- The Washington Times - Friday, September 14, 2001

LONDON (AP) — The opposition Conservative Party chose Iain Duncan Smith, the favorite candidate of Margaret Thatcher, as its new leader yesterday.
The choice marked a turn to the right amid warnings from some who feared his selection would doom the Tories to political irrelevance.
In a two-man race decided by party members, Mr. Duncan Smith handily beat veteran officeholder Kenneth Clarke, with 155,933 votes, or 61 percent, to Mr. Clarke's 100,864, or 39 percent.
Mr. Duncan Smith, the party's defense spokesman, was until recently a little-known member of the party's more conservative wing.
Under Britain's parliamentary system, Mr. Duncan Smith would become prime minister if the Conservatives win the next national election, probably at least four years off.
"The party I want to lead will be an effective opposition to this government. It will campaign on the issues that matter to people, the things that affect them most in their daily lives the state of their public services, health, welfare, education and the environment," Mr. Duncan Smith said.
Mr. Duncan Smith's staunch opposition to greater British involvement in the European Union — and a promise never to join the continent's single currency — appealed to Tories worried by Mr. Clarke's pro-European stance.
Mr. Duncan Smith, 47, had the backing of Mrs. Thatcher, the former prime minister.
But some prominent Tories, including Mrs. Thatcher's successor, John Major, said Mr. Clarke's more moderate politics and the respect he commands among many Britons would have given the battered party a better chance of regaining power.
Prime Minister Tony Blair's Labor Party clobbered the Conservatives for the second time in general elections this June, prompting then-Conservative leader William Hague to announce the next morning that he would step down.
Many blamed the party's failure on Mr. Hague's relentless campaign against the euro single currency, an issue that seemed a low priority to voters.

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