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Tuesday, 5 November, 2002, 14:49 GMT
Reaction to Duncan Smith's speech
Iain Duncan Smith
Tory MPs challenged Mr Duncan Smith's stance
As he took on his critics on Tuesday, Iain Duncan Smith accused a small group of Conservative MPs of consciously trying to undermine his leadership.

Here's how some of the key players in the crisis have reacted to Mr Duncan Smith's "unite or die" message.

Ken Clarke, former leadership challenger and one of Monday's rebels MPs:

"It would be very much easier to unite as party if Iain Duncan Smith would refrain from imposing three-line whips on subjects which have always been left to the judgement of individual MPs.

"I continue to be in favour of allowing heterosexual couples of adopt children after they have been vetted as suitable by the adoption agency and that is what last night's vote was about."

Michael Portillo, the other former leadership candidate who joined the debate.

"I have publicly supported Iain Duncan Smith's leadership in recent weeks on the Frost programme, at the 1922 Committee and on Channel 5.

"I voted against a three-line whip for the first time in my life because I believed it was wrong and inconsistent to use coercion on adoption, and that was my only reason for doing so.

"I reject entirely the unwarranted misinterpretation of the motives of those tens of MPs who were unable to support the party last night."

Ann Widdecombe, former shadow home secretary, who thought the statement was overdue

There are those of use who have now been saying for some time that we watched the Labour Party do this for 18 years.

All they ever did was fight among themselves for the soul of the party and did not seem to appreciate that unless you get into power you cannot do anything about anything.

We have got a choice of either learning from having watched that or of going down the same route and having all the frustration of watching the other party get elected the whole time."

Francis Maude, former shadow foreign secretary who was among the rebel MPs on Monday.

"I don't regard this as an act of disloyalty to Iain any more than he would have regarded his voting against John Major's government in the early 1990s as an act of disloyalty to John Major.

"This is an issue on which I felt very strongly, Iain felt strongly about the Maastricht Treaty."

Anthony Steen, a Tory MP accused of briefing against Mr Duncan Smith, said "he doesn't read the writing on the wall", arguing that everything the party leader was doing was making it impossible for him to succeed.

Tim Yeo, shadow culture secretary

"I thought it was a very strong message and I am confident the party will unite behind him."

John Reid, Labour Party Chairman

"We now have a leader who is incapable of leading presiding over a party which does not want to be lead."

The BBC's Jonathan Beale
"This is a humiliating snub to Iain Duncan Smith"
The BBC's Jo Coburn
"It's very serious"

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See also:

04 Nov 02 | Politics
04 Nov 02 | Politics
04 Nov 02 | Politics
03 Nov 02 | Politics
04 Nov 02 | Politics
16 Oct 02 | UK
04 Oct 02 | Politics

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