Page last updated at 15:12 GMT, Tuesday, 28 October 2003

Tory leader's statements in full

This is the text of the statement Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith delivered outside Conservative Central Office after it was announced he would have to face a confidence vote.

All of you gathered will know that yesterday I called on the parliamentary party to end this ludicrous leadership speculation that's been going on for the last few weeks and I said to end it by Wednesday.

Iain Duncan Smith outside Conservative Central Office
Mr Duncan Smith was in uncompromising mood

I can therefore say today that I welcome and am pleased that we will have an opportunity to do that tomorrow.

I will absolutely submit my name for a renewed mandate to lead the party to the general election, to lead it to the general election and win.

And I say to my colleagues who will be responsible for making this decision tomorrow that we have an unrivalled opportunity to take the fight to Labour at a time when they are failing and they are being seen to fail.

We should not now let the government off the hook by giving them this opportunity, by plunging ourselves into a fractious leadership election that could last months and give the government an opportunity to escape proper scrutiny.

Tomorrow I will address the '22 Committee, my colleagues, and urge them to renew that mandate for me to go forward, and to put an end finally, once and for all, to the speculation that has been sapping away at this party so that we can as the opposition deliver a blow to the government and support British people who will be concerned if we do anything else.

We have a chance for them to take this government to task and to win the next election.


The Tory leader also issued a written statement through Conservative Central Office.

I am pleased that the parliamentary party has responded to my call for a swift resolution.

I welcome the fact that this matter will now be decided quickly, openly and in the clear light of day, and I look forward to addressing the 1922 Committee tomorrow to make the case for my continued leadership of this party.

I believe that I have achieved a lot during the last two years.

Following a second general election defeat and a divisive leadership contest, the Conservative Party was 20 points behind in the opinion polls.

We are now equal with Labour in the polls, and we have become the largest party of local government.

A change of leadership at this stage will be regarded with despair and contempt by many loyal supporters
But I do not seek a vote of confidence solely on my past record. I seek the approval of my colleagues for the campaign that is now beginning.

A vote of confidence in me will ensure we immediately start communicating to the British people the Conservative alternative to Labour.

A vote of confidence in me can maintain the party unity on tax and Europe which we have achieved over the last two years - and ensure that we remain committed to the far-reaching set of policies in health, education, pensions, policing and asylum which we unveiled in Blackpool this month.

I regard it as my duty to warn my party that a change of leadership at this stage will be regarded with despair and contempt by many loyal supporters, and gravely imperil the party's prospects at the next election.

I know I have the confidence of the grass roots - and I look forward to their original election of me, and their continued support, being validated by my parliamentary colleagues.

Then, united behind my leadership, we can begin the campaign to win the next election.


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Iain Duncan Smith, Conservative leader
"I will absolutely submit my name for a renewed mandate to lead the party to the general election"



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