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`JOLLY nice of you to see The Spectator,' I said while shaking hands with Iain Duncan Smith. We were in a cosy, oak-panelled room. It was just before Christmas and outside it was freezing cold. Duncan Smith is well-built and slightly taller than you might imagine from television. He wears the same regulation outfit favoured by the Prime Minister and his most senior Labour Cabinet ministers: dark, immaculately pressed suit, smartly ironed white shirt and carefully chosen tie. The shoes are beautifully polished. Friends who were with him in the army and have bumped into him since say that he has `a lot more steel' about him now than then.
`Delighted,' replied Duncan smith. `I'd do anything to please my back-benchers.' After this agreeable exchange I asked him to assess his achievements during the 100 days or so that have elapsed since his election as Tory leader on 13 September. `I'm always slightly cautious about these things. I'm not given to an over-jubilant response, and prefer to see the problems rather than the successes.
`We've got to get the party organised and refocused, move it into opposition and also move it on to policy. We've started that; we've got the framework in place. I've got the committees moving. I've got the policy forum. All that stuff is happening, so the energy is beginning to move through the system,' he proclaimed. `We are where we would like to have been by Christmas. …