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Friday, 18 October, 2002, 10:45 GMT 11:45 UK
Iain Duncan Smith

Date of birth

9 April 1954

Political profile

After defeating the better known Kenneth Clarke in the leadership contest of 2001, Iain Duncan Smith became the Conservative party's eighth leader since Winston Churchill.

In October 2003, however, after weeks of discontent, his Parliamentary Party called a vote of confidence in his leadership, which he lost by 75 votes to 90.

He had risen to the top incredibly quickly, having been first elected in 1992 and, unlike his predecessor, having no experience of government.

Indeed, he was notable in his first Parliament for his disloyalty, as he was one of the few new MPs to join in the Maastricht rebellions.

Ideologically, he is a classic Thatcherite, with a strong commitment to the free market and to notions of 'family values'.

As Leader, he sought to broaden the Tories' appeal, rarely mentioning the euro, and instead focusing on public services and making the party more "inclusive".

A former army officer, who saw active service in Northern Ireland, he was a shadow defence secretary under William Hague.

He is generally seen as an admirer of US society, and has extensive contacts among Republican politicians and the defence establishment.

Contact

Constituency office 0208 524 4344

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