BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in: UK Politics
Front Page 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Friday, 8 February, 2002, 09:39 GMT
'No dummy for Duncan Smith'
William Hague
Hague's waxwork has now been melted down
Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith will not be immortalised in wax at London's Madame Tussauds because the museum thinks he is too uninspiring, it is reported.

Since the waxworks museum opened at its current site in 1884, it has made models of every major political leader, including Mr Duncan Smith's predecessor, William Hague.

Nobody ever talks about Mr Duncan Smith, and the people who do know who he is do not seem to care less about him either way

Madame Tussauds spokeswoman
A Madame Tussauds spokeswoman told The Times: "We want figures who will inspire strong emotions and provoke strong reactions.

"In our view, Mr Duncan Smith, who most people have never even heard of, is unlikely to achieve either of those feats. Ever.

"He is hardly in the news, nobody ever talks about him, and the people who do know who he is do not seem to care less about him either way."


Prime Minister Tony Blair entered the museum while Opposition leader in 1995 and Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy is also included among the waxworks.

John Major, Margaret Thatcher and Sir Winston Churchill are other former Conservative leaders still on display, although Mr Hague's has now been melted down.

Iain Duncan Smith
Duncan Smith is too dull, say Madame Tussauds

And Ken Clarke, the man Mr Duncan Smith beat to the leadership, is also among the exhibits.

Each model costs around 40,000 to create and takes hundreds of measurements and countless photos to be perfected.

Strong characters

Mr Major's image is apparently soon to be taken out of the exhibition but those for Sir Winston and Baroness Thatcher will remain.

The spokeswoman said: "They will both stay forever as, like her or hate her, Mrs Thatcher does excite considerable feelings one way or the other."

That was more than could be said for Mr Duncan Smith, she argued, adding: "We have not got room for lifeless figures."

In the early days of his leadership, cartoonist Gerald Scarfe and television impressionist Rory Bremner said they found it difficult to get a handle on Mr Duncan Smith.

Complaining the Tory leader had a "blank face", Mr Scarfe said: "Maybe I should just leave a blank circle and the readers could fill in their own features for the time being until he does something."

News of the snub from Madame Tussauds comes in the week MPs agreed to change their rules so a new marble statue of Baroness Thatcher can be displayed inside the Palace of Westminster during her lifetime.

A Conservative Party spokesman declined to comment on the report.

The BBC's Emma Howard
"He is the first leader of a main political party who will not be on display"
See also:

07 Feb 02 | UK Politics
Tories start the reinvention
06 Feb 02 | UK Politics
Thatcher statue to enter Commons
04 Apr 00 | UK
Lib Dem leader sees double
19 Jul 01 | Showbiz
Plaque for Madame Tussaud
17 Oct 01 | UK Politics
Tory leader 'bad cartoon material'
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more UK Politics stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK Politics stories