Iain Duncan Smith profile: Quiet man, Tory leader and berated Work and Pensions Secretary

Iain Duncan Smith was first elected to the House of Commons in 1992

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Indy Politics

Iain Duncan Smith (IDS) has resigned his front bench position as Work and Pensions Secretary six years after first taking up the post, 24 years after first entering parliament.

A leading campaigner for the leaving the EU, Mr Duncan Smith has been exceeding political expectations throughout his career.

The Beginning

Born in 1954, he started studying at HMS Conway at the age of 14, a merchant navy cadet school.

In 1975, he went to Sandhurst and joined the Scots Guards, serving in Northern Ireland during the Troubles and Zimbabwe, before leaving the army in 1981.

Before taking on Norman Tebbit's old seat of Chingford and Woodford Green in 1992, IDS worked for defence contractor GEC Marconi and property developer, Bellwinch homes.

Only a year into his first parliament, he threw away his chances at joining John Major's government by joining other Eurosceptic rebels who repeatedly refused to vote for the 1993 Maastricht Treaty.

At the time, IDS reportedly told his press secretary: "I'll fight for what I believe and if I don't get a job - so be it."

Unexpected party leader

His time on the backbenches was brought to an end by John Major's successor, William Hague, who made him shadow Secretary of State for Social Security after Labour election victory in 1997.

He was then promoted in 1999 to shadow Defence Secretary, a position he he held till Mr Hague stood down as Tory Party leader.

In a Corbyn-esque turn of events, IDS was voted into the leadership beating former Chancellor, Ken Clarke, helped by his strong Eurosceptic credentials.

Iain Duncan Smith/IDS speech to Tory conference 2003 - "THE QUIET MAN IS TURNING UP THE VOLUME"

While fighting against a perception of a lack of character and political strength, IDS had a transformative experience walking around Easterhouse Estate in Glasgow.

On witnessing deprived and poverty-stricken lives on this "sink estate" he discovered a personal mission to fight poverty and help the most vulnerable in society.

In a now much-lampooned speech to the Conservative Party Conference in 2002, IDS told a disenchanted party: "The quiet man is turning up the volume."

Despite all his efforts, he was ousted by Tory MPs in a vote of no-confidence in 2003.

A return to front bench politics

Following his demise, he created the Centre of Social Justice, a centre-right think tank which concentrated on welfare reform and social issues such as addiction, family breakdown and gang culture.

On winning the 2010 general election, IDS was made Secretary of State for Work and pensions Pensions where he declared his wish to cut the number on unemployment benefits and continue his fight on poverty,

During his six year tenure at the Department of Work and Pensions, he courted public criticism and demagoguery with moves to cut and cap benefits.

Prior to his resignation, IDS endured a bruising battle with George Osborne and the Treasury department over his plan to introduce a universal credit system to replace six different means-tested benefits and tax credits.