I was treated like a paedophile, says Duncan Smith

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Mr Duncan Smith also told BBC Radio 4's Start the Week programme that his recent trials at the hands of his fellow MPs and the press felt like a "near-death experience".

The Chingford and Woodford Green MP has been praised over the past few days for his dignity and composure as his party voted to remove him and line up Michael Howard as his successor.

But his bizarre remarks, made as he plugged his heavily criticised new novel, were seized upon by MPs as ample proof of his lack of judgement.

"To be at the receiving end of the pack in full cry is an interesting experience," Mr Duncan Smith told the programme.

"I wasn't quite certain whether I was supposed to have had some paedophile relationship or something by the end of it because the intensity and the ferocity made me wonder whether this was real."

Mr Duncan Smith went on to say he began to read the newspapers with complete detachment as though he was reading about somebody else.

"It is rather like almost being detached from yourself in one of those near-death experiences when somebody sits above themself and watches in a rather detached way thinking, 'I am not quite sure what's going on here and whether actually I am part of this or not'," he said.

"Half of the stories I was reading I just couldn't see myself described in them. There was this sense that I don't quite understand what it's all about."

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