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Duncan Smith victim of Conservative-Labour bidding war
23 Oct 2003 by Malcolm Drury
The leader of the alleged Conservative "Party", Iain Duncan Smith, has apparently become the pawn in a fierce bidding war between rival interests concerning his continued position as leader.
Businessman Stuart Wheeler, a £5m donor to the Conservatives, inadvertently started the war yesterday when he said that Mr Duncan Smith "does not come across as a potential prime minister. He comes over as weak." DeadBrain has learned that the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Labour Party has offered £7m to the Conservatives to retain Mr Duncan Smith as their leader, for precisely the same reasons.
NEC spokesman Douglas Ramsbottom told our reporter that as he was a major donor to the Tories, Mr Wheeler's views probably have some clout with the Conservative Party's governing board. "So we felt this was the right strategy, to offer the Tories more than he did," he said. "We believe that Mr Duncan Smith is an invaluable asset to the Labour Party and worth every penny of our offer."
However, the Labour bid has, in turn, apparently led to a counter-bid of £10m by a group of unidentified Tories who wish to remove Mr Duncan Smith.
Mr Ramsbottom said that while it did not want to get into a long bidding war, the NEC was preparing a counter to the counter-offer. "We do have a contingency fund that we can use," he said. He refused to speculate as to how high the NEC might be prepared to go in its bidding, but he did note that the contingency fund was "substantial" and the issue "worthy of the most serious consideration".
Chatting to our reporter before his press conference in the Midlands today, where he was practising his newly-developed speaking technique of waving his arms wildly by conducting a recording of the 1812 Overture, Mr Duncan Smith said that he was unaware of any bidding war. "It is futile anyway. I cannot be bought one way or the other," he said fairly decisively, almost poking our reporter in the eye during a particularly loud cannon crash.
In related news, a Downing Street official has said that there is no truth to a rumour that Betsy Duncan Smith has been offered a job as secretary to the Prime Minister at £16,000 a year and all the sticky buns she could eat.
Mr Duncan Smith's predecessor as leader, William Hague, has called for the party to unite behind its leadership and put in his own bid for Mr Duncan Smith to stay on as leader. "I think the £2.50 bid I'm putting in shows just how serious I am in my support for Iain," he commented.
Even Later News
The British Association of Satirists, Taunters, Allegorists, Ridiculers, Deriders and Spoofers (BASTARDS) today offered up to £20m to the Conservative Party to retain Mr Duncan Smith as leader. Gregory T Mullet, President of BASTARDS, told DeadBrain that it would be a real tragedy for his members if Mr Duncan Smith disappeared from the scene. "He's just too good to lose," said Mr Mullet. "He provides us with such a wealth of material. No-one among the Tories could possibly replace him in that regard." Mr. Mullet was unable to explain how BASTARDS would raise £20m.
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