Civil War at DWP

Pensions minister Ros Altmann stabs IDS in the front:

“I am extremely shocked by the news of Iain Duncan Smith’s resignation and the way he has behaved… I simply cannot understand why he chose to quit like this when it was clear that Number 10 and the Treasury had told him they were going to pause and rethink these measures. I’m particularly saddened that this seems to really be about the European referendum campaign rather than about DWP policy… I have found him exceptionally difficult to work for. It has been a hugely challenging time for me as he was preventing me from speaking to the public”

DWP minister Shailesh Vara knifes Ros Altmann:

“I have to say I am surprised by Ros’s comments. The fact is that I recall Ros attending all the meetings at which we discussed government policy and then we both went out to defend the policy in the Commons and the Lords, which as you know wasn’t always easy to do. Ros’s recollection does not accord with mine and I’m sorry that this all happened.”

As does Priti Patel:

“All meetings with our Ministerial team have been constructive and every Minister has had the freedom to take forward policy ideas in their brief, to lead media campaigns and engage freely with parliamentary colleagues. Iain has been a remarkable SofS [Secretary of State] to work with. He has run the largest delivery Dept in Govt with great determination and it has been a real privilege to work with him as one of his Ministers.”

Justin Tomlinson joins in to defend IDS:

“Iain always conducted himself in a professional, dedicated and determined manner. He actively encouraged ministers and teams to engage, challenge and develop ideas. We were to be ourselves, our judgement backed as we worked as a team both for DWP and the Gov.”

A circular firing squad at Caxton House…

Work and Pensions Secretary Runners and Riders

Stephen Crabb

The hirsute Welsh Secretary is on the rise and has been tipped by his delirious admirers as a possible future leader. Though Welsh elections are weeks away and Crabb has just made a massive balls up of the Wales Bill. He has the back story and is a Christian in the so-called ‘compassionate Conservative’ mould.

Priti Patel

If Cameron wants to placate the Eurosceptics then Priti could step up. She is however very close to IDS – note that intriguing line in his letter about “my team”. Does she share his concerns? She may see it as a poisoned chalice.

Anna Soubry

Super Soubs was being tipped by colleagues last night, she’s a competent media performer who could go out and defend unpopular cuts. A mid-ranking minister who has never made it to a full Cabinet post. Has a tendency to gaffe.

Rob Halfon

Fiercely loyal to Osborne and a leading ‘compassionate Conservative’. He has said he would never take a job if offered it because of his disability, though it would not be undeserved on merit. Has been in charge of attempts to rebrand the Tories as “the workers’ party”. Makes sense for a lot of reasons.

Matt Hancock

The minister for giving the government line could finally get the call up to a full Cabinet job. Would never knife his political master Osborne, which goes in his plus column. Has been nicknamed “Matt Hermaphrodite” by unkind ministerial colleagues. Why? “Because he’s both a c*** and a pr*ck.”

Mark Harper

A safe pair of hands, Harper knows the brief well having served as Minister for Disabled People, where he was responsible for PIP and ESA.

Greg Hands

What about someone from the Treasury? Hands is hugely loyal to Osborne and could lift the years of coldness between DWP and No. 11. Though if the job goes to Harper then Hands could become Chief Whip.

Boris Johnson

Boris is said to have been the most vocal opponent of tax credits at political cabinet, allies say he knows the brief. A senior Conservative source points out it would “solve a lot of problems”. BoJo’s name was doing the rounds among excitable Whitehall sources last night. Suspect he’ll be too busy washing his hair if the call comes.

Andrea Leadsom

Another rising Eurosceptic who is said to have desires on the leadership, Leadsom is in that rung of senior yet non-Cabinet level ministers from whom the next SoS could well come. Does Downing Street need an Outer?

Amber Rudd

Very close to Osborne, indeed his former PPS, Rudd has done solid good work at DECC and could step up. She did freeze in front of a hostile Question Time audience when challenged on welfare reform.

Liz Truss

Another name doing the rounds, she is another FoG (Friend of George) and will be up there if No. 10 wants a woman.

Sajid Javid

Certainly a reformer with vision. Yet another ultra-loyal Osborne ally. Though sticking him with the poisoned DWP chalice would hardly be much reward for him backing Remain.

Greg Clark

Another ultra-reliable technocrat who is a former Treasury minister and another ally of the Chancellor.

Michael Gove

IDS and Gove were the two ministers in the last parliament with reforming zeal. Gove subscribes to IDS’ moral mission of welfare revolution. Would solve the post-deal Euro-quagmire at Justice and mean the post goes to a Eurosceptic.

Realistically it could be any one of about 20 ministers…

IDS Bows to DWP Fake Outrage

IDS has flown the white flag from the top of Caxton House, bowing to pressure from the Twitter mob and distancing himself from the DWP’s perfectly reasonable promotional material:

“.. somebody along the way put up what is essentially meant to be an example of the kind of advice… and ended up going out as a quote… it’s quite peculiar and quite wrong and we’ve immediately taken it down and stopped it.. “

He has also hung whoever approved the leaflet out to dry, vowing disciplinary proceedings against someone who was essentially doing their job: helping benefits claimants avoid being sanctioned by using illustrative examples. A victory for the Twitter outrage bus…

DWP Press Office Wins The Internet

The Department for Work and Pensions press office won the internet today with this peach of a tweet to dreamy-eyed 1D heartthrob Zayn Malik following his departure the bang. Has Richard Caseby all over it…

Facts are Sacred: Guardian Grovel For Polly, Again

The Guardian have been forced into a humiliating climb down and apology to former Sun man Richard Caseby, yet again, after Polly went off on one about the new Director of Comms at DWP:

The following correction was published on 15 April 2014: A Comment article about the treatment of disabled people by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) stated: “Forget civil service factual information: Duncan Smith has just hired a Murdoch managing editor from the Sun and Sunday Times as DWP communications director. Perhaps he helps hone Duncan Smith’s terminological inexactitudes.” We are happy to accept that Richard Caseby, the strategic director of communications at the DWP, carries out his duties in a thoroughly honest, diligent and professional manner. He was not hired by Iain Duncan Smith, the secretary of state for work and pensions, but works as a civil servant. We apologise for any misunderstanding. In addition, the writer of the article said that “PIP replaces the disability living allowance” (DLA). To clarify: DLA is still available for children up to the age of 16.”

If you can’t trust the Guardian or the Mirror, who can you trust these days?



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