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20 March 2016

“This is not the way to do government“: Iain Duncan Smith lashes out at the government on the Marr show

The key moments from an interview in which the ex-cabinet minister stuck the knife into his former government colleagues.

By Barbara Speed

In an explosive interview on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, the former Work and Pensions Secretary insisted that he resigned for moral reasons. He delivered some heavy blows to David Cameron and George Osborne in the process.

Here are the highlights:

Cameron and Osborne have lost their way

“I believe [Cameron and Osborne] are losing sight of the direction of travel they should be going…

“I would not support somebody who stands for leader at the moment.

Duncan Smith took several opportunities to take a dig at the Chancellor. He called the cuts a “desperate search for savings”, and said that the Budget cuts were “deeply unfair” and “damaging” to the country and his party:

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“That unfairness is damaging to the government, damaging to the party, and actually damaging to the country.”

U-turns are a “very peculiar way” to set policy 

“You start Friday morning telling everyone they have to defend it, then later on Friday you’re drifting away from it, then by Friday evening you say ‘We’ve kicked into the long grass’.”

Here, Duncan Smith is explaining why he resigned over the cuts to Personal Independence Payments despite the fact that the policy was reversed soon after the Budget was announced.

He wouldn’t mind if he never returns to government

“I have no personal ambitions. If I never go back into government again I will not cry about that.”

IDS says he believes in social justice and claims he felt “isolated”

“I’m passionate about social justice… I felt semi-detached, isolated in a sense… I progressively got more and more depressed that we were running to an arbitrary agenda with a welfare cap in it.”

Marr points out in response that Duncan Smith “went along with” all the previous cuts. 

Lowering the welfare cap was “arbitrary” 

When Marr asked whether Duncan Smith was against lowering it, he said “yes”. 

It’s not about Cameron or Europe

“This is not some secondary attempt to attack the PM or about Europe.”

There’s a generational imbalance

“It”s all about how we are perceived and how that balance is right. My deep concern has been that this very limited narrow attack on working age benefits means we simply dont get that balance, we lose the balance of the generations.”

Did Cameron swear at Duncan Smith?

Earlier on the show, Marr discussed allegations in the Mail this morning that the Prime Minister phoned Duncan Smith and called him “dishonourable” and a “shit” for resigning, after trying to convince him to stay in an earlier phone call.