Sir Iain Duncan Smith awarded knighthood in New Years Honours
A long-serving MP has been given a knighthood in the New Years Honours list 2020.
Sir Iain Duncan Smith, Member of Parliament for Chingford and Woodford Green, has been recognised for his political and public service.
First elected in the 1992 general election as MP for Chingford, Sir Iain has held the Chingford and Woodford Green seat for the Conservatives since 1997.
In 2001, he led the Tory national party providing the main opposition against Tony Blair’s Labour government before stepping down in 2003.
Writing on Facebook after Sir Iain’s honour was revealed, the Chingford and Woodford Green Conservatives wrote: “Excellent news and well deserved.
“Sixteen years serving Queen and Country, 27 years as a dedicated local MP, founder of one of the most influential think tanks in modern politics and enacter of one of the most significant welfare reforms, which led to millions of people moving from welfare to work.”
However, not everyone has welcomed Sir Iain’s knighthood.
The honour has been met with heavy criticism by opposition parties who say the honour is a reward for a “legacy of cruelty and failure”.
Sir Iain served as the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions from 2010 to 2016, and architect of the Government’s controversial Universal Credit welfare reforms.
In government, Sir Iain argued the changes were designed to end the benefits trap, ensuring that it always paid for claimants to take work, while simplifying the system.
Hence, complications with the roll-out of the new system and delays in making payments were blamed for driving thousands of low-income families into poverty.
In 2016, Sir Iain unexpectedly resigned from the Cabinet, attacking the Government’s policy of welfare cuts
Labour’s Lisa Nandy lambasted the award, tweeting that it was a “disgraceful decision by Boris Johnson to reward a legacy of cruelty and failure”.