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EDITIONS
Friday, 14 September, 2001, 07:14 GMT 08:14 UK
Reaction to Tory result
Iain Duncan Smith
Mr Duncan Smith now has to unite a divided party
Conservative members have reacted with a mixture of disappointment and delight at the news that Iain Duncan Smith has won the party leadership race.

But responding just minutes after it was announced that the Eurosceptic right-winger had beaten rival Ken Clarke, supporters of the rival camps expressed determination to unite behind the new leader.


I think the party wants to come together

Liam Fox
Mr Clarke was the first to express the hope that under Mr Duncan Smith the Tories would soon see power again.

"I wish him every success in leading the party back to an election victory and he will have all our support in doing that."

And the new leader's predecessor, William Hague, "warmly congratulated" Mr Duncan Smith, whom he had backed in the contest.

"I fervently hope he will be the next Conservative prime minister," said Mr Hague.

Former party chairman Norman Fowler, who backed the former chancellor, expressed "great sadness that we've turned our back on Ken Clarke".

That sentiment was echoed by shadow home secretary Ann Widdecombe who said she was disappointed but urged MPs and party members to unite behind the new leader.

"The real enemy is the enemy opposite us in the House of Commons," she said.

"We all have a part to play in making sure that Iain can win the next general election.

"I always thought that it would be easier with Ken but I never said it was impossible with Iain.

Veteran Eurosceptic and Duncan Smith supporter Bill Cash stressed a need to concentrate on the public services.

One nation?

"If we go back to One Nation politics and think about what Disraeli said, he said 'the Tory party is a national party or it is nothing at all.... that's exactly what the Iain Duncan Smith campaign has been about'," he said.

"Together with the incredibly important contribution that is going to be made on the public services, which is after all what people are concerned about as we can see from the difficulties that [Prime Minister] Tony Blair has."

Liam Fox, the shadow health spokesman under Mr Hague, said: "I think the party will look at the election result where it appears a very large majority have voted for Iain and that should give us all encouragement that we can all pull together."

Constituency views

In Mr Duncan Smith's Chingford constituency rank-and-file party members expressed delight at the outcome.

Derek Mallet said: "I have every confidence that he will unite the party.

"We [party members] can't agree about everything but we are certainly going to agree about the vast majority of things," he said.

Ken Clarke
Mr Clarke will be philosophical but disappointed
John Downes, the chairman of Basingstoke constituency Conservative association and a Clarke backer, said that he had heard Mr Duncan Smith described as the "oblivion candidate".

Fears

"My real fear is that Iain Duncan Smith will lead us into the wilderness and we'll end up as the third party."

He added: "But he [Mr Duncan Smith] may surprise us all and take us back to where the party is supposed to be."

Mr Downes's counterpart in Wokingham, Bill Soane said he was "delighted" at a result which he believed was good for the party and he expressed the hope that Clarke supporters would now unite behind Mr Duncan Smith.

"If it had gone another way I'd still have worked for Conservatism and I hope that will be true of most of the 39% [who voted for Mr Clarke]," he said.

Another Clarke supporter and constituency chairman in Salisbury, John Brady, said he was glad the contest was all over, although he was disappointed on a personal basis.

But he added: "I think that Iain Duncan Smith will make a good leader."



Analysis

Winner and loser

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See also:

13 Sep 01 | UK Politics
11 Sep 01 | UK Politics
08 Sep 01 | UK Politics
07 Sep 01 | UK Politics
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