Nearly 200,000 sign petition calling for Sir Iain Duncan Smith's knighthood to be blocked

James MorrisSenior news reporter, Yahoo News UK
Sir Iain Duncan Smith pictured earlier this year (AP/Matt Dunham)
Sir Iain Duncan Smith pictured earlier this year (AP/Matt Dunham)

Nearly 200,000 people have signed a petition calling for Sir Iain Duncan Smith’s knighthood to be revoked.

Tory MP Sir Iain was the architect of the government’s heavily-criticised Universal Credit benefits system when he was work and pensions secretary under David Cameron. The system has been blasted for leaving poorer claimants less well-off.

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Last week, he was named in the New Year’s Honours list and knighted for “political and public service”, sparking uproar.

That has now manifested itself in hundreds of thousands of signatures objecting to his knighthood.

Psychiatrist Mona Kamal said on the Change.org petition blurb that Sir Iain “was responsible for some of the cruellest, most extreme welfare reforms this country has ever seen”.

The Labour Party activist, who has been pictured with leader Jeremy Corbyn, said she has witnessed people driven to panic attacks and depressive illness “over the prospect of losing their welfare payments”.

Biggest petitions of 2019

From Parliament’s official petitions website:

  • “Revoke Article 50 and remain in the EU” - 6,103,057 signatures

  • “Do not prorogue Parliament” - 1,725,631 signatures

  • “Leave the EU without a deal in March 2019” - 608,152 signatures

  • “Ban all ISIS members from returning to UK” - 598,254 signatures

  • “Make 'netting' hedgerows to prevent birds from nesting a criminal offence” - 365,508 signatures

“This has only intensified with the chaos and uncertainty of Universal Credit, a system known to be causing hardship to millions and for which Iain Duncan Smith is again culpable.”

She added “the fact that Iain Duncan Smith, the individual responsible and the architect of such misery, is to receive the honour of a knighthood is an insult to the hundreds of thousands of vulnerable individuals across this country who are suffering as a result of his policies and to those who have tragically lost loved ones as a direct result”.

She demanded: “He must not be knighted.”

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The petition was set to hit 200,000 signatures on Monday afternoon, just three days after it was set up.

Yahoo News UK has approached Sir Iain’s office for comment.

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