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Duncan Smith: I have the confidence of the grass roots

Statement by Iain Duncan Smith outside Conservative Central Office

"I am pleased that the Parliamentary party has responded to my call for a swift resolution. I welcome the fact that this matter will now be decided quickly, openly and in the clear light of day, and I look forward to addressing the 1922 Committee tomorrow to make the case for my continued leadership of this Party.

I believe that I have achieved a lot during the last two years. Following a second general election defeat and a divisive leadership contest, the Conservative Party was twenty points behind in the opinion polls. We are now equal with Labour in the polls, and we have become the largest party of local government.

But I do not seek a vote of confidence solely on my past record. I seek the approval of my colleagues for the campaign that is now beginning.

A vote of confidence in me will ensure we immediately start communicating to the British people the Conservative alternative to Labour. A vote of confidence in me can maintain the party unity on tax and Europe which we have achieved over the last two years - and ensure that we remain committed to the far-reaching set of policies in health, education, pensions, policing and asylum which we unveiled in Blackpool this month.

I regard it as my duty to warn my party that a change of leadership at this stage will be regarded with despair and contempt by many loyal supporters, and gravely imperil the party's prospects at the next election.

I know I have the confidence of the grass roots - and I look forward to their original election of me, and their continued support, being validated by my Parliamentary colleagues. Then, united behind my leadership, we can begin the campaign to win the next election."

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