Deposed leader bids adieu

IAIN DUNCAN SMITH was supported by a grim-faced shadow cabinet last night as he gave his farewell speech.

Scores of journalists and members of the public gathered outside Conservative Central Office in the heart of London to hear the outcome of the vote. Many of those assembled in the cold were confident that yesterday would be Mr Duncan Smith’s last as party leader.

One or two rumours spread that the Tory leader had survived, but as Big Ben struck seven word of his demise spread round the waiting press and public like wild fire.

Within minutes, the deposed leader’s frontbench team filed out in front of Tory headquarters. If any of them had secretly welcomed the result, they were showing no outward signs.

Applause greeted their outgoing boss, who was accompanied as usual by his wife Betsy.

When he gave his brief but dignified speech, many key shadow cabinet members nodded emphatically as he spoke of the party’s main goals.

One head notably not nodding was Michael Howard’s.

Oliver Letwin, however, clasped his hands together as he listened to the speech in apparent dismay.

As Mr Duncan Smith paid tribute to his wife and family applause broke out once again and Mrs Duncan Smith smiled benignly at the crowd of cameras.

The rejected party leader made his way inside Central Office, only to leave the building 10 minutes later.

He and his wife waved to the crowds before getting into a grey Vauxhall Omega amid applause from the party faithful.

The crowds quickly dispersed, leaving journalists to gather reaction from Mr Duncan Smith’s colleague, Shadow work and pensions secretary David Willetts:

“Iain has accepted the result very graciously. I hope that the party now shows common sense and builds on what Iain has achieved.

“I would have wished for him to carry on. I think historians will say that he achieved much more than he is now being given credit for.”

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