By Joe Mellor, Deputy Editor
Today Iain Duncan Smith refused to stop his “despicable” Bedroom Tax, as he evaded questions on a landmark Court of Appeal, not for the first time.
He hid behind a junior colleague, but eventually he was caught unaware by a spontaneous question, from Labour’s Rupa Huq.
Huq was discussing why three judges said the Bedroom Tax discriminated against domestic violence victims and carers. She said to Smith: “This despicable and discredited policy needs to go”.
However, the Minister was not ruffled and insisted the policy was correct, regardless of last week’s Court of Appeal judgement.
He claimed Ms Huq had misquoted the Court of Appeal’s judgement by saying the tax was “unlawful” and should “check her lines before she makes a statement like that”.
He told MPs: “That was not what the Court of Appeal said last week.
“The debate in the Court of Appeal is whether or not we should isolate individual groups and rule them out of a benefit system or leave it to local authorities with extra money.
“We absolutely believe that local authorities are quite capable with the extra money we are giving them with Discretionary Housing Payments to allow people to stay there where they think that’s necessary without limiting them.”
Earlier in the day, Justin Tomlinson, his junior, ignored demands to reveal how much taxpayer cash the Conservative Party will use taking the case to the Supreme Court as Mr Duncan Smith remained in his seat.
It’s claimed lawyers’ fees will be far more than the £200,000, the figure it would cost to refund domestic violence victims who have been affected by the property tax.
Owen Smith,Labour shadow work and pensions secretary, said: “It’s time for the quiet man to find his voice, show some honour and bow to Labour’s call to scrap the Bedroom Tax.
“Instead we have seen another blatant act of cowardice, as he again hid behind his deputy to dodge questions in parliament on this hated policy.
“He simply hasn’t got the guts to stand up and defend the Bedroom Tax.
“Because he knows driving victims of domestic violence and families with severely disabled children from their homes it’s completely indefensible.”
Watch video here, courtesy of the Mirror