At shortly before eight o'clock BST on Friday, June 9, 2001, William Hague resigned as leader of the Conservative Party. Even given Michael Portillo's loyalty to Mr Hague in the face of suggestions he was about to stab his leader in the back, it's not at all clear at this stage who will replace Hague. For some reason, the BBC keep alluding to Iain Duncan Smith as a potential candidate, despite the fact that (outside his very safe seat) the people who have heard of this Thatcherite Tory boy consider him to be a dead loss and the surest thing to make the Conservatives the third party for good. William Hague's resignation speech was typical of its genre: hiding the information in a welter of hot air about the challenges facing the party.

Postscript: They did choose Duncan Smith, with (as of late 2002) predictably lame results.