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Tories cleared of improperly employing IDS as leader
29 Mar 2004The Conservative Party was today cleared of impropriety over the way it employed one of its former alleged MPs after an extensive inquiry. Iain "Duncan" Smith's alleged tenure as leader "for a year or two a bit ago" was claimed by some to be "a stonking great mistake" and "incredibly foolish" in the so-called IDSgate scandal, but in a report by the Parliamentary Standards Commission he was cleared of all charges of leadership.
According to Sir Philip Mawer, Mr Duncan Smith was not "improperly employed" by the Tories and there was nothing to suggest that he had been leader in the first place. "Despite the long testimony of the complainant, one Iain Duncan Smith, I have found no evidence that Mr Duncan Smith was leader of his party, and indeed many of his own colleagues swear blind that not only was he never leader but he actually does not exist," he said. "Letting Mr Duncan Smith, and indeed some members of the public, think he was leader was not ideal, but no rules have been broken."
Later, however, Mr Duncan Smith stood by his earlier claims of leadership. "Those few months I was leader – and I know I was leader, I remember it vividly – were hell for me, my party and my wife," he told a passing sports journalist, who ignored him. "I do think that it's not a good idea, in fact it's utterly wrong, to try to get to me through someone so defenceless, so utterly powerless, as myself."
A spokesman for the Conservative Party welcomed the Commission's findings. "This is an unambiguous vindication of...er...that man," he said. "He emerges with his reputation intact, or at least he would do if he had one."
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