IDS vows to lead Tories into next election

Embattled Tory party leader Iain Duncan Smith has pledged to fight on and lead the Conservative Party into the next election.

At a press conference held today in the East Midlands, Mr Duncan Smith sought to focus on Tory party policy issues, while fielding questions from reporters about the speculation surrounding his future as Tory leader.

Mr Duncan Smith said there was "no question" about his leadership of the party only who would be leading the next government. "It will be me," he asserted.

However, speculation continues unabated following the public withdrawal of support by one of the Tory party's top financial backers. Yesterday, Stuart Wheeler withdrew support, and in the wake of this revelation Mr Duncan Smith has faced a call for a vote of confidence from former party chief whip Derek Conway.

Senior Tory figures, including former party leaders William Hague and John Major, have attempted top shore up support for Mr Duncan Smith whose leadership of the party has been placed in the spotlight since allegations emerged over the running of his office last week.

The allegations over the financial running of Mr Duncan Smith's office, in particular the employment of his wife as a secretary, are to be investigated by Commons watchdog Sir Philip Mawer - a move welcomed by the party leader.

For his part Sir Philip has pointed to the fact that as the allegations have been made anonymously, they should therefore be fully investigated to ascertain if there is any substance to them.

However, even a favourable outcome of the investigations, which are expected to take several weeks, is unlikely to come in time assist Mr Duncan Smiths current plight.

Deputy leader Michael Ancram in an interview for BBC Radio 4 said that at a meeting of Conservative MPs last night the issue had not been raised, and reasserted that the party should be backing Mr Duncan Smith who had the support of the shadow cabinet.

Under Tory Party rules a vote of confidence will be triggered if the 1922 backbench committee receive 25 letters supporting a motion of no confidence.


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