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Angry backlash as former Tory leader and Universal Credit architect Iain Duncan Smith is knighted

Angry backlash as former Tory leader and Universal Credit architect Iain Duncan Smith  is knighted
2 min read

An angry backlash has erupted after former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith was given a knighthood in the New Year Honours list.

Labour leadership hopeful Lisa Nandy said it was a "disgraceful decision" to award the honour to the man who devised Universal Credit.

The MP for Chingford and Woodford Green, who was Work and Pensions Secretary in David Cameron's government, has been knighted for “political and public service”.

Former Conservative Vice-Chairman Bob Neill was also given a knighthood for political service, and Diana Johnson, the Labour MP for Hull North who campaigned for victims of the NHS contaminated blood scandal, has been made a dame. 

Mr Duncan Smith was congratulated by his colleagues last night, with former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt tweeting: “I have never worked alongside someone more willing to face unpopularity for standing up for his deeply held principles and moral convictions”.

Universal Credit has been criticised for failing to protect claimants from the costs of transferring to the new benefits scheme, with a report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies saying 1.9 million claimants could lose £1,000 a year.

Reacting to Mr Duncan Smith's award on Twitter, Ms Nandy said: “This is a disgraceful decision by Boris Johnson to reward a legacy of cruelty and failure.

“This regime deliberately removed the safety net. It stripped people of their dignity. There is no honour in that.” 

Other high profile awards have been given to public servants such as NHS head Simon Stevens, credited with persuading Theresa May to agree to a five-year funding plan in 2018, who has been given a knighthood, and civil service chief executive John Manzoni, who has been made Knight Grand Cross. 

England cricketers Eoin Morgan, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Joe Root have also received honours, alongside England footballer Jill Scott, director of Women’s football at the FA Baroness Campbell of Loughborough, and Elton John.

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