Howard is favourite to replace IDS
Shadow Chancellor Michael Howard has today emerged as the favourite to take over as Tory leader if Iain Duncan Smith is forced out of the job.
Link: PROFILE: Michael Howard
This follows calls from 25 Tory MPs for IDS to face a vote of confidence on his leadership of the Conservative Party.
Howard has remained conspicuously loyal but Tory insiders say he is favourite to succeed if Duncan Smith loses the vote, as he is widely tipped to do. Next favourite is former Treasury minister and Commons Public Accounts Committee chairman David Davis.
There is a growing feeling that Howard would be the best man to take on prime minister Tony Blair in a future election battle.