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  MiP files: A new leader for the Tories?
Updated 28 October 2003, 16.04
Man in Parliament
Our Man in Parliament unlocks some of the secrets of the most powerful place in Britain - Parliament.

Here he explains why the leader of the Conservative Party is battling to stay in charge.


I've just rushed back from watching one of our top politicians fighting to save his job!

Iain Duncan Smith
Iain Duncan Smith
Iain Duncan Smith has only been in charge of the Conservative Party - the main opponents to Tony Blair's Labour Party - for a couple of years.

Fight on

But now he is facing the sack - and could lose his job as soon as tomorrow!

He's been telling us that he's determined to fight on.

So why is he in this situation?

Word of warning - it's pretty complicated.

Gossiping politicians

Francis Maude
One of the MPs who's asked for the vote
Mr Duncan Smith was voted leader by party members in 2001.

But ever since then there has been gossiping by some politicians in parliament about whether he's any good at the job.

He says he has the support of thousands of Conservative members - and says he feels he's doing well at attacking Tony Blair and his government.

But the rumours and gossiping have just gone on and on.

Important vote

So much so that there are now at least 25 Conservative politicians who want Mr Duncan Smith to quit as party leader.

Ballot box
MPs will vote on Wednesday
And under the party's rules, that's enough to force a vote of confidence in him.

It means that on Wednesday, all the 165 Conservative members of parliament will vote on whether they reckon Mr Duncan Smith is up to the job.

If he doesn't get the support of a majority of them - in other words at least 83 people - that's it, he's lost the job.

That would mean another election - for a new party leader.

Told you it was complicated!

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