New Year Honours: Iain Duncan Smith knighthood branded 'disgraceful' over controversial Universal Credit reforms

·Contributor, Yahoo News UK
Former leader of Britain's Conservative Party Iain Duncan Smith arrives as Conservative Party lawmaker Boris Johnson prepares to launch his leadership campaign, in London, Wednesday June 12, 2019. Boris Johnson solidified his front-runner status in the race to become Britain's next prime minister on Tuesday, gaining backing from leading pro-Brexit lawmakers.(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Sir Iain Duncan Smith's knighthood has been widely criticised (AP)

Iain Duncan Smith’s inclusion on the New Year’s Honours List has generated a furious response from MPs.

The Tory MP, who created the controversial Universal Credit benefits system under David Cameron - which has received massive criticism for leaving poorer claimants less well-off - will be knighted alongside party colleague Bob Neill.

The Chingford and Woodford Green MP was also a leading figure in a group of hardline Brexiteer Tory rebels who ultimately forced out Theresa May and paved the way for Boris Johnson to take over as prime minister earlier this year.

Conservative Party MP Iain Duncan Smith walks past the gates of Downing Street, in London, Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019. Prime Minister Boris Johnson kept up his push Thursday for an early general election as a way to break Britain's Brexit impasse, as lawmakers moved to stop the U.K. leaving the European Union next month without a divorce deal. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
Duncan Smith created the controversial Universal Credit benefits system - which has received massive criticism for leaving poorer claimants less well-off (AP)

But the announcement of his knighthood has generated a strong backlash from critics of his policies.

Labour MP Stephanie Peacock said: “A knighthood for IDS will seem like a joke to the many families who have struggled this Christmas thanks to his cuts.

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Iain Duncan Smith, former Tory leader and architect of Universal Credit, is knighted

"I have seen first hand the devastation wrought on my constituents by his policies - they will not be impressed by this award."

Another Labour MP, Lisa Nandy, called the decision disgraceful.

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She tweeted: “This is a disgraceful decision by Boris Johnson to reward a legacy of cruelty and failure. This regime deliberately removed the safety net. It stripped people of their dignity. There is no honour in that.

Lib Dem MP Christine Jardine said: “It beggars belief that Iain Duncan Smith has been rewarded in the New Year's Honours list.

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"He is the architect of Universal Credit - a failed system that has left thousands of families struggling to pay bills and buy food."

“Countless disabled people pushed into destitution as a result of Universal Credit. Children in food banks. Families made homeless. But this system rewards IDS, whilst others suffer because of him.”

Meanwhile, an NHS psychiatrist has set up a petition claims the former party leader was responsible for "some of the cruellest most extreme welfare reforms this country has ever seen".

More than 30,000 people have already signed the petition calling for him to be stripped of his knighthood.

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