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Leadership without authority: Iain Duncan Smith as leader of the Conservative Party

Hayton, Richard (2010) Leadership without authority: Iain Duncan Smith as leader of the Conservative Party. In: Leaders of the Opposition: From Churchill To Cameron, 9 July 2010, University of Leeds. (Unpublished)

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      Abstract

      This chapter analyses the tenure of Iain Duncan Smith as leader of the Conservative Party in opposition between September 2001 and October 2003. It argues that his leadership was fatally undermined by a lack of authority within his own party. This problem was derived in part from the manner of his election, during which he received the explicit endorsement of less than a third of his parliamentary colleagues, but flowed more fundamentally from his limitations as a political leader.

      Duncan Smith’s leadership weaknesses are considered in relation to three main themes. Firstly, he was an ineffectual public communicator. As leader of the opposition he had three main audiences to address: the Parliamentary Conservative Party (PCP), the wider party (i.e. the membership), and the electorate. In each case he failed to connect successfully, making little impact with the general public and losing the confidence of his parliamentary colleagues and, eventually, the party members whose votes had installed him as leader. Secondly, his leadership was plagued with party management problems, and as the chapter explores, many of these were self-inflicted and eminently avoidable. Thirdly, the chapter suggest that Duncan Smith’s personality was ill-suited to the role of leader of the opposition, as his handling of moments of crisis demonstrates the difficulties he experienced coping with the pressures of leadership.

      Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
      Uncontrolled Keywords: Leadership; Conservative Party; Iain Duncan Smith; opposition; party politics; conservatism
      Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
      J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
      Schools: School of Human and Health Sciences
      School of Human and Health Sciences > Centre for Research in the Social Sciences
      Related URLs:
      Depositing User: Richard Hayton
      Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2010 14:16
      Last Modified: 18 Oct 2011 12:29
      URI: http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/id/eprint/9134

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