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2001: Duncan Smith is new Tory leader

A relatively unknown former soldier and standard bearer of the Tory right has been elected the new leader of the Conservative Party.

Iain Duncan Smith won 61% of the votes, soundly beating his rival Ken Clarke in a ballot of over 300,000 Tory members.

The result was due to be announced on 12 September, but was delayed because of the terror attacks in the United States.

Mr Duncan Smith is the third Tory leader in four years after William

Hague stepped down in the wake of the Conservatives' defeat on 7 June.

Mr Duncan Smith announced his top team soon after the result was published:

His choice of two beaten contenders - Mr Ancram and Mr Davis - was designed to help heal some of the deep rifts which still plague the party

'Right-wing image'

But some Tory MPs are nervous that the rebel who publicly opposed the government policy on Europe during John Major's premiership should now be leading the party.

Anthony Steen, Conservative MP for Totnes, said he doubted the Eurosceptic Mr Duncan Smith could lead the party to election victory.

"If he can rid himself of his extreme right-wing image, I think he stands a very much better chance," he told the BBC.

The new Tory chief faces the prime minister for the first time on 14 September in a House of Commons emergency debate about the attack on America.

But he pledged his support for Tony Blair in his first public speech as leader.

"My party will stand shoulder to shoulder with the prime minister and his government in supporting our friends and allies in the US during this tragic time," he said.

In Context
Iain Duncan Smith's first few months as Tory leader were characterised by actions which seemed to belie his position on the right of the party.

In October 2001 he forced three conservative MPs to quit the right-wing Monday Club - a group which advocated voluntary repatriation of immigrants.

Mr Duncan Smith also sacked his shadow rural affairs minister after she told a racist joke at a rugby club dinner.

In November 2002, he urged his party to "unite or die" in response to persistent whisperings of a challenge to his leadership.

He was ousted after narrowly failing to win the backing of enough MPs in a vote of confidence on 29 October 2003.


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