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Saturday, 1 September, 2001, 14:54 GMT 15:54 UK
Duncan Smith on campaign march
Iain Duncan Smith
Iain Duncan Smith rallied the troops Churchillian-style
Tory leadership hopeful Iain Duncan Smith rouses the party faithful north of the Border with a Churchillian-style address.

Following a 10-minute speech to 500 members gathered in Perth the rightwinger said he retained an open mind on the future of Scotland's public spending settlement.

Mr Duncan Smith said: "It would be arrogant of me to come here to Scotland and argue about funding for the country."

Iain Duncan Smith receives a standing ovation from some
The former army man¿s address was filled with military metaphors.

And his final message "come with me, together united, we know where the enemy is and we can taken them on" went down well, and sections of the audience responded with a standing ovation.

In response to a question on his "big idea", Mr Duncan Smith said it would not be about Europe.

"My big idea is on the matter of public services.

"Failure to deliver here is one of the most shocking crimes a government can commit and the government, on both sides of the border, have committed that crime," he said.

Europe on agenda

Mr Duncan Smith admitted that the 1997 defeat left the party "deeply scarred" and at this year's election people were so disillusioned with the Tories they decided not to vote at all.

But the European question was raised.

The former shadow defence spokesman turned on the Labour government and said: "Mr Blair is scared of a referendum, I say bring it on, we will chase him and we will chase him on health, and on education and here in Scotland you will chase the executive in the same way."

Questions on youth membership, the future of the chairman of the Scottish Tories and asylum seekers were also asked.

Earlier on Saturday the head of Scotland's Tories, David McLetchie, urged party members to get behind whichever candidate wins the leadership battle.

The party's London headquarters announced on Friday that more than half of its members had already voted in the leadership contest.

Acting Tory chairman David Prior said that 181,300 votes - from the 318,000 membership - had been cast at the half way stage in the ballot.

With voting due to close in 11 days time, both candidates now know how many votes are still up for grabs.

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See also:

01 Sep 01 | Scotland
European question rattles Clarke
01 Sep 01 | Scotland
Tories hear unity call
01 Sep 01 | Scotland
Scots Tory conference - agenda
01 Sep 01 | Scotland
Scots quiz Tory hopefuls
01 Sep 01 | Scotland
McLetchie makes Tory unity plea
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