Rifkind attacks 'uncritical' Duncan Smith
Friday 04 October 2002
A former Tory foreign secretary launched a vitriolic attack on Iain Duncan Smith's stance on Iraq yesterday, plunging the party into fresh turmoil just before its annual conference.
Sir Malcolm Rifkind made his criticism in this week's edition of The Spectator magazine, edited by the Tory MP Boris Johnson. The magazine also claimed that Mr Duncan Smith failed to impress grandees at a fund-raising dinner last week and that Michael Portillo has regained his appetite for politics.
With David Davis, the sacked party chairman, seen by his allies as a potential replacement for Mr Duncan Smith, the magazine also claimed that a handful of backbenchers have in the last few weeks consulted the rules on a leadership contest. Signatures from 15 per cent of the parliamentary party – 25 MPs – are needed to trigger a ballot in the Commons before the race would be opened to all 300,000 members in the country.
In his article, Sir Malcolm attacked the Conservative leader's "uncritical and unqualified" support for Tony Blair on Iraq.
Several senior backbenchers have voiced doubts over Mr Duncan Smith's support for the Prime Minister, but Sir Malcolm went further, claiming the Tories were failing to offer any "intelligent criticism" of the Government's plans.
Sir Malcolm said Mr Duncan Smith should have used last week's recall of Parliament to ask why the Prime Minister was so apparently committed to an invasion of Iraq and removal of Saddam Hussein's regime and so willing to follow the line taken by President Bush.
For the Opposition to be seen to be "giving uncritical and unqualified endorsement ... is unlikely to enhance its credibility as an alternative and preferable government", he wrote. "Intelligent criticism by the Opposition does not indicate a descent into crude partisanship and party politics but a fulfilment of its constitutional duty."
- 1 BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
- 2 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 3 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
General Election 2015: David Cameron catching up in polls – but he badly needs a clear lead
South Africa xenophobic attacks: Shops looted and violence on streets of Johannesburg as foreigners are forced to hide in police stations
Earthworms rain down from skies over Norway, puzzling scientists
18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
General Election 2015: Polish prince challenges Nigel Farage to a duel over immigration question
£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...
£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...