament on Friday - his first opportunity to establish his statesmanlike credentials.

Ken Clarke
Mr Clarke fell at the last hurdle
He concluded: "Therefore today in thanking my party for the honour they have given me, it remains for me simply to offer my prayers and condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives and to assure them that in this matter we in the Conservative Party with me as leader, will do all that we can to ensure that (in) our response to this tragedy we will show that we are a nation united."

For the same reason Labour is not commenting on the new Tory leader, a spokesman saying "now is not the time for that".

The tragic events across the Atlantic should also keep what would otherwise be a harsh media spotlight away from Mr Duncan Smith's first days in office.

On a practical level, he can look forward to fringe benefits of being opposition leader such as an official car, a salary of 119,979 and 524,799 to fund his office.

However, the scale of the task he faces is huge as he starts on the long road to reviving a party in crisis.

The BBC's Mark Mardell
"Iain Duncan Smith is wasting no time at all"
The BBC's Laura Trevelyan
profiles the Conservative's new leader
Sir Michael Spicer, of the 1922 Committee
with the election results
Iain Duncan Smith
makes his victory speech


Winner and loser



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