Over 175,000 people sign petition to block Iain Duncan Smith’s knighthood
Thousands of people have signed a petition to try and block former work and pensions minister Iain Duncan Smith from being award a knighthood in the New Year’s Honours list.
Launched on Friday by Dr Mona Kamal Ahmed, it has gained over 175,000 signatures over the weekend, with the the NHS psychiatrist accusing the ex-Tory leader of being “responsible for some of the cruellest most extreme welfare reforms this country has ever seen”.
She added: “The fact that Iain Duncan Smith, the individual responsible and the architect of such misery, is to receive the honour of a knighthood is an insult to the hundreds of thousands of vulnerable individuals across this country who are suffering as a result of his policies and to those who have tragically lost loved ones as a direct result.”
The petition also referred to a United Nations inquiry into Britain’s welfare system that said the Conservatives' austerity policy inflicted “great misery” on citizens.
Published in 2018, the report also claimed that the UK had breached four UN human rights agreements relating to women, children and disabled people.
It follows the announcement in the New Year’s Honours list that Mr Duncan Smith would be awarded a knighthood “for political and public service”.
The veteran MP was appointed work and pensions minister and 2010, and faced criticism for the introduction of fit-to-work assessments, Universal Credit system and the so-called “Bedroom Tax”.
Responding to the decision to make him a Sir, the woman who stood against him for Labour in his Chingford and Woodford Green constituency at the election was deeply critical.
Faiza Shaheen wrote in The Guardian: “What sort of message does this send to families plunged into poverty by his cruel welfare policies? Their hardship is effectively being celebrated.”
She added: "Somehow this human suffering does not disqualify IDS from receiving a knighthood for his 'public service'. This appears to be the perfect symbol for the moral bankruptcy that has enveloped this country.”
But former health secretary Jeremy Hunt tweeted his support for his colleague’s knighthood.
He wrote: “I have never worked alongside someone more willing to face unpopularity for standing up for his deeply held principles and moral convictions.”