The toxic split of the Conservatives: Iain Duncan Smith resigns

Last week the Chancellor announced his budget would cut Personal Independence Payments by £4bn, this being “a compromise too far” for Iain Duncan Smith. Mr Duncan Smith has resigned from his post as Work and Pensions Secretary in protest of these welfare cuts. The party is already showing signs of rupture due to the EU debate, but this will have surely given Labour party members a slight light at the end of the tunnel despite a controversial leader.

Duncan Smith has seemingly sided with Jeremy Corbyn saying the Budget “benefits higher earning taxpayers”. Within his resignation letter he announced he could see them as defensible terms but only narrowly, “but they are not defensible in the way they were placed within a budget that benefits higher earning taxpayers”. He in the past has sympathised with some budget cuts to the welfare system due to the state of the economy, left by the Labour government, which made difficult cuts necessary. Similar criticism has subsequently been voiced by Corbyn, who on this Facebook page has called for the resignation of the Chancellor. His statement said that “The budget has exposed George Osborne’s record of profound unfairness and economic failure”. Regardless of the failure of Osborne, I feel that Duncan Smith’s resignation has a hidden agenda, something worth considering.

In recent days, the former Work and Pensions Secretary has defend a policy of welfare cuts, but it looks like backbencher protests has persuaded Duncan Smith to resign from his post. Now due to this, I look at the larger picture. Could this be in fact another campaign for leadership because he wishes to have support from many of the Conservative MPs who rebelled over these changes? At the moment this is quite unclear, but with Osborne looking to be one of the forerunners, it may be a chance for Iain Duncan Smith to once again become leader of the party, once David Cameron steps down.

Another possible reason of the resignation could be a cynical ploy relating to Brexit, as he portrays our government to be cynical and unfair, while he can take to the stage and use it as a campaigning tool against his Conservative colleagues. By doing this he would portray himself in a positive light by showing compassion for the most vulnerable members of our society and protesting with many up and down the country. He has indirectly attacked the Prime Minister and his fellow honourable man, and I believe he will continue to do so in order to achieve the moral ground when it comes to EU debates.

This could definitely mean that his resignation was more opportunist rather than an act of protest or standing up for the more vulnerable who are being attacked by the budget. Unaware about the agenda Mr Iain Duncan Smith possess we can surely assume that there is a hidden agenda, regardless of its objectives.

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Callum Maher 2 Articles
Callum is a political activist and member of the Liberal Democrats. He has served as a school governor and a panel member on the Young Voices radio show. His interests include the EU, economics, the environment and welfare.