Political figures in Manchester have slammed Iain Duncan Smith’s resignation from his cabinet role as Work and Pensions Secretary.
The ex-Conservative leader published a resignation letter on Friday night, citing the unfair pressure to cut funding to the most vulnerable in George Osborne’s latest budget.
Deyika Nzeribe, the Green Party candidate for Hulme, has campaigned on behalf of child poverty in Manchester and criticised both the resignation and legacy of Duncan Smith.
He told MM: “His changes to welfare, social care and towards people with vulnerabilities have been very profound.
“The Iain Duncan Smith legacy is that he has managed to alter the benefits framework from being a welfare system to an instrument of fear and punishment.
“Before the Tories got in it was always really difficult to change the welfare system as there was an underlining agreement that changes should not make people suffer.
“The Tories chucked that completely out the window.
“We should not have food banks and increasing child poverty in 2016 and we should not have the second highest levels of child poverty in the Western World.
“He’s not leaving beloved.
“I’ve been told by other people that in some parts of the country Iain Duncan Smith is more unpopular than ISIS.
“He may have fallen on his sword but he has spent years hacking away at people’s benefits.”
Debbie Abrahams, the shadow minister for Disability and Labour MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, clashed repeatedly with the now ex-minister over his work and pensions cuts.
And Abrahams – who has previously advised the World Health Organisation – also called for an independent inquiry into the Government’s last sanctions regime.
“This [the resignation] is a shambles,” she said.
“David Cameron has blamed Iain Duncan Smith and Iain Duncan Smith has said he doesn’t support his own policies.
“It seems the Tories’ own backbench MPs now recognise that Labour’s long-held concerns about these cruel cuts to disabled people – as there have been over £24bn to date.”
David A Elston, Councillor for St. Athan and former deputy leader of the Pirate Party – a political party campaigning on the of protection civil rights – questioned the premises Mr Duncan Smith resigned upon.
He told MM: “Last time his cuts went through the man was physically excited and cheering.
“I don’t believe he has suddenly had a rapid change of heart.
“Ian Duncan Smith is in a party with a history which revolves around making the rich richer, regardless of if it hurts those who are most in need of help.
“Does Ian really expect us to think this was never his agenda?”
The new Secretary for Work and Pensions is Stephen Crabb – the Conservative MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire since 2005.
Under Duncan Smith the Work and Pensions Department rolled out Universal Credit to replace previous benefits systems and presided over extensive welfare cuts.
Since his resignation, and at the time of publication, over 145,000 people had signed a petition against the latest proposed budget cuts to welfare.