Iain Duncan Smith’s resignation hits hard as David Cameron is forced to defend himself


Here’s a round up of what we know about IDS quitting

David Cameron has been forced to defend himself after Iain Duncan Smith resigned as work and pensions secretary on Friday over pressure to make cuts to disability benefits.

In a flurry of drama, IDS made the shock announcement in a letter to the prime minister, in which he said he was unable to watch as “certain policies are enacted in order to meet the fiscal self imposed restraints that I believe are more and more perceived as distinctly political rather than in the national economic interest.”

He praised his team at the Department for Work and Pensions but said too often they had been “pressured in the immediate run up to a budget or fiscal event to deliver yet more reductions to the working age benefit bill”.

He added: “I hope as the government goes forward you can look again, however, at the balance of the cuts you have insisted upon and wonder if enough has been done to ensure ‘we are all in this together’.”

In response, the prime minister said he was “puzzled” by the resignation.

“Today we agreed not to proceed with the policies in their current form and instead to work together to get these policies right over the coming months.

“In the light of this, I am puzzled and disappointed that you have chosen to resign,” he said.

Many commentators have suggested the Conservative Party is in civil war.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn labelled the government “incompetent”.

He said: “It was a Budget that was all about protecting the very richest at the expense of the most vulnerable in society. The Budget doesn’t add up.

“The chancellor of the exchequer should come back to Parliament and explain that. And far from just Iain Duncan Smith resigning, if the chancellor puts forward a Budget knowing full well that he was taking this huge hit on the disabled then really it should be perhaps him who’s considering his position as well as Iain Duncan Smith who’s already gone.”