ASSEMBLY ELECTION 2003: Senior Tory Resigns and Says IDS Must Go
Byline: David Williamson
SENIOR Tory Crispin Blunt quit the front bench last night and called on his party to oust Iain Duncan Smith in a devastating attack on his leadership.
The resignation could not come at a worse time for the embattled Tory leader, coming on the day that millions went to the polls in what is being seen as a make or break test for Mr Duncan Smith.
The Conservative leader has set his sights on gaining just 30 seats in the Welsh Assembly, Scottish Parliament and English local elections but party critics claim the target is far too low and Mr Duncan Smith will almost certainly face a challenge to his 18 month leadership if the Conservatives fail to make significant ground .
Mr Blunt, a Shadow Trade Minister, said no one believed Mr Duncan Smith could ever be Prime Minister and the Reigate MP said he had taken the decision to quit the frontbench after failing to persuade the leader to agree to a confidence vote from party members.
In a statement he said: ``This evening I resigned from Iain Duncan Smith's frontbench team as I can no longer reconcile my public duty to him with my own views of the consequences of his leadership for the success of the Conservative Party. …