Mired in controversy over his handling of what the Government calls welfare benefit ‘reform’ and critics call ‘cuts’, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith (pictured, above) is now being accused of having ‘lost the plot’ after making an incredible statistical claim that 75% of people who have had their benefits stopped under his department’s sanctions regime said it helped them “focus and get on.”
And that is something that Labour is challenging and threatening to report to the UK Statistics Authority – and that civil servants at his department have not confirmed.
Add to that the controversy over his education – and his suitability and qualification for his current role have to be called into question.
In an article in the UK’s Daily Mirror newspaper, the sister of ex-soldier David Clapson, who died starving and penniless after having his benefits stopped said: “I don’t think my brother said it had helped him get on.”
The report continued:
After hearing Mr Duncan Smith’s comments, Gill Thompson said: “I think they’re losing it. They’re losing the plot.”
In a string of jaw-dropping claims, IDS dismissed protests against benefit sanctions as “classic buzz from the left” and that protesters were “never going to vote for us. They hate us”.
And he claimed Job Centres were “running out of people” to put back to work. Despite a fall in overall unemployment, there are currently 1.68m people out of work in the UK.
The audacity of the man is unbelievable as he made his comments to local councillor Johnny Bucknell, during a visit to London’s Belsize Park to campaign for Tory Mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith.
But what of his education controversy? In Mr Duncan Smith’s biography on the Conservative Party website as well as his entry in Who’s Who, it was originally stated that he had studied at the University +of Perugia in Italy.
In 2002, an investigation by the BBC found that statement to be untrue. In response to the BBC story, Duncan Smith’s office stated that he had in fact attended the Università per Stranieri (University of Foreigners), a different institution in Perugia, for a year. He did not complete his course of study, sit exams or gain any qualifications there.
Duncan Smith’s biography, on the Conservative Party website, also stated that he was ‘educated at Dunchurch College of Management’ but his office later confirmed that he did not gain any qualifications there either, that he completed six separate courses lasting a few days each, adding up to about a month in total. Dunchurch was the former staff college for GEC Marconi, for whom Duncan Smith worked in the 1980s.
- Duncan Smith was educated at what is now St. Peter’s RC Secondary School, Solihull, until the age of 14, then at HMS Conway, a Merchant Navy training school (since closed) on the Isle of Anglesey until he was 18. In 1975 he attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and was commissioned into the Scots Guards.