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Updated with results Today, as you probably know, is the third round of voting for the Conservative Party's leadership election. By roughly 6pm this evening, the choice should be whittled down to just two by MPs and then the Conservative party at large will get to decide who will lead them to failure in the next general election.

Update At 5.32pm, the results have come in thus. Ken Clarke wins with 59 votes, Duncan Smith second with 54 and Portillo is out the race with one less, 53. We also got a press release complaining that none of the Web sites (see below) are any good for blind people. Duncan Smith's is the worst apparently (no alt text)end update

The three men still up for the top job are:

  • Ken Clarke - Former Trade secretary, Health secretary, Education secretary, Home secretary and Chancellor
  • Michael Portillo - Former Minister at Treasury, Employment, Defence and shadow Chancellor
  • Iain Duncan Smith - Shadow social secretary, defence secretary and member of several select committees

And yes, all three of them have election Web sites. Thus follows a review of each man and his Web site:

Ken Clarke

Heavyweight politician, bags of experience, taste for ale and whisky, several chins. Ken Clarke is portrayed by the others as a has-been. Has 44 votes so far. Currently bookies' second favourite. Main stumbling point is his enthusiasm for Europe and the euro - the two topics that have torn the Tory party to pieces in the last ten years.

As for the Web site at www.kennethclarke.net, it's a neat, tidy and professional piece of design. There is a very short message from Ken and a flattering photo of him, but nothing else apart from press releases, news clippings and a biography. 5/10

Michael Portillo

Charismatic politician, dangerous, taste for snappy clothes and blow-dry haircuts. Michael Portillo is portrayed by the others as a back-stabber, ruthless politician and suspect character. Admitting to homosexual experiences when younger hasn't helped enamour him to Conservative grassroots. Nor did revelations that he actively attacked William Hague's election campaign. Has 50 votes at the moment. Main stumbling point is that people don't trust him - well, don't trust him more than other politicians.

His Web site at www.electportillo.com is another professional job. However, everything is done in a shade of blue, making it looked bleached. Also, in the search for simplicity, it runs as a long list down the page which is a little irritating. Bog standard fare, including articles, news, biog and contact details. Also 5/10

Iain Duncan Smith

Principled politician, admired, ethical but largely unknown. Iain Duncan Smith is portrayed by the others as lacking in experience and too right-wing. He has 49 votes at the moment. Mr Smith is now the bookies' favourite. Benefiting from the fact that few really know him and so have no reason to hate him.

Main problem is his strong stance on Europe and the euro - he's completely against it. Major problem is that if Tony Blair calls a referendum on the euro and the country passes it, if Mr Smith has made it as leader of the Tories, he would have to resign on principle, putting the party back in the same spot it is now.

His Web site at www.voteids.com, is the best of the lot however. Up-to-date, simple and professional but effective. Good use made of graphics and very easy to navigate. Also contains more information that the other two. 7/10

And so there you have it. There are 24 Conservative MPs that have so far refused to say which way they are voting and it is this small group that can push a politician one way or the other. We would love to hear the deals being struck at Westminster today. ®

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