"It was really about Europe": Pensions Minister Ros Altmann blasts former boss Iain Duncan Smith for resigning

"This really seems to be about the European referendum campaign. He seems to want to do maximum damage to the party leadership."
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Pensions Minister Ros Altmann has condemned her former boss Iain Duncan Smith for resigning from his position as Work and Pensions Secretary, accusing him of wanting to do "maximum damage to the party".

The Tory peer accused him of resigning over the EU referendum campaign, rather than his stated motive about protesting further disability cuts. She said she was "shocked" by his resignation, insisting that he had, "championed the very package of reforms to disability benefits he now says is the reason he has resigned".

She said in a statement:

"This really seems to be about the European referendum campaign.

"He seems to want to do maximum damage to the party leadership in order to further his campaign to try to get Britain to leave the EU.

"As far as I could tell, he appeared to spend much of the last few months plotting over Europe and against the leadership of the party and it seemed to me he had been planning to find a reason to resign for a long time."

Altmann further twisted the knife by revealing that Duncan Smith was "exceptionally difficult" to work for, and had "often been obstructive to my efforts to resolve important pension policy issues".

Anoosh Chakelian is senior writer at the New Statesman.