Why IDS quit the cabinet?

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Why IDS quit the cabinet? He claimed the decision was taken over some principles. His parting shots lead me to ask what these principles are. Principles about cuts to disability benefits, or EU membership, or even who should be the next Conservative leader?….Sukhwinder Gill explores the reasons behind IDS’s resignation

Ian Duncan Smith Iain Duncan Smith trotted out the reasons for his resignation as the Work and Pensions Secretary on the Andrew Marr shows on Sunday. He used words like “juxtaposed,” “isolated,” and “impossible.” He said that he’d become “progressively more and more depressed” about the Treasury’s budget cutting agenda.

He accused the Chancellor of targeting benefit cuts at “people who don’t vote for us.” I for one didn’t think the Tories had invented that policy. A man of principle then it would seem then.

IDS’s resignation and his parting shots lead me to ask what these principles are. Principles about cuts to disability benefits, or EU membership, or even who should be the next Conservative leader?

One theory is as follows: IDS is backing the Leave campaign. If the UK were to Remain in the EU, then David Cameron would certainly put IDS into touch. So why not resign now (citing an unrelated issue), and paint Osborne and Cameron as cruel welfare slashers with flawed ideals (including to remain in the EU). In other words to inflict maximum damage to the Remain campaign. This puts IDS in a good position to snare a top job in the event of a Brexit and the likely event of a subsequent Cameron Osborne demise.

The big flaw in this theory is that IDS is just not that cunning. But George Osborne and David Cameron are. Osborne recognises the fact that ultimately he will be judged on the state of the economy and not on how he achieved it. Politicians are elected on the health of the economy, that’s a simple fact.

The bookmakers still have the odds of a Brexit at 30% (i.e. 70% chance that the UK votes to Remain in the EU); the IDS episode has not changed their view. The pound has not reacted. In fact Sterling is slightly stronger than a few weeks ago.

David Cameron does not need to feel “puzzled and disappointed” about IDS. He’s got what he wanted – IDS out.

( Sukhvinder Gill has worked as a Global Business Head and Trader in Capital markets for over 20 years)