Davis would stand for Tory leader if Duncan Smith quits

David Davis, the Shadow Deputy Prime Minister, will run for the Tory leadership if Iain Duncan Smith is ousted from the post next year, it emerged yesterday.

Although Mr Davis will not encourage or play any part in moves to sack Mr Duncan Smith, he will enter the race if the Tory leader stands down or is deposed by losing a vote of confidence among Tory MPs.

Mr Davis would prefer not to stand for the leadership until after the next general election, where the party faces the grim prospect of a third heavy defeat by Labour. He also faces a tough challenge from the Liberal Democrats in his Haltemprice and Howden constituency.

However, the former party chairman has already come under pressure from MPs and party activists to run for the leadership and has decided that he would enter the race if there is a vacancy.

The news is a setback for Kenneth Clarke, the former Chancellor, who is seen as the most likely successor to Mr Duncan Smith. It is likely to scupper the plan by Lord Heseltine for Tory MPs to impose Mr Clarke as leader without allowing the ballot of the party's 350,000 provided for under the Tories' rules.

One ally of Mr Davis said yesterday: "There is a lot of opposition to Ken Clarke, so there would definitely be a contest. If David didn't run, then Michael Howard [Shadow Chancellor] or Liam Fox [Shadow Health Secretary] would be the right- of-centre candidate. So David will go for it."

Supporters of Mr Davis believe he would have a very strong chance of winning. Private polling among grassroots Tories during last year's leadership contest suggested he would have become leader if party members had been allowed to vote for all five candidates. Under the rules, Tory MPs choose a shortlist of two names for the members' ballot and Mr Duncan Smith beat Mr Clarke in last year's run-off.

Despite Mr Duncan Smith's dramatic "unite or die" plea to his party last month, speculation that he might be ousted after next May's local elections has been fuelled by Lord Heseltine's call – and poor opinion poll ratings.

Yesterday, Mr Davis joined forces with Mr Duncan Smith to launch plans, first announced during the Tory conference in October, to allow more than a million tenants of housing associations to buy their homes. The money raised would be used to buy or build new housing for low income groups.

Unveiling a consultation document, Mr Davis said: "We want to engage the community, particularly housing groups and tenants of council and housing association dwellings, on making the system better."

Mr Duncan Smith said the Tory plans would tackle a "vicious housing circle." He said: "People are encouraged to remain in social housing for life by life-long rental subsidies. Higher prices are making private housing difficult to buy. No wonder fewer tenants are leaving houses, and not enough new social housing is being built to keep up with demand.

"While the Labour Party talks of cutting the right to buy, we are saying: increase it. Labour wants to limit a popular and successful programme."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Fans line up at the AVNs, straining to capture a photo of their favourite star
life Tim Walker asks how much longer it can flesh out an existence
Life and Style
Every minute of every day, Twitter is awash with anger as we seek to let these organisations know precisely what we think of them
techWhen it comes to vitriol, no one on attracts our ire more than big businesses offering bad service
News
Professor David Nutt wants to change the way gravely ill patients are treated in Britain
people Why does a former Government tsar believe that mind-altering drugs have a place on prescription?
News
Norway’s ‘The Nordland Line – Minute by Minute, Season by Season’ continues the trend of slow TV
television
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
art
Sport
Jonny Evans has pleaded not guilty to an FA charge for spitting at Papiss Cisse
football
Life and Style
Kate Moss will make a cameo appearance in David Walliams' The Boy in the Dress
fashion
News
The image released by the Salvation Army, using 'The Dress'
news
Sport
Liverpool defender Kolo Toure
football Defender could make history in the FA Cup, but African Cup of Nations win means he's already content
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Consultant - London - £65,000 OTE.

£65000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Engineer - central London ...

Recruitment Genius: Physiotherapist / Sports Therapist

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Physiotherapist / Sports Ther...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Advisor

£8 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives / Advisors are required...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operative

£14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable