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 Overview: Iain Duncan Smith
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Critics say that he is bald and unelectable
Critics say that he is bald and unelectable

Iain Duncan Smith is described in some sections of the Tory Party as the darkest of the two dark horse candidates for the leadership, but against all the odds the little known MP triumphed over Michael Portillo in the knock-out stages of the contest.

Now Duncan Smith can take his case directly to the party membership, and fight it out with Ken Clarke for the prize of leading the UK's most historically successful political party.

Of the original field of five Duncan Smith was probably the most right wing of the candidates - and is strongly rumoured to be Baroness Thatcher's preferred choice.

But despite an effective performance as shadow defence secretary, he has struggled to make an impact until his favourable press coverage of the leadership contest.

His Commons performances have often included sharp questions that cause the government to squirm but earlier in the contest it was cruelly said of him that he shared two factors with William Hague: he was bald and unelectable.

Backbenchers know who he is and some party activists - particularly from the Thatcherite right - also recognise him. But outside of Westminster and the Conservative Party clique, he is a far from household name, and a poll for the Guardian suggested that voters see Duncan Smith as a liability as leader while Ken Clarke would be more likely to attract votes.






Audio/Video Clips
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All five candidates head-to-head on Question Time
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Iain Duncan Smith launches his campaign
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William Hague and Duncan Smith get involved in a policy mix-up, January 2001
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The Tory defence spokesman, calls for British troops out of Sierra Leone, September 2000
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