Remember IDS? He's not bitter, apparently, despite a less-than-coded attack on Tory MPs

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Indy Politics

Friends of Iain Duncan Smith insisted yesterday he was not bitter despite making an extraordinary attack on the failure of Conservative MPs to embrace his style of leadership.

They said the former Tory leader was waiting for the outcome of the inquiry by the parliamentary standards watchdog into his employment of his wife Betsy as his secretary, before re-entering the fray at Westminster.

In an interview for a Roman Catholic journal published today, Mr Duncan Smith said trying to persuade his parliamentary colleagues to take up the cause of social justice was "like shining a pencil torch into a dark void".

He told the publication Briefing, the re-launched journal of the Catholic Bishops' Conferences of England and Wales: "In terms of the parliamentary party the challenge was there. I was able to establish the nature of the challenge, but I was not able to get my parliamentary party to embark on that journey."

He said: "To the very day I left, the voluntary party ironically understood what I was doing perhaps more than my parliamentary colleagues did. To that extent there will have to be some examination of that.

"I don't regret what I did, how I did it or why I did it one little bit. I have challenged my party and that was right. I hope others will now go on to pick up that challenge. I hope they don't just reach for the comfort blanket and say all we have to do is go back to the things that are tried and tested for the metropolitan media."

The interview, conducted a few days after he was ousted as Tory leader, breaks the traditional silence of former leaders. Mr Duncan Smith has kept a low profile at Westminster since losing the Tory leadership at the end of October.

Friends of Mr Duncan Smith said yesterday that he was concentrating on work in his Chingford and Woodford Green constituency while Sir Philip Mawer, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, completes his investigation.

One ally said: "He is in good form, but he can't say anything until the inquiry is over. He is out and about in his constituency."

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