Iain Duncan Smith has committed contempt of Parliament and should be expelled

It's a whopper: How big do you think Iain Duncan Smith's next Parliamentary exaggeration of the truth will be?

It’s a whopper: How big do you think Iain Duncan Smith’s next Parliamentary exaggeration of the truth will be?

Why is Iain Duncan Smith still a member of Parliament?

Apparently there is an offence, here in the UK, known as Contempt of Parliament. An MP is guilty of this if he or she deliberately misleads Parliament, and any MP accused of the offence may be suspended or expelled.

Our odious Work and Pensions secretary is a repeat offender. It is one thing to be “economical with the truth”, as the euphemism goes; it is entirely different to present known falsehoods to the House of Commons as though they were accurate.

Smith’s latest wheeze involves a press release released by his Department of Work and Pensions last month, in which he is quoted as follows: “Already we’ve seen 8,000 people who would have been affected by the [benefits] cap move into jobs. This clearly demonstrates that the cap is having the desired impact.”

There is no evidence to support the claim. This has been made clear by Andrew Dilnot, chair of the UK Statistics Authority, who said in an open letter yesterday (Thursday) that it was “unsupported by the official statistics published by the department”.

He added that an explicit caution had made it clear that the statistics used by Smith to support his claim were “not intended to show the additional numbers entering work as a direct result of the contact”.

In addition, figures released alongside the statement do not comply with the UK’s codes and practices on statistical releases, and concerns have been raised about the methodology and sourcing, along with possible advance sharing of the data with some – sympathetic? – media outlets.

As an aside, it seems unlikely that Mr Dilnot realised, when he accepted his role at the statistics authority, that it would be such a high-profile role. How many people had even heard of it before the Tory-led Coalition government came into power? Precious few, one suspects.

Yet it has now become a household name, due to the Tories’ continued and persistent use of faked statistics.

They claimed the NHS budget was rising when it had fallen – and only yesterday we saw one consequence of this; the critical strain facing accident and emergency units. Remember, many hospitals are having their A&E units closed, adding to the strain on those that are left. Why is this happening, if not to save money?

They also claimed – in a party political broadcast, no less – that the national debt was falling when in fact it has risen massively over the course of this Parliament.

And now this.

Smith is, as mentioned above, a repeat offender: He also stated recently that around a million people have been stuck on benefits for at least three of the last four years, “despite being judged capable of preparing or looking for work”. These figures were, of course, inaccurate – they included single mothers, the seriously ill, and people awaiting testing.

Oxfam’s Katherine Trebeck, policy and advocacy manager for its UK poverty programme, said in The Mirror that this was “beyond the pale”.

She said: “The vast majority of people who are out of work would jump at the chance to take a job that paid them a wage they can afford to live on.”

And the TUC’s general secretary, Frances O’Grady, said in The Guardian: “Only people with weak arguments need to make up statistics.

“The secretary of state needs to apologise – not just to Parliament, but to the many who cannot find jobs, for misusing his department’s statistics in this way.”

The DWP has issued a statement supporting Smith, but its argument is extremely weak. It said anecdotal responses of staff and claimants supported what he had said: “DWP staff and claimants are telling us the cap is impacting behaviour and leading to those affected finally entering the world of work.”

Anecdotal evidence is not fact and cannot be presented as such. Our good friend Wikipedia describes it in these terms: “Because of the small sample, there is a larger chance that it may be unreliable due to cherry-picked or otherwise non-representative samples of typical cases.Anecdotal evidence is considered dubious support of a claim; it is accepted only in lieu of more solid evidence. This is true regardless of the veracity of individual claims.

Manipulation of statistics by the DWP and its secretary of state prompted Debbie Sayers and fellow blogger Jayne Linney – who has supported Vox Political articles many times – to launch a petition on the change.org website, calling on Parliament’s Work and Pensions Committee to hold Smith to account for his habitual offences against government statistics.

The petition is here, and at the time of writing has more than 76,500 signatures. Please sign it if you haven’t already done so.

It’s time for Iain Duncan Smith – who remains, let’s all remember, Vox Political‘s Monster of the Year for 2012 – to put up or shut up. He must either admit that he lied to Parliament and to the people in order to justify his despicable treatment of the most vulnerable people in the country…

… or he must be expelled from Parliament like the disgrace that he is.

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71 thoughts on “Iain Duncan Smith has committed contempt of Parliament and should be expelled

  1. Angie

    once again you have sir you have exposed the wrong doing of this government, and why has this man not been held accountable before the only think I can think off is that the powers that be just may be afraid of him.

  2. Lisa Brown

    I wonder if he has something on call me Dave .. Then again, all are as bad as each other so sack one , ,, loads would have to also go , ,which would suit me .

    1. Josh

      That’s the plan. Once the resignations start to fall, you know they’re on their way out.

  3. Jo46

    thank you for exposing this maniacal manipulating bully. Cameron couldnt get rid of him in a reshuffle so what hope is there of getting this despicable appology of a human being until the next election?

  4. paul

    Why mess about with IDS the WHOLE lot of them need to be sacked. We employ them we can unemploy them. P45’s all round.

    1. Uly Oneandthirty

      P45’s? They get pay when in opposition too.
      They get booted out of thier seats they get shuffled off as MEP & the House Of Lords..

    2. liz727

      That’s the problem, we can’t, and it’s long past time we should be able to. These people are in government only because we voted them in. We should have a People’s Charter that if they do not stick to what they promised in their election manifesto, we can get rid of them at any time during their term of office.

      This lot have gone further than any before them (even Maggie). They are selling off our country at an alarming rate to corporate interests – including themselves when they sit on boards and own shares in these same corporations out of which they will make a hefty gain. Assets and services already paid for through our taxes and our parent’s and grandparent’s taxes are being sold off to the highest bidder – and that particular scenario, NOT ONE OF US were apprised of, consulted on or voted for!

      We need a People’s Charter NOW! – not just with regard to the present government, but ALL future British governments. They need to know going in they will be held accountable to the British people for what they do with our country – OUR country! – we paid for it, we are still paying for it, our ancestors paid for it with their lives fighting and dying for it. For them and for us, we need some mass-event way of letting these greedy bastards know we aren’t going to give all that up without a FIGHT!

      1. Josh

        I agree. But we will mend everything they have torn down. We will heal every injury they have caused. They’re trying to work in against cultural evolution and that will never work; compassion and enlightened though will eventually prevail. And one day all of their efforts will be as nothing.

      2. Thomas

        Semi off topic, they want to sign an international treaty that would mean to get an NHS again we’d have to pay all the private companies for lost revenue or leave the World Trade Organisation. The first would be vastly expensive and the second would mess our trade up and be even more expensive. In effect no political party could bring the NHS back, just as the railways can’t be brought back because the tracks have been pulled up and built on.

      3. Mike Sivier

        There is an absolute rule that no government can bind any future government. If what you’re saying is true, then a Labour government that wanted to repeal the Health and Social Care Act could just rule that treaty unlawful under UK law, and that would be that, I expect.
        The alternative would be to say that, fair enough, those contracts are binding and those companies are welcome to them – but we’re going to wind up the NHS as it currently stands and open up an entirely new organisation to provide a national healthcare service in this country, and the government will remove its funding from the old system and put it into the new. Perfectly legal.
        It’s not quite the same as the railways because the physical wherewithal to provide health services would still be around.

      4. Big Bill

        So are you saying that we aren’t actually bound under the Lisbon and Maastricht treaties?

  5. Fiona

    There should be a vote of no confidence in this pathetic excuse for a coalition,.. I hear all over the net, and on the local radio’s how much people are suffering, I’m one of them too! I have often thought that the Labour Party should have stepped up to the plate before these sick reforms were put through, and feel deserted by the party I support! I have written on several occasions to ask where they stand, and why are they not being more vocal in defending their party members, but have only received a message asking me if I can donate to the party!!!! I have 6 pounds a week to buy food…. how the hell can I donate? My money has been cut as I’m on the WRAG scheme, even though I haven’t registered with them yet as my phone is no longer working, and can no longer leave my home! I am a strong woman but my defenses are weakening and its a real fight to want to continue living/nay existing in a land where human life is worth less than a politicians promise!

  6. English Spring

    The English Spring is coming, how about Wales? Our Politicians are nearly all Odious pieces of work, the System is and always was Corrupt, even that is now completely broken. Change is needed very soon. Your – the www. true activist

    1. Uly Oneandthirty

      English spring, my arse.
      Ill wager there’s less than a million of us dissafected souls spread nationwide in a country of 64 million, but if those fantasies of rebellion and riots keep you warm at night, you carry on.

      The only answer i can see is to get involved at a local level with your MP, or if you feel thast strongly, put yourself forward

  7. Angie

    they for get WHO pay’s there salary’s and other thing’s they ask for, us and not just the “hard working tax payer” at sometime we were all hard working tax payers then this lot came into power and well you can guess the rest. as for Labor before it became new Labor (Tory by any other name) would have ripped into them at every opportunity but the wimp we have now he needs to think about who’s side he is on.

  8. Ros

    What about the rest of them, Cameron and Osborne have lied repeatedly about the deficit! Cameron has said constantly that “they are paying the deficit”! Yet the deficit is rising!!!??


    This shows that Cameron is lying about the deficit it is going up now down!


    The above it Gideon lying about the deficit too! The whole lot of them are lying.
    Grant Shapps seems to find it really amusing that 5000 people with cancer have been removed from benefits!!?? Have they died? Do they Care???

    1. Josh

      The worst thing is that they do it with the full support of huge swathes of the public media; the financial sector, the right wing press and the right wing government have carefully structured this entire state of affairs. Remember when we used to be angry with the people who actually perpetrated this global economic catastrophe, rather than the sick, disabled and those in poverty? Smacks of the horrible, stab-in-the-back propaganda that provided a convenient scapegoat for the german nation post-world-war. Find a target to hang your blame on, one that can’t fight back and ignore your own complicity in the downfall of the country in which you live.

  9. Darroch

    The British Civil Service used to be overwhelmingly honest even when here today gone tomorrow politicians lied through their teeth. Until now. This is a very bad day for our country.

  10. aturtle05

    I hereby declare my support for Mike Sivier for the post of Prime Minister?

    So right, so spot on with the facts and he checks them before he spouts them!

    1. Fiona

      I second that proposal! But what would the tired people of the UK think? It must be a trick ‘cos he tells the truth!!!! I wonder how many would recognize it after the last few years of brainwashing by the scumbag coalition?

  11. Jean Cox

    Signed & shared on Facebook. Keep up the good work Mike, I just wish there were more people like you fighting our corner!

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  13. guy fawkes

    Mike I hope the parliamentary systems you put your faith in will come up with the goods and force the liars to resign but I reckon the most you will get if anything will be an apology. MP’s are not even allowed to call one another liars even if they are.
    It’s a shame your a labour voter they don’t deserve such an honest supporter.

    1. Tony Carson

      I was a socialist for years, believing that Socialism believed that people were more important than things, and believing that Tories thought things more important than people. Sadly, i have concluded that true Socialism cares only for ideology and doesn’t care, at all about people. Socialism happily got UK into massive debt the last time around, even to the extent of bragging about it to the “winning” Party:
      while i approve Mike Sivier’s stance, in desperation I will vote UKIP should we ever be “granted” another national election……

      1. sparaszczukster

        Tony, you’re mistaken if you think the last NEW Labour government were socialist. Sadly, Tony Blair and his cronies let neo-liberalism in by the back door. Blair was a self confessed admirer of Thatcher and he did nothing to reverse the internal market ideology she brought to the NHS

        .Ed Milliband’s Labour Party seems more attuned to the unions and his father Ralph was a committed socialist; but he hasn’t been given a chance to prove himself yet. Only being elected will do that.

        Your decision to vote for UKIP is yours to take but it might be a good idea to learn more about their plans before committing yourself. Personally, I have grave reservations about them.

  14. gra howard

    What is the point of these so called laws and sanctions that the Govt are supposed to abide by if they are not implemented. They just police themselves and that is certainly not ethical. IDS has lied so get rid of him, a slapped wrist won’t change anything. He’ll just continue to lie and cheat hos way through every law known to man. I cannot for the life of me understand why nothing is being done by the other parties about this obnoxious man.

  15. Chris Tandy

    Copper wire and a Whitehall lamp-post. That would sort his life out somewhat.

  16. Dave

    This should be front page of every national newspaper and should be the leading story on all news channels, unfortunately all they’re interested in is brainwashing the masses into blaming immigrants and scroungers for the mess we’re in.

    1. Mike Sivier

      What’s your point, exactly? Bear in mind that this article is about Iain Duncan Smith. We are looking at this man’s behaviour. Nobody in the other parties can do what he’s doing to the benefits system, and nobody in the other parties would say what he has said about it.
      There may very well be equally obnoxious men – and women – in the other parties but please bear in mind that we are discussing the behaviour of a man who has a particular kind of power and is exercising it poorly (at least according to 10,805 of the 10,806 people who have read the article so far, at the time of writing; only one person has attacked the article, and even he did not have anything to say about Smith’s execution of his duties).

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  20. casalealex

    Committee on Standards in Public Life
    The Seven Principles of Public Life

    • Selflessness – Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other benefits for themselves, their family or their friends.
    • Integrity – Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties.
    • Objectivity – In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit.
    • Accountability – Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.
    • Openness – Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.
    • Honesty – Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.
    • Leadership – Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.

    • In 1997, Tony Blair extended the Committee’s terms of reference: “To review issues in relation to the funding of political parties, and to make recommendations as to any changes in present arrangements.”[5]

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  26. drew

    IDS is pushing through populist ideology, based upon bitter, cynical rhetoric to appeal to the no nonsense, dangerously shallow people in society.
    Its one thing driving change, but change must have a moral integrity at its core. Change based upon lies, propaganda must surely have its day in court. IDS and others who are morally bankrupt, must be accountable for their actions.

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