They may tear strips off each other in public, but Iain Duncan Smith and Tony Blair share a private passion for the blue-collar American rock of Bruce Springsteen.
The Tory leader followed the Prime Minister's lead yesterday by selecting a song by the Boss for Radio 4's Desert Island Discs.
Mr Duncan Smith, who recalled his "great days of abandonment" as a long-haired 19-year-old in Italy, chose "City of Ruins". Three years earlier, Tony Blair, who also had shoulder-length hair in the 1970s, nominated "Fourth of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)" because it took him back to his courting days with Cherie.
Mr Duncan Smith's eclectic choice of music – which Tory Central Office insisted had not been influenced by spin doctors – included Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, Jerry Lee Lewis's "Great Balls of Fire" and "One Fine Day" from Puccini's Madam Butterfly.
He nominated the Benedictus from Mozart's Requiem in D Minor because it reminded him of his pilot father's "great days in the skies"; "She" by Charles Aznavour, which was dedicated to his wife, Betsy; and "The Blue Song" by his sister, Suzi Lyon. Of his final choice, "My Baby Just Cares for Me", by Nina Simone, he said simply: "She has a voice that sends shivers up and down my spine every time I hear it."
Meanwhile, senior Tories laughed off reports that a group of disaffected Conservative businessmen and donors was setting up a new, unnamed political party.
The fledgling party, which has a website, is said to be planning to field candidates at the election. But the only named supporter is a former Downing Street official, Mark Adams. David Davis, the shadow Deputy Prime Minister, said: "When there is a name attached to it, we might start to take it seriously."