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Altmann attacks 'exceptionally difficult' Duncan Smith

Pensions minister Ros Altmann has attacked her former boss Iain Duncan Smith, accusing him of wanting to damage the Conservatives.

Altmann attacks 'exceptionally difficult' Duncan Smith

Pensions minister Ros Altmann has described former work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith as 'exceptionally difficult' to work for and accused him of wanting to damage the Conservative party.

Duncan Smith quit the cabinet at the end of last week. In his resignation letter he said cuts to personal independence payments announced by George Osborne in the Budget last week led to his decision to step down from the role.

However, in a letter published online Altmann (pictured) said the motivation for Duncan Smith’s resignation was to inflict ‘maximum damage’ on the party leadership, which is backing the UK remaining in the EU.

Duncan Smith is one of seven cabinet ministers opposing the government's official position.

‘I’m particularly saddened that this really seems to be about the European referendum campaign rather than about DWP [Department for Work and Pensions] policy,’ Altmann said.

‘He seems to want to do maximum damage to the party leadership in order to further his campaign to try to get Britain to leave the EU. As far as I could tell, he appeared to spend much of the last few months plotting over Europe and against the leadership of the party and it seemed to me he had been planning to find a reason to resign for a long time.’

In an interview with the BBC Duncan Smith denied Altmann’s claim that his resignation was motivated by the EU referendum.

Altmann added she found Duncan Smith ‘difficult to work for’ and said he blocked her efforts to offer help to women affected by the rise in the state pension age.

‘From a personal perspective, for months I have been silenced by him and what I have said has been strictly controlled,’ she said.

‘I have found him exceptionally difficult to work for. It has been a hugely challenging time for me as he was preventing me from speaking to the public and has often been obstructive to my efforts to resolve important pension policy issues such as on women's pensions.’

Altmann has come under sustained attack in recent months over her apparent refusal to support the Women Against State Pension Inequality campaign, which has campaigned for transitional measures to help women affected by the government’s programme to accelerate the rise in state pension age.

20 comments so far. Why not have your say?


Mar 21, 2016 at 10:17

Do I sense someone, previously a respected financial commentator, but now doing "what they have to do" in order to advance up the political ladder?

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Mar 21, 2016 at 13:49

No, you sense a former failed right-wing leader of the Conservative Party doing just what Altmann, who is not a career politician, is saying he is doing. The hard right has never been satisfied with the one-nation Toryism of Cameron, who made the Tories electable again after years in the wilderness under the likes if IDS.

Further down the road this will only increase the likelihood of a Corbyn-led Labour government being elected under the British Cricketing system of "innings"

The message for investors over the next five years is very clear: weight your pf outside the UK.

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Mar 21, 2016 at 15:48

If she has not become a "career politician" would she not have had something to say in her previous incarnation about the unjust treatment of women born after a certain date, who will no longer be able to receive the State Pension when they thought they would, because of the government's haste in advancing the qualifying age?....Allegedly now she's in the Ministry she's been silent on the matter.

Cameron being electable when he breaks promise after promise?...I don't think so, people just don't believe him anymore. Corbyn of course would be far worse with his "Students Union" brand of politics.

I can't recall a time when both major Parties were so hopelessly split and increasingly "un-electable" as they are today, leaving many voters feeling increasingly dis-enfranchised, which leaves the field wide open for UKIP to gather up votes if they can prove they would be capable of forming a cohesive government.

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Mar 21, 2016 at 16:11

If you read the article it's clear she was being gagged by IDS on the matter of women's pension unfairnesses.

UKIP is at least as dysfunctional as the others! A sorry state of affairs all round. All we have every five years is a chance to vote of one of a number of routes to decline and decay.

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Mar 21, 2016 at 16:37

Altmann has changed her tune since being bought, papers now reporting her position is considered very tenuous after others in the Health & Pensions dept's are backing the views of IDS. No. 10 forced to deny Altmann was asked to make her silly Twitter posts...

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Mar 21, 2016 at 17:49

It is not about time that the House of Lord should be reformed with a democratic elected chamber? We could save some money.

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Mar 21, 2016 at 17:53

It would seem IDS is living up to the soubriquet given to him by John Major.

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Mar 21, 2016 at 17:58

'exceptionally difficult'

Was she talking about IDS or about contacting anyone within her DWP

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Pat Strong

Mar 21, 2016 at 18:05

If it was so exceptionally difficult, why did she tow the line. She supported women before, I think she was given the position to silence her and it worked. I. Have two letters from her, a before and after, very different positions. Perhaps now, she can revert to her previous position, pigs might fly!

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Mar 21, 2016 at 18:14

@Pat Strong...and why did IDS toe the line? Politics is the art of the possible and its worth making certain compromises to get things done.... until it isn't!

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Mar 21, 2016 at 18:18

I honestly don't know whether this is an organised strategy by the 'Stay in Brigade' to turn any criticism on any issue into an anti-Government attack or a strategy by the 'Get out Brigade' to weaken the government by any means possible. It might even be IDS acting with conviction...... no that's not possible; he in all sudden done a politician! What is beyond dispute is that the issue of Europe split the Tories asunder in the nineties and shows every likelihood of doing so again. I do agree with Micawber in that no UK political party is fit to govern but I would still rather have the duplicitous Cameron than the principled but barking-mad Corbyn at the helm.

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Chris Todd Davies

Mar 21, 2016 at 19:06

Wuff Wuff

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Mar 22, 2016 at 02:07

Chris, I think you mean ruff, ruff. Need I say more?

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richard tomkin

Mar 22, 2016 at 09:40

The quiet man has turned off the radio !

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Mar 22, 2016 at 15:40

Political ladder? Greasy pole more like.

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magic beans

Mar 26, 2016 at 10:04

Altman/IDS = pot/kettle

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Apr 01, 2016 at 15:46

I have watched her perform appearing before Treasury Select Committees. She comes across as unctuous and a bit of a smart alec.

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richard tomkin

Apr 01, 2016 at 17:03

Wasn't she the lady who ran the Saga old peoples' bureau for a bit,or am I getting muddled with another baroness : there are so many of them nowadays.

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Apr 01, 2016 at 17:32

Yes she was at SAGA but not for long .

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Apr 06, 2016 at 02:31

And the Saga people are a real work of art, if you can call it that.

Not many would be able to teach them much about sharp practice and deception and downright, outright not telling the truth.

Well that settles her pedigree and why she was appointed. As a result of the actions of the Gordon Brwn clone currently holding the chancellors office, promoting lefty theft policies and adding a few morew wringkles.

I thought I hear him say no new taxes. Liar.

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