As a member of the work and pensions select committee, I have called for Iain Duncan Smith to resign following
revelations that his department created a leaflet about sanctions containing made-up quotes attributed to non-existent benefit claimants.
I instigated an inquiry into the use of sanctions by the work and pensions committee, which reported in March this year and I believe after being caught out so publicly it must be impossible for Iain Duncan Smith to continue as work and pensions secretary and he should do the honourable thing and resign.
This is yet another example of not only his incompetence, but what can only be described as very shady and unscrupulous behaviour not befitting a Member of Parliament let alone a Secretary of State leading a Government Department.
Once again Duncan Smith is caught trying to paint a particular picture of social security claimants. He is a disgrace and should do the honourable thing and resign. When his own department have to resort to this sort of tactic, in a desperate attempt to make it appear as though the system is working, no-one can be left believing that his draconian social security sanctions regime is fit for purpose.
Only Mr Duncan Smith seems to believe that unfair and inappropriate use of sanctions on vulnerable social security claimants is acceptable. And now he’s shown that he thinks it’s acceptable for his department to produce literature that is fabricated in a desperate attempt to make people believe his sanctions regime is working fairly.
It beggars belief that David Cameron can, in the light of this embarrassing debacle, continue to back Mr Duncan Smith as a credible work and pensions secretary when he has presided over such a catalogue of errors.
In last few weeks alone the independent Social Security Advisory Committee have produced a report which says that the Government’s sanctions regime should be given ‘an urgent and robust review’.
And following the Government’s appeal against the Information Commissioner’s ruling compelling the Government to publish figures on the number of people on Incapacity Benefit and Employment and Support Allowance who have died between November 2011 and May 2014, including those found fit for work, a Tribunal has now set for November 10 th to hear why Iain Duncan Smith has refused to publish these data.
I will never forget the fact that not only did Iain Duncan Smith defy the Information Commissioner’s ruling to provide these data on deaths of people on social security, but that he stated to me, personally, in Parliament, it did not exist. But then, just two days later, the Prime Minister said to me, again in Parliament, the data would be published, only for the DWP’s appeal documents to defy him as well, stating publication was not in the public interest!
The select committee inquiry which I instigated reported in March and the mountain of evidence that was put before the select committee by religious organisations, academics and charities, not to mention those actually affected by inappropriate sanctions themselves, pointed overwhelmingly to a system that is inhumane and deliberately created to skew unemployment figures.
The sad truth is that Iain Duncan Smith is doing everything he can to cover up the mess he has created. And this is a mess that is ruining innocent people’s lives and, as the evidence suggests, even killing some.
The only credible reason he’s going to such lengths to hang on to his job is because he knows he has so much to hide.