UK’s PM Cameron names Europe backer to replace Brexit supporter

British Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith leaves after attending a pre-Budget cabinet meeting at Downing Street in London, on March 16, 2016. British finance minister George Osborne will unveil Wednesday his annual budget, with more austerity pain as the global economic outlook darkens, but will pledge more cash for education and infrastructure. / AFP / LEON NEAL


Stephen Crabb, the ex-secretary of state for Wales, has been appointed to succeed Iain Duncan Smithas U.K. work and pensions secretary after the former Conservative leader resigned in protest at planned cuts to welfare payments for the disabled.
The move comes after Duncan Smith dramatically resigned last night, sending PM David Cameron a two-page letter that attacked a series of decisions to cut welfare, culminating in Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne’s Budget statement two days earlier.
Crabb, 43, who – unlike Duncan Smith – shares the PM’s position on staying in the EU, has been a member of parliament for Preseli Pembrokeshire in Wales since 2005. Before entering politics he was a marketing consultant.
Crabb’s old job has been taken by Alun Cairns, the government said in a statement. Guto Bebb was named Parliamentary Under Secretary at the Wales Office.
Duncan Smith’s decision to stand down came after he said Osborne planned to reduce money allocated to help disabled people while cutting taxes for the well paid.
While the disability-benefits cuts “are defensible in narrow terms, given the continuing deficit, they are not defensible in the way they were placed within a budget that benefits higher-earning taxpayers,” Duncan Smith wrote. “I am unable to watch passively whilst certain policies are enacted in order to meet the fiscal self-imposed restraints that I believe are more and more perceived as distinctly political.”
Cameron responded with his own letter, saying he was “puzzled and disappointed” at Duncan Smith’s decision to resign, and that those policies were being put on hold. “As a government, we have done a huge amount to get people into work, reduce unemployment and promote social justice,” Cameron wrote. “We all agreed that the increased resources being spent on disabled people should be properly managed and focused on those who need it most.

‘Collectively Agreed’
“That is why we collectively agreed – you, No. 10 and the Treasury – proposals which you and your Department then announced a week ago. Today we agreed not to proceed with the policies in their current form and instead to work together to get these policies right over the coming months.”
Duncan Smith, 61, had widely been expected to leave the government following the June 23 referendum on membership of the EU, in which he’s campaigning to leave the bloc, taking the opposite side from Cameron and Osborne. His departure now, accusing the pair of making welfare cuts for political reasons, is a deep wound to both men. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said the resignation “reveals a government in disarray.”

‘Social Justice’

Duncan Smith has spent six years overseeing unpopular changes to benefits and has often been the subject of attacks from those who opposed the cuts. Having devoted his time since being ousted as party leader in 2003 to understanding the welfare system, the outgoing minister accused Cameron and Osborne of prioritizing winning the support of older voters over “social justice.” “You are aware that I believe the cuts would have been even fairer to younger families and people of working age if we had been willing to reduce some of the benefits given to better-off pensioners, but I have attempted to work within the constraints that you and the Chancellor set,” he wrote. In both 2010 and 2015, Cameron made pre-election promises to protect payments to retirees, who are the sector of the population most likely to vote.
The government pledged to push ahead with the proposed cuts. While the budget initially attracted broad support from rank-and-file Tory lawmakers , concerns later began to be expressed about the changes to disability

(FILES) This file photo taken on February 20, 2016 shows British Wales Secretary Stephen Crabb arriving at Downing Street in London, for a meeting of the cabinet following Prime Minister David Cameron's return from EU negotiations in Brussels.  British Prime Minister David Cameron appointed a new welfare minister on Saturday to replace former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith, whose shock resignation left the government reeling. Cameron made Stephen Crabb the new secretary of state for work and pensions, shifting him from the Wales secretary job in the Cabinet, Downing Street said in a statement.  / AFP / NIKLAS HALLE'N

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