Brexiteer Iain Duncan-Smith to receive knighthood in New Years Honours

Brexit Bogeyman Iain Duncan-Smith in the House of Commons. Photograph: House of Commons.

Brexit Bogeyman Iain Duncan-Smith in the House of Commons. Photograph: House of Commons. - Credit: Archant

Former Tory leader and Brexiteer Iain Duncan-Smith is to receive a knighthood in the New Years Honours list.

Duncan-Smith will receive a knighthood from the Queen after being chosen as the chairman of the Conservatives election campaign, despite losing the election under his own leadership.

The Tory MP has been seen as an architect of Tory attacks on the poor, sick and disabled - introducing the much-derided Universal Credit system under David Cameron's premiership, and calling for the over 65s to be able to work for longer.

In 2016 he campaigned to Britain to exit the EU claiming that the institution "leaves the door open" to terrorist attacks.

In recent months, as part of a leading voice of the European Research Group, he claimed that the bloc was a "dictatorial organisation" - just days after Boris Johnson had attempted to prorogue parliament to avoid scrutiny of his Brexit proposals.

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Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine said Sir Iain had been responsible for creating a welfare system in which people were expected to survive for weeks without payment, causing "untold stress".

"It beggars belief that Iain Duncan Smith has been rewarded in the New Year's Honours list," she said.

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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."

There had been reports that Duncan-Smith was within two points of losing his Chingford and Wood Green seat to Labour during the general election, however a surge in support for the Tories ensured his seat was retained.

A Labour party spokesperson said: "Congratulations to the many dedicated community leaders, and sports and entertainment stars, who have been rightly recognised in this New Year Honours list for their extraordinary contribution to society.

"It is unfortunate to see that one of Boris Johnson's first priorities was to reward Iain Duncan Smith, the primary architect of the cruel Universal Credit system, which has pushed thousands of people into poverty, with a knighthood.

"Boris Johnson should be trying to fix his Party's shameful mistakes, not give out rewards to those responsible for its failure."

In other awards, the veteran Conservative MP Bob Neill, who was chairman of the Commons Justice Committee in the last parliament, will be knighted.

Labour MP Diana Johnson, who campaigned on behalf of victims of the NHS contaminated blood scandal, is made a dame.

The senior Labour MEP Claude Moraes, a long-standing campaigner for refugees and on justice and civil liberties issues, is made an OBE.

Playwright James Graham, also known for his film Brexit: The Uncivil War, receives an OBE for services to drama and to young people in British theatre with his work at the National Youth Theatre.

Graham was "surprised and flattered" to get the honour, saying: "Like everyone else, you don't imagine or expect this kind of thing growing up, or when you're starting out.

"I've been so lucky with the people who have championed me, from my school teachers who believed working-class kids should be allowed to access theatre, to all the other family and friends, artists and audiences who keep supporting me to this day.

"I'm pretty sure I haven't earned it yet, but I'll do my best to justify it in the future."

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