AP/NYT reports

Lawmakers in Britain’s opposition Conservative Party ousted their leader Iain Duncan Smith in a vote of confidence Wednesday, triggering a battle over his successor that is likely to further divide the already fractured Tories.

Lawmakers voted 90 to 75 against Duncan Smith, a former army captain who failed to unite the once mighty party in his two years at its helm.

Under party rules, he must now step aside and will not be allowed to run in the race to choose a new leader. No candidates have yet announced plans to run and the complicated process for choosing Duncan Smith’s successor could take weeks to unfold.

The battle is likely to lead to further squabbling within the party, which has been riven by factionalism since the end of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s 11-year rule.

No huge shock, I suppose. Still, it’s hard to see how the Conservatives are going to be a majority party any time soon. While Blair is in trouble, the opposition is from the Left, not the Right. Indeed, the Tories have largely supported Blair on the war.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.