Clarke says leadership contest poll was 'bogus'

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Iain Duncan Smith's campaign for the Tory leadership suffered fresh embarrassment on Tuesday night when a poll showing him to be the runaway favourite among the party faithful was denounced as a sham.

His leadership rival, Kenneth Clarke, was incensed by an ICM poll in The Sunday Telegraph showing him with just 24 per cent support among Tory members, against 76 per cent for Mr Duncan Smith.

The survey of fewer than 300 party members was done in the constituencies of New Forest East, Thanet South, Blaydon and Gateshead East and Washington West. The 100 party members surveyed by pollsters in New Forest East – a constituency represented by the right-wing MP Julian Lewis – had been hand-picked by the chairman, a supporter of Mr Duncan Smith.

The ICM survey had carried a rider stressing that it had not been weighted. But the rival candidates clashed over the poll last night, with Mr Clarke attacking it as "bogus'' while the Duncan Smith team denying it was involved in the preparation of the survey.