Iain Duncan Smith

Duncan Smith, Iain, 1954–, British politician, leader (2001–3) of the Conservative party, b. Edinburgh. Educated at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, he served in the Scots Guards from 1975 to 1981, leaving the army for a series of business positions, mainly in the defense industry and publishing. Also in 1981 he joined the Conservative party, and in 1987 he ran unsuccessfully for Parliament. After winning a seat in 1992, he became noted as a Euroskeptic and Thatcherite conservative. He held shadow cabinet posts from 1997 to 2001, when he was elected to succeed William Hague as Tory party leader. Duncan Smith had served just two years in the post when he was ousted and was replaced by Michael Howard. He founded (2004) the Centre for Social Justice, whose program for revamping the social welfare system was adopted by his party, and in 2010 he became secretary of state for work and pensions in the Conservative–Liberal Democrat coalition cabinet.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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