Duncan Smith, Iain

Duncan Smith, Iain, 1954–, British political leader, 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 from 2010 to 2016 he was secretary of state for work and pensions and initiated an overhaul of the welfare system. He was among the most prominent British politicians to support Britain's exit from the European Union in the 2016 referendum on the issue.

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