Iain Duncan Smith
George Iain Duncan Smith (born 9 April 1954), often referred to by his initials IDS, is a British politician. The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions from 2010 to 2016, he was previously the Leader of the Conservative Party and Leader of the Opposition from 2001 to 2003. He was first elected to Parliament at the 1992 general election as the MP for Chingford – which he represented until the constituency’s abolition in 1997 – and he has since represented its successor constituency of Chingford and Woodford Green.
Duncan Smith was born in Edinburgh and served in the Scots Guards from 1975 to 1981, seeing tours in Northern Ireland and Rhodesia. He joined the Conservative Party in 1981, and eventually succeeded William Hague as Conservative Leader in 2001; he won the leadership election partly owing to the support of Margaret Thatcher for his Eurosceptic beliefs. Duncan Smith was the first Catholic to serve as a Conservative Leader, and the first Conservative leader to be born in Scotland since Arthur Balfour. In 2010, The Tablet named him one of Britain’s most influential Catholics.Many Conservative MPs came to consider him incapable of winning an election when he was Conservative Party Leader. In 2003, Conservative MPs passed a vote of no confidence in his leadership; he immediately resigned, and was succeeded by Michael Howard. Returning to the backbenches, he founded the centre-right Centre for Social Justice, a think tank independent of the Conservative Party, and became a published novelist. On 12 May 2010, the new Prime Minister, David Cameron, appointed Duncan Smith to serve in the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. He resigned from the Cabinet on 18 March 2016, in opposition to Chancellor George Osborne’s proposed cuts to disability benefits.In 2019, Duncan Smith served as chairman for Boris Johnson’s leadership campaign, resulting in an emphatic win, with over 50% of MPs and 66% of the Conservative membership voting for Johnson to become the next Leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister.