Iain Duncan-Smith has this evening been deposed as leader of the British Conservative Party by 90 votes to 75.
Leader of Britain's largest opposition party, the man known as IDS had endured intense criticism since he took over from William Hague just over two years ago.
Duncan-Smith had never been in position to contest a general election, and now the Tories will seek a leader to restore its electoral fortunes and frustrate the ambitions of the Liberal Democrats, Britain's centrist third-largest party.
Michael Howard, with the support of David Davis, is now expected to become the new leader of the party following a back-room deal, it was announced late this evening.
Meanwhile, an SDLP Assembly candidate was today asked to withdraw ``insulting remarks'' about Duncan Smith as the Tories prepared for a crucial vote.
East Derry candidate John Dallat said that Duncan-Smith had proven himself ``to be a consistent enemy of peace and progress'' in the North off Ireland.
``He voted against police reform. He has cynically opposed human rights legislation,'' Mr Dallat said
``The plain fact is, anyone they pick is unlikely to be any worse than Iain Duncan Smith whose attitude to the people of the North seems shaped by nothing more than his tour of duty here when he looked at us across the barrel of a gun.''
Mr Duncan Smith had served in Ireland as a British soldier.
The SDLP has been accused of seeking to don Sinn Féin's nationalist credentials in the battle for votes on November 26, and Mr Dallat's comments were being seen in that light.
The Conservative Party is running seven candidates in the Assembly elections on November 26th. They are contesting: South Antrim, East Antrim, Lagan Valley, East Belfast, South Belfast, Strangford and North Down.