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Will the Tory race be affected by IDS’s political ping pong?

July 31st, 2005

    Ousted leader: “threatening to leave the party”

With the Tories gearing themselves up for an intense autumn when it will be decided whether Michael Howard’s successor should be elected by a ballot of the party membership the man ousted by the parliamentary party in October 2003, Ian Duncan Smith, is reported to be threatening to resign his membership.

According to the Sunday Telegraph this morning IDS has “told colleagues that he will take the extraordinary step if two people he blames particularly for his downfall are allowed to stand as Tories at the next election.”

The report, by the paper’s Political Editor, Patrick Hennessy, says he would leave the party to become an independent if Vanessa Gearson and Mark MacGregor are selected as Tory candidates. The two “played leading roles in the “Betsygate” affair which saw Mr Duncan Smith accused of sanctioning improper payments to his wife. Both fought last May’s election unsuccessfully and are understood to want to stand again next time.”

This latest move might be part of IDS’s campaign to ensure that it is party members and not the party’s MPs that should have the final say in deciding who the next leader should be. It was this system that saw IDS win emphatically in 2001.

Given that the Tory leadership contest is the most active political betting market at the moment the system of choosing could have a huge impact on the final result.

This site, meanwhile, gets a mention in the Atticus column in the Sunday Times today following the discussion on the political impact of baldness.


Mike Smithson

Our featured picture is courtesy of http://www.larrytt.com/celebrities_playing_tt/ which has a round-up of politicians playing table tennis






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