A New Chance For Britain's Tories?

Conservative party leader Iain Duncan Smith's defeat in a confidence vote by Tory MPs on Oct. 29 may mark at least a temporary end to internecine warfare inside the party. In the wake of Duncan Smith's departure, Tory MPs may rally around a single candidate, former Home Secretary Michael Howard. He is considered the figure in the party best suited to make inroads against Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair. Duncan Smith had failed to capitalize on public anger over Blair's Iraq policy. Despite his likely election as Tory leader, Howard is seen as lacking the personal warmth necessary to attract ordinary voters. Party grandees believe the Conservatives need a major turnaround to avoid another defeat in the next general election, expected in 2005.

Edited by Rose Brady

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