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News in Depth
Battle for Survival

IDS crisis statement: There is no crisis
The Conservative "leader", Iain Duncan Smith, called an emergency crisis meeting this lunchtime after a morning of emergency crisis talks to tell the media that his party is not in crisis. "I don't know where you got this idea that we're in crisis from," he said in an even more puzzled way than usual. "I mean yeah, a third of the parliamentary party rebelled against me last night, everybody thinks I'm useless and I just trod on the dog, but that doesn't mean we're in crisis. If anything it's been a quiet couple of days."

The embattled leader didn't go for the traditional message of telling doubters to "put up or shut up", but instead told the party it would have to "unite or die". Brandishing a military-issue rifle and wearing full combat gear, Mr Duncan Smith said in his strong drill sergeant-like voice: "This is it, lads er, I mean people, not just lads, we're inclusive now we've, er, we've got to pull together and fight the common enemy: Michael Portillo. No, I mean Labour. Fight Labour. And, er, yeah, we've got to beat them into a pulp but not in a nasty way, of course. We're not a nasty party any more. Honestly. And, er, vote for me! I mean us. Vote for us. Hmm."

Political commentators say that Mr Duncan Smith may have clung onto power for now, but he could continue to face attacks on his leadership until the Conservatives look like taking back power. Reports of Mr Duncan Smith digging "a large trench, and possibly a hole for himself too" outside Central Office have been half-heartedly denied.

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